Thursday, August 07, 2008



RV Business
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blue Bird Coachworks is rolling out its first Wanderlodge in about two years, according to a report in the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph.

The high-end recreational vehicle, used in the past by the likes of country music legend Johnny Cash and currently by actor Tom Cruise, starts at about $1 million.

Blue Bird Coachworks general manager Chuck Kosmin said that finishing touches are being put on the vehicle and he expects it to hit the highway for testing this week. After some expected tweaking, it will be sent to a Wanderlodge dealer for sale.

California-based Complete Coachworks bought Blue Bird Coachworks, based in Fort Valley, Ga., a year ago and has since been working on a complete overhaul of the Wanderlodge, Kosmin said. The new owner kept the Blue Bird name. The company has continued to produce its Express Coach, a line of charter buses.

"It's very exciting for all of our employees just to resurrect the Wanderlodge from a small hiatus to get it back to another level from the standpoint of beauty," Kosmin said.

The Wanderlodge is equipped with a 600-hp Cummins engine. The redesign, Kosmin said, has focused on improvements of interior amenities such as cabinets.

The company has about 150 people working at the Fort Valley plant. Blue Bird employed 140 people there when it sold the plant, but many of those workers moved over to the school bus operation. Kosmin said about 75 people were on the payroll when the new company took over, and since then employment has about doubled.

Blue Bird sold Blue Bird Coachworks, the company said at the time, as part of a strategy to focus operations on its separate school bus manufacturing operation.

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