Monday, February 02, 2009



RV Business
Monday, February 2, 2009

Jayco Inc. announced today (Feb. 2) that it would be reducing its work force at the company’s headquarters in Middlebury, Ind., by around 20%, impacting over 250 workers.

The cutback follows consolidation moves by Jayco late last year that transferred operations from its Entegra Coach and Starcraft RV Inc. subsidiaries to the Middlebury campus.

“Previously, we were able to avoid making significant changes to our Middlebury work force,” Marketing Director Sid Johnson told RVBusiness. “We were hoping things would stabilize. But it has become apparent that the industry slowdown and the economic recession will be deeper and longer that anticipated. I guess this a reflection of market reality.”

Johnson reported that the cuts would be implemented over the next two weeks, leaving the family-owned company’s work force at around 1,200. Over 200 of the lost jobs will be in production.

“Long term, we have faith this market will return and hopefully we can bring some of these people back,” Johnson said. “But we do not see any increase in production in the near future. This has been an extremely painful process and certainly one that we tried to avoid.”

Johnson said that despite reports from promoters and retailers that the early show circuit was helping move product, credit conditions continued to stifle dealers’ buying.

“The credit market is so seized up,” Johnson said. “Dealers are unable to get inventory financing, and then when they do sell at retail they have to be creative to get it approved.

“Right now our dealers’ inventories are around 14% lower than last year, but because of the credit situation they can’t replace inventory.”

RV Business
Monday, February 2, 2009

Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. announced today (Feb. 2) that it will consolidate manufacturing facilities in order to improve efficiencies as a result of the “weakening economic conditions that have adversely affected the RV industry.”

Keystone RV said it will lay off approximately 350 workers effective throughout April, representing approximately 15% of the company’s work force.

The Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary will also close several of its plants, including the Howe, Ind., facility, and move production of its Passport Ultra Lite product line to the company’s Goshen production complex.

“These layoffs are very disappointing to all of us at Keystone,” said Ron Fenech, Keystone president and CEO. “We realize the huge impact this will have on the lives of everyone involved. We have delayed this move as long as we could. However, we can no longer ignore the economic realities of what is happening in all of North America. These changes help us become more efficient and better prepare us for the future.”

Fenech noted that the latest wholesale and retail figures show that sales of RVs continue to decline industrywide.

“As part of Thor Industries, Keystone is financially strong and can weather just about anything the economy can throw at us," he said. "Looking ahead, we expect the next six to 12 months will be very challenging for the RV industry. At the same time, I am encouraged by the level of sales activity we see at the early season RV shows. Although sales are not great, they are much better than we would have expected given all the bad news we see in the press.”

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