Thor Industries Inc. announced June 3 its purchase of the former Navistar International Corp. manufacturing campus in Wakarusa, Ind., from Fleetwood RV Inc. and parent Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV).
Thor Wakarusa LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor, purchased the land and production facilities, including certain related equipment, from ASV. Following ASV’s May 16 purchased all of the equity interests of Navistar RV, the company announced it would be relocating motorhome operations from Wakarusa to its headquarters in Decatur, Ind.
“This purchase marks an important step forward in the growth of our RV business,” commented Bob Martin, Thor’s president and COO. “With this new production complex, we will be better positioned to achieve our long-term strategic growth initiatives. Even more compelling, this purchase will allow us to expand capacity faster and at a lower cost than other options. We are excited about the future prospects of reinvigorating the Wakarusa facilities.”
The purchased facilities comprise nearly 1 million square feet of total production space located on more than 150 acres located in Wakarusa. In addition to the production space, the complex includes more than 35 paint booths designed specifically for painting recreational vehicles. Initially, Thor plans to use the facilities for motorized production to better enable subsidiary Thor Motor Coach to meet current and expected demand, and to vertically integrate paint operations through a facility operated by Thor’s Keystone RV Co. subsidiary. The facility includes space that offers the potential for additional production as well. Thor expects to finalize transition planning once the seller exits the facilities, which is expected to occur late this summer.
Jeff Kime, president of Thor Motor Coach, noted, “We are pleased to add the Wakarusa facilities to our existing motorhome campus in Elkhart, as this significant increase in capacity will help us continue our rapid growth. We have been looking at a variety of options to meet the surging demand in the motorized RV market and purchasing the Wakarusa facility was an ideal solution to expand our motorhome production. In addition, it will enhance our ability to provide our outstanding dealer network with greater and more innovative products in the future.”
Matt Zimmerman, president of Keystone, also weighed in: “This is an exciting time to be a Keystone dealer. The addition of 35 paint booths will ease some of the capacity constraints we are feeling with our current outside suppliers and provide ample opportunities to grow our business, particularly in higher-end fifth-wheels. The ability to provide enhanced full-body paint on our product offerings should help us maintain and build on our industry leading position in the towable market. Most importantly, it will give our dealers another advantage over the competition.”