RV maker to close plants, cut 1,400 workers

Monaco Coach Corp. today said it will shutter its recreational vehicle service and manufacturing operations in the northern Indiana towns of Elkhart, Nappannee and Wakarusa.

Production of most of its motorized RVs will be shifted to the company’s home base of Coburg, Ore. Two motorized models and towable models will be made at a plant in nearby Warsaw.

About 1,400 workers will be wiped out as a result, the company said. Another 700 workers will remain at plants it operates in Warsaw, Milford and Goshen.

Industry shipments of big motorhomes like the ones Monaco builds declined by nearly a third last year from 2004 levels, and high fuel prices, declining consumer confidence and stressed consumer credit markets are causing market conditions to continue deteriorating, the company said.

Monaco stock fell 20 percent on the news to trade near $2.44 per share.

Northern Indiana, which makes more than half the nation’s RVs, has experienced a string of plant closing and layoffs in the past couple of years due to higher fuel prices and a cooling economy.

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