But that changed a day after the purchase was finalized when Thor officials walked through the manufacturing plant.
“On the first day after owning them, management stated they could produce more units if they had a lamination facility,” said Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor Industries.
“We quickly just told them to give us a proposal and a plan. They already had the land.”
KZRV, which manufactures towable recreational vehicles, recently announced that it plans to expand its operations in Shipshewana, creating up to 125 new jobs by 2017, reports the South Bend Tribune.
KZRV will invest up to $4.83 million to construct and equip a new 80,750-square-foot lamination facility in Shipshewana, according to a news release by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. The building, which will be fully operational by late spring 2015, will allow the company to increase its production capacity for lamination, aluminum frame welding, and towable recreational vehicle assembly.
Lamination is being moved from an existing building where it shared space with the assembly line.
KZRV currently employs more than 360 full-time workers. It plans to begin hiring aluminum welders and general assembly workers in late spring 2015. Interested applicants may apply in person at the KZRV human resources office in Shipshewana.
Thor Industries’ other companies have their own laminating facilities, so this will be used for KZ only, Martin said.
KZRV produces a full line of towable RVs, from high-end models like the Durango and Stone Ridge to value lines including Sportsmen Classics. The KZRV complex, with the new addition, now consists of eight buildings covering 530,000 square feet.
The Economic Development Corp. offered KZRV up to $1.25 million in conditional tax credits and up to $21,600 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. LaGrange County will consider additional incentives at the request of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp.
The expansion is the fourth announced in the last month by Thor, one of the world’s largest RV manufacturers.
Besides Airstream in Ohio, Thor’s other expansions are taking place at Heartland and Keystone. All told, about 330 jobs will be added to the Elkhart County area over the next several years because of the expansions.
Thor Industries, one of the world’s largest RV manufacturers, is based in Elkhart and employs about 9,400 people, most of them in Indiana.
It’s clear the company believes the current RV boom will last for a while.
“Airstream is a more expensive travel trailer,” Martin said.
“For that product alone to have enough production to expand their factory for the first time in 20 years speaks to the health of the industry.”
All the expansions collectively say something, too, he said.
“It’s a telltale sign that we have a positive outlook on the industry and for Thor,” he said.
“We see it as a positive trend for the long term.”
RV shipments have been up 32 consecutive months.
Year-to-date totals through August reached 246,483, a gain of 9 percent over the 226,125 units shipped through August of last year, according to figures from the Reston, Virginia-based Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Year-end figures are expected to be more than 300,000 for the second straight year. Recreational vehicle wholesale shipments reached 321,127 units for 2013, a gain of 12.4 percent over the previous year. In 2007, a run of six straight years of 300,000 plus shipments ended.
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.