Struggling truck-maker Navistar is considering selling off its Navistar RV businesss, located in Elkhart County.
WAKARUSA — Illinois-based Navistar continues looking at selling off its Navistar RV business as the struggling truck maker tries to focus on its core businesses.
“We’ve been looking at all of our businesses, top to bottom,” said Steve Schrier, spokesman for Lisle, Ill.-based Navistar. “As a result of that analysis, we expect to entertain offers. We have been listening to offers” for the business, Schrier said Thursday, Feb. 14. “There have been unsolicited offers in the past that we have rejected. Now we’re in the formal process, we’re looking at formal offers. We’ve not accepted any offers at this time.”
William Osborne, president of Navistar RV, gave details to Monaco/Holiday Rambler owners last month.
Schrier pointed to industry websites iRV2.com and RVDailyReport.com, which reported on Osborne’s comments to owners. ”I fully expect Navistar will entertain offers for sale of Navistar RV and have, in fact, already rejected several offers,” he said during the January call. He also said, “we have no plans to cease operations.”
Navistar bought the former Monaco Coach in 2009 following Monaco’s bankruptcy and moved all operations to Wakarusa in 2011. Last year they rebranded the company Navistar RV.
Navistar RV has the Monaco, Holiday Rambler and R-Vision lines, produced in Wakarusa and Elkhart.
After leadership changes last year, Navistar announced in September that it launched a review of all non-core businesses with the goal of improving return on invested capital.
Navistar lost $2.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.
“We do have a turnaround plan that we are executing currently,” Schrier said. “We have the cash to continue funding operations. We don’t have to sell. If we get an offer we don’t like and doesn’t add value, we certainly have the option to reject that.”
Schrier said the company doesn’t discuss whether particular business segments are profitable, but he did say the motorhome industry is “nowhere near its peak. I think it peaked in 2005 and 2006. It’s a fraction of what it was.”
During those peak years Monaco employed roughly 1,500 workers. Today in Elkhart County Navistar RV has “about 600 employees,” Schrier said.
While it’s too early in the process and too speculative to say whether those jobs would stay here after a sale, Schrier said, “the reason we consolidated those operations to Indiana is that between 80 and 90 percent of all RV suppliers are in that neck of the woods.”
If Navistar sells off Navistar RV, it won’t impact the production of the all-electric eStar, which is made in Wakarusa. “That’s a separate business,” Schrier said.