Jayco expands, growth outpaces motor home market

Jayco plans a large expansion for next year, ahead of the growth curve in the motorhome market, and the company has preliminary plans for future expansion, too.

Posted on Nov. 5, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

MIDDLEBURY — Jayco plans to expand their building and add dozens more jobs to its luxury motor home line, which leads the pack in growth in that segment of the growing RV industry.

They’re adding a 77,000-square-foot expansion at a cost of $2.9 million to house production of Entegra Coach, the company announced Monday with the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

“In the last year we definitely saw an uptick in our orders coming in, definitely up over the previous year,” said Ashley Lehman, marketing manager for Entegra.

“At Entegra Coach, one of our biggest things is pushing our customer service, the Bontrager promise of standing behind each thing we build. We are not building 100 Entegra Coaches, we are building one Entegra Coach for a customer at a time,” Lehman said. That has helped build a strong reputation for the line, she said.

Motor home shipments from manufacturers to dealers were up 6.1 percent through September, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

Jayco employs more than 1,700 people in Middlebury and will start hiring in the spring, with construction set to be complete in May. The company plans to add up to 65 new jobs by 2015, according to Monday’s announcement.

Jayco also has preliminary plans for future expansions at its 373-acre campus on Middlebury’s south side, according to plans they’ve filed with the county.

“Northern Indiana has been our primary base of operation since the company was founded in 1968,” said Wilbur Bontrager, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Jayco. “The strengthening economy, Jayco’s market share growth, available labor force and Indiana’s business-friendly environment all combine to give us the confidence to make this expansion move now,” he said in the announcement.

“We look forward to continuing to work with both state and local government to create jobs and to boost our company’s momentum,” Bontrager said.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said, “Jobs announcements from RV manufacturing leaders like Jayco further prove that Elkhart County is coming back stronger than ever. Elkhart remains the RV capital of the world and is a major center of economic strength for Indiana thanks to our state’s enterprise-friendly policies and remarkably skilled workforce.”

@Normal (Web):The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Jayco up to $775,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until employees are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.

The town supported the project at the request of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County.

“The town of Middlebury is pleased to see that Jayco is doing well,” said Mark Salee, town manager. “The town is committed to supporting all the businesses in Middlebury, especially a company such as Jayco. This expansion of the Jayco facilities is a good sign of economic growth in our community.” 

Jayco is the largest privately owned RV company and the third largest one in the county. Between 60 and 83 percent of all American-made RVs are made in Elkhart County, according to the RVIA.

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