ELKHART — Florida-based Allied Specialty Vehicles increased its presence in the Elkhart area with two purchases about a week apart.
Navistar International Corp. announced Thursday, May 16, that ASV had purchased Navistar RV’s assets, including facilities in Wakarusa. ASV’s Chief Operating Officer Jim Meyer said that all 520 employees at the Wakarusa manufacturing facility would be affected.
“We will stop taking manufacturing orders for Wakarusa,” said Meyer Thursday afternoon during a phone interview. “We will continue to complete the orders they have, which will take us into August.”
After August, Meyer said the manufacturing operations in Wakarusa will be moved to ASV’s Decatur, Ind., location. Wakarusa employees will be able to apply for jobs open in Decatur.
“(Operations in Wakarusa) will end over the course of this year,” said Meyer. “We are in the process now of looking for someone in the industry to purchase the facility. Our goal is to make any gap or transition time (for employees) as small as we can.”
He added, “There are great people here (in Wakarusa) and we want to see all of these people employed. We are going to get everyone through this as compassionately as we can.”
There will be no changes for employees at the Elkhart facility.
“After looking at this every which way, the answer was to move the Wakarusa production to Decatur but to leave the Elkhart production the way it is,” said Meyer.
Meyer added that ASV’s main goal is to restructure the Monaco and Holiday Rambler RV businesses.
“In order to restore the businesses and the brand, which we are very excited about for the future, we are going to need to take action,” said Meyer.
On May 6, Elkhart’s Thor Industries announced that it had sold its ambulance division, SJC Industries, to ASV.
Meyer said that the two recent purchases in the Elkhart area are purely coincidental.
“Our goal is to be a great company that produces specialty vehicles,” said Meyer. “The timing of the two acquisitions is coincidental. These were the first two acquisitions we’ve undertaken in a year, and they just happened to be back to back.”
Navistar spokesman Steve Schrier said in February that the company was looking for offers for the RV business. Navistar ventured into the RV business in 2009, when it purchased Monaco RV. Monaco RV was later renamed Navistar RV.
In a statement Thursday, Navistar’s Chief Operating Officer Jack Allen said that Navistar will continue to focus on its North America core businesses.
“ASV will be able to create more value in the (RV) business than we could ourselves,” said Allen.