ELKHART — Universal Trailer Corporation is heading to a new location in Bristol.
Universal Trailer Corporation (UTC), one of the largest and most innovative manufacturers of recreational and commercial cargo in the country, held a town hall-style meeting with their Elkhart plant personnel this past Thursday, March 29.
The purpose of the meeting was to update their employees on the progress of the upcoming plant’s relocation, (originally communicated last April), to the newer, worker-friendly, and more technology-advanced manufacturing facility in Bristol.
“[The new location will be at] 2020 Blakesley Parkway in Bristol,” Scott Samuels, director of marketing for Cargo Group said.
According to Samuels, they are moving because they are consolidating from three plants to two, including their new state-of-the-art facility in Bristol, which opened in March 2017.
“The employees were appreciative of being kept in the loop with the timing of the move,” Samuels said. “We are doing our best to be as transparent as possible regarding our relocation plans. The new Bristol plant is approximately 13-miles from the Elkhart plant which may be a longer commute for some of our Elkhart employees. The transition may require some additional training.”
UTC is hoping to place the majority of the 38 affected employees at one of the two existing Bristol locations.
“We value the talent and dedication of our Elkhart employees,” said Vice President and General Manager Jeff Howes. “It’s our goal to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
The exact timing of the move is still uncertain; however, it was communicated that it should occur within the next 90 days.
According to an older press release, the new facility in Bristol cost $25 million-plus. The new location is 200,000 square feet that also features several important trailer industry firsts, such as, Universals Trailer’s proprietary construction material, intelligent robotic welding for square and true frames; high-strength, low alloy roll found steel, double-flanged cross members to minimize road vibrations; frames dripped in paint providing advanced anti-corrosion protection; and automotive fastener technology for perfectly aligned trailer chassis, walls, and roofs.
All this means that Universal Trailer will now deliver trailers with three times the life expectancy of many competitors.
Wells Cargo and Haulmark trailers will be produced as complete trailer frame kits, which will then be shipped off to Universal Trailer’s four cargo trailer facilities around the country for further assembly and customization. To verify its new materials, semi-automated production and sophisticated fastening methods, Universal Trailers implemented rigorous research, testing and on-the-road trailer quality assurance for over a year.