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New owner plans to reopen Elkhart RV factory

ELKHART – The new owner of a northern Indiana recreational vehicle factory that suddenly closed last week plans to reopen it in the coming months.

Thor Industries announced Tuesday it was buying the Elkhart factory from Monaco RV but didn’t release terms of the deal.

Monaco’s parent company, Orlando, Fla.-based Allied Specialty Vehicles, closed the Elkhart factory without notice on Feb. 10, ending the jobs of about 85 workers and turning away those who arrived for work in the morning.

Bob Martin, president and CEO of Elkhart-based Thor, said he expected production of motorhomes at the 220,000-square-foot factory this spring or summer. He said Thor will consider hiring those who worked for Monaco.

“We are glad we can find a very large production space for us to expand,” he told the South Bend Tribune.

Thor announced this month that its sales of motorized RVs had increased 44 percent, to about $339 million, for the six-month period that ended Jan. 31.

Modifications will be needed at the Elkhart factory where Monaco had made towable RVs, but how extensive those will be hasn’t been decided, Thor spokesman Jeff Tryka told The Elkhart Truth.

Allied bought financially troubled Monaco last May from Navistar International Corp. It then closed Monaco’s factory in Wakarusa and shifted its production work to Decatur.

Thor bought Monaco’s Wakarusa factory last year.

Elkhart County, just east of South Bend, has thousands of workers at numerous factories that were responsible for about 83 percent of the country’s 2012 RV production, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.