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wcjp 03-09-2009 08:40 PM

Fleetwood bails on TT

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Fleetwood announces more plant closings
Greg Gerber posted on March 09, 2009 16:46

PENDLETON, Ore. -- Employees of Fleetwood Travel Trailers of Oregon got the tough news this morning from management that their plant's doors will close for good. Corporate management also announced the closure of the company's manufacturing plant in La Grande.

The closures affects 253 employees in Pendleton and 162 in La Grande, according to a letter to the cities from Evelyn Guiter, director of human resources for Fleetwood Enterprises, which owns the Oregon manufacturing facilities.

"We will cease production of travel trailers and begin closing your manufacture or service facility," Guiter said in the letter. "This process is expected to take 30-45 days, and we expected this closure to be permanent."

Without the travel trailer division, Fleetwood will focus on its motor homes and manufactured housing division, also facing challenges. Company officials have indicated they are not interested in relocating the production of motor homes or manufactured homes to the Pendleton or La Grande sites.

Kathy Munson, Fleetwood corporate spokeswoman, said the move to get out of the travel trailer business is effective immediately. "I wish I could say this isn't happening, but it is," Munson said. "It's been an extremely tough economy for RVs. ... We depend a lot on consumer confidence and there hasn't been any."

Robert Thompson, owner of Thompson RV in Pendleton, said a Fleetwood sales manger met him this morning to give him the news. Thompson said his dealership still has Fleetwood inventory, and Fleetwood has a reserve fund to handle warranties for a year.

Thompson said local travel trailer and RV sales have been good, which is bucking the declining nationwide trend. But he said it's too early to tell how Fleetwood's closures will affect his business, though he speculated he may have to bring in new products from other manufactures.

To read the complete report in The East Oregonian, click here.

Posted in: Manufacturing News

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