In a move brought on by improved economic conditions, the Starcraft RV, a division of Jayco, has resumed production in its Topeka, Ind., plant. The Starcraft facility had previously been closed and production of Starcraft products had been consolidated into Jayco’s Middlebury, Ind., complex as part of Jayco’s efforts to trim costs and reduce production capacity.
“When we consolidated the Starcraft operations into Jayco’s Middlebury campus, we indicated that our goal would be to reinstate the operations in Topeka as soon as market conditions would allow,” said Jim Jacobs, Starcraft RV general manager. “We believe that time is now. The year has started off on a pace well ahead of last year both in shipping and in retail sales activity. We continue to be optimistic that 2010 will be a much improved year for our industry.”
Jacobs added that the initial production move focuses on Autumn Ridge travel trailers, the company’s popular entry level towable products. He indicated that the company will hire as many as 50 workers this year in the re-opened facility. Remaining product lines will be transferred back to the Topeka facility as market conditions dictate over the next 18 months.
“This re-start of production in Topeka will provide Starcraft RV with the opportunity to more quickly respond to the marketplace, to continue our focus on core products, and ultimately allow us to become an aggressive competitor in the RV industry,” said Jacobs. “We anticipate the Topeka campus will eventually house four manufacturing assembly lines, and two side department operations, thereby allowing us to employ several hundred people long-term. The growth from both a production and employment standpoint will take place gradually.”
First off the line in Topeka, the 2011 Starcraft Autumn Ridge travel trailers will be available in several floorplans ranging from 22 feet to just over 35 feet. Designed for a variety of lifestyles and budgets, the Autumn Ridge boasts a level of standard equipment and optional upgrades normally limited to more expensive units, thus offering greater value to RV users.