Eco-innovations could save Oregon’s RV industry


The pending loss of 450 jobs at Monaco RV’s plant in Coburg strikes yet another blow to Lane County’s frail RV manufacturing industry. But several people in the industry predict local RV manufacturing will re-emerge when the national economy recovers.

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The pending loss of 450 jobs at Monaco RV’s plant in Coburg strikes yet another blow to Lane County’s frail RV manufacturing industry. But several people in the industry predict local RV manufacturing will re-emerge when the national economy recovers.

 

It will look different, however, from the glory years before the recession when scores of large, gleaming luxury motor coaches came off the assembly lines at Monaco and Marathon Coach in Coburg and at Country Coach in Junction City.

Industry insiders say the area probably will never churn out the volume of high-end, luxury motor coaches it once did. Instead, RVs will be smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic and more fuel efficient, and Lane County could create a new niche as an eco-friendly innovator, they say.

“I don’t expect to see the type of numbers of manufacturing in the high-end that there was in the past; I don’t expect to see that ever return,” said Ron Lee, who early this year resurrected Country Coach — a company founded in 1973 by his brother, Bob Lee — although in a much smaller version.

Read more in today’s Register-Guard.




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