Airstream ready for $40M expansion, 280 new jobs

Trailer manufacturer Airstream, Inc. said Monday it will expand its Jackson Center location and boost its workforce to some 1,200 employees total this year.

The subsidiary of Thor Industries (NYSE: THO) plans to break ground on a $40 million project to create a new 750,000 square-foot facility “in late spring 2018,” with completion expected in 2019.

“As a result of this investment, the craftspeople at the heart of Airstream’s assembly process will have more production space to make the world’s most iconic recreational vehicle,” the company said in an announcement.

“We embrace our rich history even as we move into the future,” Bob Wheeler, Airstream president and chief executive, said in the statement. “This new facility will give us the room to build and innovate quality products, all while maintaining the hand-made craftsmanship that makes Airstream an American icon.”

The plant expansion will consolidate multiple production spaces into one facility, bringing assembly under one roof. The current 255,000 square-foot travel trailer plant will be converted for the of building Airstream’s motorized touring coaches, freeing up production space for other products.

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A state-of-the-art training center in the new factory is also planned.

“The workforce here in Shelby County is second to none,” Wheeler said. “We couldn’t be happier reaffirming our 65-plus year commitment to Jackson Center. In addition, the state of Ohio is a great place to do business and their continued commitment to Airstream made this an easy decision.”

“This expansion by Airstream’s parent company, Thor Industries, will bring 280 new jobs to the Jackson Center campus, where Airstream will continue to produce recreational vehicles that loyal customers have enjoyed for nearly a century,” JobsOhio Senior Managing Director for Automotive Kristi Tanner said in the announcement.

Also planned in Jackson Center: A new “heritage center” illustrating the company’s 87-years of history.

Airstream and Thor Industries have been steadily expanding in recent years. In September 2014, the company announced a $5.9 million expansion in Jackson Center, one that would increase production capacity by 70 percent.

That project was to add about 94,000 square feet to Airstream’s plant.

Even then, with strong sales in 2014, hiring at Airstream was up 26 percent, the company said at the time.

hio in 1952, the company said. The current plant was built in 1971. The Jackson Center campus has been Airstream’s sole manufacturing location since 1979.

Jackson Center is about 56 miles north of Dayton.

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