Lane County used to be the center of motor home manufacturing in Oregon, employing about 4,500 people. Then the recession hit. Only one of the RV makers survived. Marathon Coach announced Tuesday it plans to increase production and hire more workers.
Coburg was home to Monaco, Country Coach and Marathon Coach, churning out motor homes of various prices. When the recession hit and people stopped buying the vehicles, Monaco and Country Coach both filed for bankruptcy. Monaco survived. At its peak in 2006, Marathon Coach was building 70 high-end models a year. Now President and CEO, Steve Schoellhorn says 2014 was a good year for the company, with 13 new and about 40 pre-owned coaches sold.
Schoellhorn: "We've successfully turned the corner from the difficult years a few years ago. There's been a lot of pent-up demand. We obviously sell a luxury product and I think a lot of people of our demographic are just sort of getting back to normal after some difficult years for a lot of companies and a lot of industries."
Online videos show off the opulent Marathon Coaches, which can sell for about $2-million. Schoellhorn says this year Marathon plans to build at least 18 luxury coaches and hire more than 50 new workers, mainly at its manufacturing plant in Coburg.