Great Dane Trailers recently announced plans to shut down its original manufacturing facility, located in Savannah, Ga., effective Jan. 9, 2009, and will be temporarily transferring production to its two other refrigerated plants in Wayne, Neb., and Brazil.
For the next couple of years, the closing of the corporate office could present stability at the Brazil location, 2664 E. US 40, in an unstable market.
"Right now, this is a positive for Brazil," Vice President of Marketing Brandie Fuller said. "The Brazil location is unique because they build all different types of trailers, instead of being specialized, and it should strengthen the economic security of that plant."
Fuller added the Brazil location should have approximately 300 trailers added to its backlog of work, but is unsure about the potential need for new employees.
"At this time, I don't believe any new employees would need to be hired," she told The Brazil Times. "The plant runs very efficiently, but the increased backlog definitely lessens the chance of layoffs."
Great Dane is hoping to open a new, more efficient refrigerated production facility in the near future somewhere in the Southeast region of the United States.
"We anticipate that 18-24 months would be needed to see the economy turn back around and 2009 looks to be another flat year," Fuller said. "However, even if a new plant opens, it would not put the Brazil location at risk because it would be specifically for refrigerated trailers."
Fuller told The Brazil Times the opening of a new plant would actually take the stress off the local plant by preventing the possibility of being overloaded.
"Brazil has a lot of capacity and it is not running at full capacity at this time," she said. "However, any new orders for the food service industry would come directly to Brazil until a new plant opens."
She explained Brazil would get the bulk of the temporary production order because the plant in Wayne, Neb., specialized in the production of Super Seal refrigerated trailers.
"They are not in competition with Brazil," Fuller said. "The variety of trailers produced in Brazil helps to stabilize the future of the location."
According to the Great Dane Trailers web site, the Brazil location produces refrigerated units, along with dry freight and a large order, multi-purpose trailer line. The plant, which has been operating in Brazil for more than 30 years, also utilizes a composite panel (Thermacube) fabrication facility, which is unique among all the Great Dane locations.
Due to company policy, Brazil Plant Manager Gary Parker was unable to comment when contacted by The Brazil Times.