CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: SPAR) broke ground today on a $5.5 million expansion project at its headquarters in Charlotte.
The manufacturer of chassis for trucks, military applications, motorhomes and other specialty vehicles aims to produce the 2018 model of Isuzu’s F-Series truck at the new 85,000-square-foot facility. Spartan currently produces Isuzu’s N-Series of gasoline powered trucks, a contract it began in 2011.
Spartan Motors will consolidate all of its work for Isuzu under its specialty vehicle division and house both production lines in the new facility, said Dary Adams, president and CEO of Spartan Motors.
Spartan plans to add 60 new employees as a result of the expansion to the 1,700 workers who work across its operations, Adams said. The company also operates facilities in Indiana, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
The expansion comes as part of a larger strategy at Spartan Motors to increase profitability after several years of disappointing performance, Adams said.
“Spartan has struggled over the last number of years to be profitable, so the change has to be made and we’re making it,” Adams told MiBiz at the groundbreaking.
In addition to capitalizing on its relationship with Isuzu and growing its specialty vehicle business, Spartan Motors also recently completed a staff shakeup that included replacing 80 percent of the company’s leadership. The positions were filled by those experienced in lean manufacturing and turnaround businesses, Adams said.
Adams himself took over the role as president and CEO after Spartan Motors long-time leader, John Sztykiel retired in February 2014.
“It’s a great team now and we’re starting to make some progress,” he said.