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US firm to make recreational vehicles for China: Reports

2011-01-22 14:11

LOS ANGELES - A recreational vehicle (RV) producer in Southern California plans to make thousands of RVs for export to China under an agreement to be signed soon, local media outlets reported Friday.

MVP RV, a Riverside-based firm, will produce 10,000 Class A (self-powered, bus-sized) and 20,000 Class C (self-powered, van-sized) diesel-powered mobile homes over the next three to four years, KTTV FOX 11 reported. The values of these exports are estimated to exceed $5 billion, the company said.

Winston Global Energy, owned by Chinese entrepreneur Winston Chung and headquartered in Shenzhen, China, plans a $310 million capital injection into the Southern California firm for the motorhome venture. There are also plans for a joint development with Winston Battery Limited, a subsidiary, to make all-electric RVs, the report said.

"We are delighted to make this announcement, which will have such a positive effect on California's Inland Empire and beyond by reinvigorating the industry and creating new market opportunities with innovative products and superior customer service that have global appeal," said MVP RV Chief Executive Officer Brad Williams.

A contract signing ceremony between Winston and MVP RV is scheduled for Jan 22 in Chicago, during a trade event hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Messages left with both companies were not returned.

To fulfill the goal, MVP RV plans to hire some 1,300 people within one year. The company has already purchased a 46,000 sq m facility on a 9 hectare parcel for manufacturing operations.

Chinese consumers "have a growing interest in RV travel and camping," Williams said.

China is an "untapped market" for motor homes, said Scott Degnan, vice-president of sales and marketing for MVP RV.

The agreement is one of the more than two-dozen deals highlighted by the White House as President Hu Jintao wrapped up his first state visit to the United States since 2006.

The US firm is a privately-held company that produces self-powered and trailer RVs, the company said on its website. It has an existing distributor relationship with privately-held Winston Battery Limited.

Officials at the National Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in Reston, Virginia, welcomed the announcement, the Los Angeles Times reported.

China is an "infant market...with tremendous potential," senior director Bill Baker said. "You have Chinese consumers with more disposable income and more leisure time taking an interest in RVs."

The deal is also expected to add 1,200 new jobs to the Inland Empire, an area hit hard by the recession. In November, jobless rate in the area was at 14.3 percent.

The project comes at a crucial time for the region, said economist John Husing, an expert on the Inland Empire economy.

"Having a major employer coming into the manufacturing base out here is huge," he said.

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