Great Dane Trailers announced today plans to close its original manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia, effective January 9, 2009 and has begun searching for a new, more efficient plant site.
The effect of the extended economic downturn on the transportation industry coupled with the need for more efficient production are the key factors behind the decision to close the refrigerated trailer plant.
"It's a sad day for us. A lot of family and friends are affected," said Phillip Pines, chief operating officer of Great Dane Limited Partnership. "This plant has remained pivotal in the history of our company. Its closing is no reflection on the caliber of the people or their work. We have simply exhausted the ability of this plant to produce refrigerated trailers at a competitive price."
Built in 1919 for the expanding Savannah Blowpipe Company, the Savannah plant would soon become the starting ground for the first Great Dane trailers. Delivering many industry firsts, Great Dane's pioneering efforts led to this plant producing the first-ever factory finished refrigerated trailer. For nearly a century, the Savannah plant has supplied the transportation industry with the most complex, highest quality reefer products available.
Plans for replacing this capacity are underway. "This move is necessary to meet customer expectations, while being price competitive," said Pines. Advancements in technology, both in the design and production of trailers, have placed increased demands on manufacturing. The addition of a modernized facility will help maintain Great Dane's position as the leader in the refrigerated trailer market."
Approximately 270 plant hourly and office employees will be affected by this closing. The corporate office, which includes sales and marketing, design engineering, manufacturing engineering, research and development, retail accounting, MIS, corporate quality and customer service, will not be affected by the plant closing.
Until a new plant is established, the Savannah plant's production will be transferred to Great Dane's two other refrigerated plants located in Wayne, Nebraska, and Brazil, Indiana.