Great Dane Trailers to close manufacturing facility in Savannah, Ga.

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Great Dane Trailers on Tuesday, Nov. 11, announced plans to close its original manufacturing facility in Savannah, Ga., effective Jan. 9. The company cited the effect of the extended economic downturn on the transportation industry coupled with the need for more efficient production as the key factors behind its decision to close the refrigerated trailer plant.

About 270 plant hourly and office employees will be affected by this closing, according to Great Dane, but 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.

Built in 1919 for the expanding Savannah Blowpipe Co., the Savannah plant soon became the starting ground for the first Great Dane trailers. “It’s a sad day for us,” says Phillip Pines, chief operating officer of Great Dane Limited Partnership. “A lot of family and friends are affected. 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.”

Plans for replacing this capacity are under way, Pines says. “This move is necessary to meet customer expectations, while being price-competitive,” he says. “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.”

Great Dane says that until a new plant is established, the Savannah plant’s production will be transferred to Great Dane’s two other refrigerated plants in Wayne, Neb., and Brazil, Ind.