American LaFrance Says Business Continues

American LaFrance company representative Richard Ball says he has good news for concerned fire departments -- the company isn't going out of business, and they have not stopped producing apparatus.

Earlier this week, the company announced it was shutting down facilities in Pennsylvania and New York. Truck production is now being consolidated into the company's Summerville, S.C. headquarters. But, Ball says, business will continue as usual.

"We get a lot of questions about the consolidation," he said Thursday from the convention floor of FDIC in Indianapolis. "But, the Summerville facility can more than hold everything we need to do."

American LaFrance filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last January after losing $56 million in 2007 and $48 million in 2006. The company emerged from bankruptcy last summer. In July, they announced a reorganization plan that consolidated truck production in Ephrata, Penn. and Hamburg, N.Y. Ball said the company had the option of consolidating manufacturing to South Carolina then, but didn't in the hopes that business would pick back up.

But, as the economy has only slumped further, and fire departments have less money to spend, Ball said that has not happened.

Ball said the change would not affect anyone currently in possession of an American LaFrance truck -- warranties would still be honored and broken equipment would still be fixed. He said future customers can be satisfied, too. Anyone placing an order for a new truck will still get it filled.

"People take the announcement as, we're shutting down the doors," he said. "And that's simply not true."

Related Stories: