Utilimaster to move headquarters, manufacturing from Wakarusa to Bristol

Spartan Motors announced Tuesday it will relocate Utilimaster Corp.'s manufacturing operations, headquarters, and all supporting departments and functions, to Bristol from the current location in Wakarusa.

The move, which could cost Wakarusa about 800 jobs, is expected to begin during the second quarter and be completed by the end of the year.

The final lease agreements are pending. Company officials are working with state, county and local government leaders to finalize the incentives for the relocation, which the company says will result in continued economic growth and stability for Utilimaster, as well as the Elkhart County area.

Bristol is located 20 miles east of Wakarusa. The move will consolidate Utilimaster's operations into one facility from its current campus of 16 buildings.

In a release, the company said that moving into a single plant, combined with lean manufacturing practices, will enable Utilimaster to improve product quality and manufacturing efficiency by reducing operating costs and eliminating non-value added steps.