Stoughton Trailers: Reclaims chassis production following federal trade decisions

STOUGHTON, Wis. (Thursday, April 29, 2021) — Stoughton Trailers, LLC, is hiring hundreds of assemblers, welders and supervisors at its Evansville plant — which, once successful, is expected to bring the company’s employee total to an all-time high — as it ramps up the manufacturing of chassis products used to transport intermodal containers.

In a major reshoring win on April 13, the U.S. International Trade Commission made an affirmative final determination in the countervailing duty investigation on chassis and subassemblies from China with a 5-0 decision. The commission found that U.S. producers have been materially injured by unfairly traded imports of Chinese chassis, paving the way for the imposition of trade remedy orders. 

Stoughton Trailers and four other chassis manufacturers came together under the Coalition of American Chassis Manufacturers and worked with the legal team of Wiley Rein LLP to prove that unfairly dumped and subsidized imports of Chinese chassis were injuring the U.S. chassis industry. 

The U.S. government issued a 44.32 percent countervailing tariff, which imposed duties on Chinese chassis and subassemblies for a minimum of five years. Additionally, in a concurrent antidumping duty investigation, the U.S. Department of Commerce preliminarily determined that Chinese producers were dumping chassis and subassemblies into the United States. Commerce is expected to issue its final antidumping duty determination on May 11, and this decision is expected to drive the total tariff to more than 232 percent on Chinese chassis and subassemblies for a minimum of five years. 

“This is an enormous victory for Stoughton Trailers, the Evansville community, and other U.S. chassis manufacturers,” said Stoughton Trailers President & CEO Bob Wahlin.  

“Stoughton Trailers was producing thousands of chassis annually at its Evansville plant until 2005, when Chinese manufacturers intensified the dumping chassis and single-handedly took the market.” 

The Chinese were selling the entire chassis to U.S. companies for less than the cost of the steel in the frame alone, which devastated Stoughton’s chassis production and forced the company to close its Evansville facility for several years until it began to build other products at the facility, he said.

When it became evident last year that rulings in favor of U.S. manufacturers were likely, customers who previously bought Chinese chassis quickly became interested in Stoughton’s line, Wahlin said.

“When we received a very large order from a customer at the end of 2020, we geared up to make improvements to our production process and began recruiting workers,” he said. “We are hiring assemblers, welders, machine operators and supervisors. We’re also making all the subcomponents at our Stoughton Plant 5 to feed the Evansville assembly line. We’re investing in automation and other improvements to both plants, knowing that we will be in a competitive position to sell chassis for years to come.”

The company is currently hiring employees to staff the day shift but expects to add a second shift once it onboards enough new workers. Candidates may visit for a complete list of employment opportunities.