War Not Hurting Upper Midwest Sales

March 31, 2003 by · Comments Off on War Not Hurting Upper Midwest Sales 

The war in Iraq is not hurting RV sales in the upper Midwest, according to Dan Pearson, president and CEO of PleasureLand RV Centers Inc., a three-location dealership with stores in Minnesota and North Dakota. “I’m very pleasantly surprised,” said Pearson, whose company operates dealerships in St. Cloud and Anoka, Minn., and in Fargo, N.D. “I expected a three-day CNN-effect and a slow week. But (the week of March 17-22) was incredible, the second-best we’ve had in three years. “New gas... Read more

Gas/Diesel Prices Slightly Lower

March 31, 2003 by · Comments Off on Gas/Diesel Prices Slightly Lower 

Gasoline and diesel fuel prices have come down slightly after reaching all-time record highs in March, according to, a service of the American Automobile Association (AAA). As of Friday (March 28), the national average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $1.656 per gallon, compared with $1.663 on Thursday (March 27) and $1.666 on Feb. 28, according to the AAA. A year earlier, the national average price per gallon for self-serve regular unleaded was $1.35. The all-time... Read more

Consumers Gaining Confidence

March 31, 2003 by · Comments Off on Consumers Gaining Confidence 

Consumer confidence declined last week but it remains “well above” levels before the war with Iraq, according to Rasmussen Reports, a consumer research firm. Meanwhile, over the weekend, investor confidence reached its highest level so far in 2003, before declining slightly today (March 31), according to Rasmussen Reports. The results are based upon a national telephone survey of 1,500 adults. “America’s economic confidence is closely tied to perceptions of the war with Iraq,” according... Read more

Car Sales Doing Pretty Well

March 31, 2003 by · Comments Off on Car Sales Doing Pretty Well 

The RV industry is not alone in experiencing relatively good retail sales after the start of the war in Iraq on March 19. J.D. Power and Associates reports U.S. light-vehicle sales declined nearly 3% during the first week after the war began, a much smaller amount than the sharp plunge that occurred during the ground phase of the first Gulf War in 1991 and immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, according to, the website for Automotive News magazine. “Auto sales remained sloppy in... Read more

Damon, Dutchmen Working 5-day Weeks

March 28, 2003 by · Comments Off on Damon, Dutchmen Working 5-day Weeks 

Several RV manufacturers now have their plants operating on four-day work weeks to avoid accumulating excess inventory, but Damon Motor Coach and Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. are two firms that have been able to maintain five-day work works. “Our orders have held pretty steady,” said Rich Florea, president of Goshen, Ind.-based Dutchmen, a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc. Florea said he needed to close Dutchmen’s factories for only one day during the first quarter so the company’s dealers... Read more

Winter Weather Slowed RV Sales

March 28, 2003 by · Comments Off on Winter Weather Slowed RV Sales 

The Northeast and Mid-Altantic states experienced an old-fashioned cold, snowy winter, and that was a factor in the RV retail market’s apparent sluggishness during the first quarter, according to Andy Heck, co-owner of three-location Upstate New York dealership Alpin Haus. The fact snow was on the ground in many parts of the country until about 10 days ago might also explain why the beginning of the War with Iraq on March 19 did not appear to have much impact on RV dealership lot traffic or sales. For... Read more

Travel Planning Being Postponed

March 28, 2003 by · Comments Off on Travel Planning Being Postponed 

Americans have postponed, but presumably not canceled, their summer travel planning because of concerns about the duration of the war in Iraq, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA) National Travel Barometer. In a statement issued today (March 28), North America’s largest leisure travel agency reports travel reservations during the week of March 17 were 76% of what they were a year ago and 87% of what they were during the week of March 10. The greatest impact was felt by the cruise... Read more

Fleetwood’s Order Backlogs “Pretty Strong”

March 28, 2003 by · Comments Off on Fleetwood’s Order Backlogs “Pretty Strong” 

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s RV Group continues to experience “pretty strong” dealer order backlogs despite the beginning of war in Iraq last week, according to Boyd Plowman, CFO. “Retailers have not felt an impact (from the war) on traffic, which is a bit surprising to me,” Plowman said during an interview with RVBUSINESS.COM. Although attendance at the Family Motor Coach Association International Rally in Pomona, Calif., March 21-23 was the lowest in 10 to 12 years, “we sold more... Read more

RVtoday Now on 7 Days a Week

March 27, 2003 by · Comments Off on RVtoday Now on 7 Days a Week 

RVtoday, the TV program about RVs and the RV lifestyle, now is airing daily on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), the cable channel for outdoor enthusiasts that is projected to reach 63 million homes by the end of this year. “This new broadcast partnership with OLN allows RVtoday to fulfill its mission of supporting enjoyment of the RV lifestyle for the more than 7 million RV-owning households in the U.S.,” said RVtoday Executive Director Bob Livingston. “RVtoday also works to spread the word... Read more

Cruise Am. Anticipates Rental Rebound

March 27, 2003 by · Comments Off on Cruise Am. Anticipates Rental Rebound 

The RV rental market “has tanked” during the past month as people have become glued to their TVs watching coverage of the war on Iraq instead of planning their summer vacations. But Cruise America Inc. executives are confident the market will rebound once the public becomes adjusted to the new international political environment, according to Bob Caldarone, director of marketing at the major RV rental firm. “November and December were great for future bookings, so we’re still ahead of last... Read more

Keystone RV Hires Info. Services Head

March 27, 2003 by · Comments Off on Keystone RV Hires Info. Services Head 

Rick Deisler has joined the staff of Keystone RV Company, Goshen, Ind., as the head of information services, a new position, according to Ron Fenech, president. Deisler will be in charge of the company’s new Microsoft Axapta business software system, a digital environment that has been introduced throughout Keystone for all communications. Deisler, a graduate of Olivet College in Olivet, Mich., holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in marketing and one in management. He came to Keystone after a 15-year... Read more

Yuma RV Dealers Fault “Gypsy Dealers”

March 27, 2003 by · Comments Off on Yuma RV Dealers Fault “Gypsy Dealers” 

Some Yuma, Ariz., area RV dealers say unlicensed operations that follow winter visitors are hurting their businesses, according to the Associated Press. Dan Esch, owner of Blue Diamond Home & RV, says sales at his dealership are plummeting because of the so-called “gypsy dealers” who operate without a dealer’s license. “Why don’t I just rip my sign down and do what the (gypsy dealers) do?” Esch said. Arizona law prohibits the sale of four or more motor vehicles per year by an unlicensed... Read more

Fleetwood’s Credit Line Increased

March 26, 2003 by · Comments Off on Fleetwood’s Credit Line Increased 

RV and manufactured home builder Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. announced that its revolving line of credit has been increased by $20 million to $130 million, according to Boyd Plowman, CFO. Fleetwood’s revolving line of credit is with a syndicate of banks let by Bank of America. The return of a former member of the syndicate allowed for the increase, Plowman said. “This increase will provide additional liquidity as we move into the strongest selling season in both our industries,” he added. Meanwhile,... Read more

Dealers Report Small Losses in January

March 26, 2003 by · Comments Off on Dealers Report Small Losses in January 

After a year in which their profits rebounded sharply, all categories of RV dealers reported small net losses in January, according to Spader Business Management. Small and midsize dealers reported the biggest losses in January, which, typically, is one of the slowest months of the year for RV dealers and which is a month when dealers typically report net losses. Small dealers, those with less than $5 million in annual sales. reported an average net loss of $25,262 in January, according to Spader,... Read more

RV Retail Remains Robust in SoCal

March 26, 2003 by · Comments Off on RV Retail Remains Robust in SoCal 

Retail sales of RVs have remained strong in the Southern California counties to the east of Los Angeles, despite the war in Iraq and gasoline prices averaging more than $2 a gallon, according to the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif. At the Altman’s Winnebago location in the RV Expo sales mall in Colton, Calif., salesman John Parrish told the newspaper his location is “pretty much on a record pace.” “What’s it cost to go to a hotel?” Parrish asked, to put the impact of higher gas... Read more

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