ROUTE 66 Grows to 25 Members

February 27, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

ROUTE 66 Dealer Network LLC, a buying group with a core membership of 25 midsized RV dealers, is being launched by Steve Francis, a Missouri dealer, and his brother, Dave Francis, a long-time marketing and advertising executive. “It’s the midsized dealer – the $15 million dealer who wants to become a $20 million dealer – who needs a buying group,” said Steve Francis, owner of Trailside RV, Grain Valley, Mo. “We are trying to find like-minded dealers.” Membership in ROUTE 66, headquartered... Read more

All’s Well at Specialty Window

February 27, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

All is well today (Feb. 27) at RV industry supplier firm Specialty Window Coverings Inc. in Elkhart, Ind., where the company’s production plant was evacuated Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 25) when workers began feeling sick. The 85-employee plant was evacuated because high carbon monoxide levels made about 40 workers ill. The source of the carbon monoxide was one of two tow motors used early Wednesday morning to move equipment into the new 16,000-square-foot portion of the company’s expanded plant,... Read more

Shipments Strong in January

February 27, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

RV shipments from factories to dealers grew by a surprisingly strong 6.3% in January, showing the industry was able to successfully work around the shortage of ovens and ranges, according to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) data. The growth this January also is contrasted against a relatively weak January 2003, when manufacturers and dealers were worried about the impact on consumer confidence of the possibility of war with Iraq. Manufacturers were able to work around the oven shortage... Read more

Steeltex A/T Tires Recalled

February 27, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Bridgestone/Firestone has recalled 297,000 Steeltex Radial A/T tires that were original equipment on Ford Excursion SUVs. The Steeltex tires “are not performing up to the company’s expectations,” according to a statement by Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC. Steeltex tires also are the target of a lawsuit by a California motorhome owner who alleges five Steeltex tires disintegrated on his RV because the tire maker used substandard materials to make the tires. A California judge... Read more

Foretravel Paychecks Issued

February 27, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Highline motorcoach manufacturer Foretravel Motorhomes Inc. distributed employee payroll checks today (Feb. 27) after resolving a cash-flow interruption that delayed the payments by a day. Company President Ray Fore said “two or three” of the company’s customers did not take delivery of their motorhomes when the company anticipated. “Our schedules didn’t match,” Fore said, and, as a result, the firm had a temporary cash-flow problem. A memo distributed to Foretravel employees on Thursday... Read more

Oven Update: OEMs Back to Speed in 2 Mos.?

February 26, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

The RV oven shortage situation is improving week-by-week, but it appears the problem will continue to hamper RV production until April – possibly late April – according to two significant travel trailer/fifth-wheel producers. Jayco Inc. Marketing Director Sid Johnson and SunnyBrook RV Inc. Chairman and President Elvie Frey said gas RV ovens are arriving in greater numbers, but not fast enough to make much progress inserting the ovens into the hundreds of units their companies have completed. They... Read more

High Gas Prices Not Hurting Calif. Sales

February 26, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Gasoline prices have climbed above $2 a gallon and the cost of diesel fuel is not far behind in California, but, so far, RV sales have been unaffected, according to a dealership spokeswoman who was quoted by the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif. The reason is simple: RVs are driven to their destination and remain there for extended periods of time, so they do not burn that much gas or diesel fuel, said Mellanie Ingle, marketing director for Giant RV, a multilocation Southern California dealership. On... Read more

Steeltex Lawsuit Decision Delayed

February 26, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

A California state court judge now plans to rule on March 17 whether a lawsuit over the quality of Firestone Steeltex tires should become a class action case. Judge Christopher Sheldon decided to postpone the hearing scheduled for Wednesday (Feb. 25) because he wants Steeltex manufacturer, Bridgestone Americas, to file a shorter motion. Steeltex tires are standard equipment on 71 types of vehicles including RVs, ambulances and pickups, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit was filed by RV... Read more

RiverPark to Distribute VORAD

February 26, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

RiverPark Inc., Elkhart, Ind., has been named distributor of Eaton Corp.’s VORAD – vehicle on-board radio – series of products to the motorhome industry. RiverPark will work directly with RV manufacturers, including providing design and vehicle integration assistance, order management and technical service, to bring VORAD collision warning technology to the RV industry. The VORAD products, AlwaysAlert, BlindSpotter and SmartCruise, emit low-power, high-frequency radar signals from the front... Read more

Patrick Industries Names New Pres./CEO

February 26, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Patrick Industries Inc., Elkhart, Ind., has named Paul E. Hassler, until now its vice president of Western operations, as its new president and CEO. Hassler is a 17-year veteran at Patrick Industries, a supplier and distributor of materials and components to the manufacturing home and RV industries. He replaces Keith Kankel, who served as interim president and CEO since replacing David Lung, who resigned in October. Kankel, 60, a 30-year Patrick Industries employee, will remain with the company for... Read more

RVDA: Rentals to Grow 20%-30% in ’04

February 25, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Although shipments of new RVs from factories to dealerships are expected to grow at a moderate 2.9% rate this year, the RV rental sector is expected to grow somewhere between 20% and 30% this year, an amount that is consistent with rental sector growth the last few years, according to Phil Ingrassia, vice president of the national Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). “The growth should be seen all year long, not just during the traditional summer season,” Ingrassia said in an interview... Read more

Coast Distribution to be at Investor Conference

February 25, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Coast Distribution System Inc. will join two RV manufacturers and two RV industry supplier firms in making presentations Thursday (Feb. 26) during an institutional investors conference focusing on the RV industry. Coast Distribution Chairman and CEO Tim McGuire will give the company’s presentation during the Robins RV Roadshow, an Institutional Equity Conference, which will be webcast at and The conference will begin at 9 a.m. EST Thursday.... Read more

<i>RVtoday</i> Viewership Grows

February 25, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

RVtoday, the only regularly scheduled RV lifestyle show on U.S. television, started its fourth year in January with ratings more than double the start of last year. “In 2002 we had an average viewing audience in the neighborhood of 200,000 viewers a week,” reports John Martin, a senior vice president of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), owner and producer of RVtoday. The program is telecast on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) seven days a week and is available in 58 million homes. “When we first started... Read more

Steeltex Tire Recall Demanded

February 25, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

A California RV owner who believes Bridgestone/Firestone Steeltex tires are defective has gone to court seeking a recall of the tires, according to the Associated Press. The RV owner, Robert Littell of Cathedral City, wants his case to be made into a national class action lawsuit. A hearing on his request was scheduled for today in Indio. If Littell’s case becomes part of a class action, he will also seek a $1 billion reimbursement for the motorists who bought RVs, pickups, ambulances and other... Read more

KIT HomeBuilders West Focusing on Park Models

February 24, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

KIT HomeBuilders West LLC unveiled its first park models, the new Shamrock Park Homes series, for campground operators in the western U.S. during the California Travel Park Association’s Western Conference and Trade Show, which opened Monday (Feb. 23) in Portland, Ore., according to Woodall’s Campground Management, a sister publication of The gathering concludes Wednesday (Feb. 25). The 400-square-foot units, available in rustic cedar or with a high-end, tape-and-texture finish,... Read more

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