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Forest River Opens Tsunami Plant

February 19, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Forest River Inc., President Pete Liegl opted to move cautiously and deliberately with the rollout of the Tsunami, the company’s first-ever entry in the high-end diesel Class A motorhome market, since the coach’s introduction by the Elkhart, Ind., manufacturer three years ago. In the past year, however, that pace quickened as Liegl moved into the next phase with the Tsunami by acquiring a 100,000-square-foot plant in Elkhart specifically for diesel motorized production. John Cunningham, brought... Read more

Statistical Surveys December Numbers Incomplete

February 19, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent market research firm Statistical Surveys Inc. has concluded that several states supplied it with incomplete motorhome retail sales numbers for December, which resulted in figures that made the market appear softer than it was. Consequently, Statistical Surveys now believes the best way to analyze the motorhome market is to compare its entire 2003 numbers with its 2002 figures, according to Tom Walworth, the company’s president. Statistical Surveys reports Class A motorhome retail sales... Read more

Spartan’s Sales, Earnings Decline

February 19, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Spartan Motors Inc. reported lower fourth-quarter and full-year sales and earnings for 2003 because of investments made to improve its fire-truck and ambulance operations, according to John Sztykiel, president and CEO. “From a pure financial perspective, 2003 was not a great year, just a good year,” Sztykiel said. “However, it was critical for us to focus on building the foundation and improving our operations from a long-term perspective.” Specifically, Spartan’s net earnings declined... Read more

Monaco Learned Its Lessons

February 19, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Although Monaco Coach Corp. was profitable each quarter last year, its business suffered around the time of the U.S.-Iraq war, forcing it to lay off about 15% of its work force in Indiana and Oregon. But Chairman and CEO Key Toolson said the leading diesel pusher Class A motorhome manufacturer learned its lessons from last year and has taken steps to avoid a repeat the next time the economy softens, according to The Oregonian of Portland, Ore. Although Monaco hired more workers and increased its... Read more

Atwood Finds New Thermostat Supplier

February 18, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Atwood Mobile products has found a supplier of mercury-free thermostats for RV ovens and ranges which could help bring the current shortage of RV ovens and ranges to an end a little sooner than expected. Atwood, a unit of DURA Automotive Systems Inc., revealed earlier this week it was building a line of RV ovens and ranges that doesn’t rely on traditional mercury thermostats and other components from the Harper-Wyman unit of Appliance Controls Group. No specific time frame for an end to the... Read more

Chariot Eagle Operating at Capacity

February 18, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Although sales of recreational park trailers in the U.S. and Canada declined 7% in 2003, Ocala, Fla., park model builder Chariot Eagle Inc., is operating at capacity, according to the Ocala Star-Banner. “We can’t build any more than we’re building now without expanding,” said Robert Holliday, Chariot Eagle’s president. “This is probably the best year in the 19 years I’ve been in the business.” Chariot Eagle is building at a rate of more than 800 units a year in Ocala and about 350... Read more

New Atwood Ovens Won’t Require Changes

February 18, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

The new line of RV ovens and ranges being built by Atwood Mobile Products will not require RV manufacturers to alter their floorplans or make technical changes to accommodate them, according to Larry Lebryk, Atwood’s international sales manager. The new Atwood ovens and ranges, built without Harper-Wyman components, will be “marginally” more expensive than those including Harper-Wyman parts, Lebryk said. The new Atwood models, using components from seven different suppliers, including two located... Read more

Hart City Joins Holiday Holdings

February 18, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Hart City RV Supercenter of Elkhart, Ind., and Crown RV of Ventura, Calif., have joined the Holiday Holdings LLC dealership alliance, Holiday Holdings President Marcus Lemonis announced. Holiday Holdings Regional President John Mancinelli, a former Camping World executive, negotiated the deal to bring Hart City into the alliance, Lemonis said. Hart City, with $40 million in annual sales, likely is the Elkhart area’s largest RV dealership, successfully promoting its short distance from the manufacturing... Read more

Big Dealers’ Inventories Slightly Smaller

February 17, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Either the RV oven shortage or conservative inventory management practices explain why large dealerships carried smaller new RV unit inventories, at least in dollar terms, as of late December, according to Spader Business Management data. However, midsize and small dealerships had bigger new RV unit inventories, in dollar terms, as of Dec. 31, Spader also reports. At large dealerships, those with at least $10 million in annual sales, new RV unit inventories were at $3,925,389, or 1.2% smaller, as... Read more

National RV Returns to Profitability

February 17, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

National RV Holdings Inc. returned to profitability during the fourth quarter, posting a net income of $475,000, thanks largely to a 62% increase in sales revenue during the October-through-December period. “Higher production and sales levels coupled with continued improvements in efficiency in the fourth quarter were key factors leading to improved gross profits and a positive net income,” said Brad Albrechtsen, president and CEO. “Given our current product demand, we expect to continue to... Read more

Myers Plans Two Acquisitions

February 17, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Myers Industries Inc., a supplier of plastic tanks and other polymer products to the RV industry, announced today (Feb. 17) its planned to acquire two auto industry suppliers: Michigan Rubber Products Inc. (MRP) and WEK Industries Inc. WEK, a manufacturer of engineered plastic blow-molded components, also supplies the motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) markets. WEK’s product offerings include: HVAC ducts; toolboxes; reserve tanks and air-induction tubing and components. WEK is capable of... Read more

Fleetwood to Build El Monte Rental Units

February 17, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. will build a total of 410 Class A and Class C motorhomes for rental firm El Monte RV, an order valued at around $21 million, the two firms announced today (Feb. 17). Fleetwood will recognize the revenue from the El Monte order during its fourth fiscal quarter, which will end in late April. El Monte Fleetwood order has increased 52% compared with the same period a year ago. The reason is because El Monte anticipates a robust rental market this summer because of the dollar’s... Read more

National RV’s Gas Shipments Doubled

February 17, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

The National RV division of National RV Holdings Inc. saw its shipments of gas engine Class A motorhomes more than double during the fourth quarter of last year, the company reported today (Feb. 17). A total 436 National RV gas Class A’s were shipped to dealers during the October-through-December period, s 126% increase over the 193 delivered in the final three months of 2002. Shipments of National RV and Country Coach division diesel engine Class A’s also increased a robust 35% during the three... Read more

Converters Quit Over Warranty Coverage

February 16, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Several van-conversion companies, including some of the largest, left the industry when the domestic auto companies required them to provide three-year, 36,000-mile warranties on their work, according to an executive at Behlmann Pontiac & GMC, the St. Louis, Mo.-area dealership. The warranty requirement made conversion-vehicle manufacturers “stand behind their product,” but, apparently, that led many owners to abandon the industry because of the added financial risk, said Jim Mager, assistant... Read more

Large Dealers Earn Big Profits

February 16, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

Large RV dealers enjoyed really big profit growth in 2003 compared with 2002, according to consultant firm Spader Business Management. Small dealers, which Spader defines as having less than $5 million in annual sales, experienced a modest 3.6% increase in net earnings to $137,510 in 2003, compared with $132,763 in 2002. It was the large dealers, those with more than $10 million in annual sales, who watched their profits expand like a balloon. Their net earnings increased by 38.6% last year to an... Read more

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