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Forbes: Katrina Boosting Demand for RVs

August 31, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

A soft retail market has slowed recreational vehicle sales this year and caused many manufacturers to cut back on production, according to report by Forbes. But now, sales may get a boost – and it’s from Hurricane Katrina. Like contractors who get paid to rebuild homes and buildings, RV makers figure to get a shot in the arm, as new customers looking for temporary housing and a home-based escape route for the next disaster start lining up. Indeed, trade association officials project as many... Read more

Survey Predicts Heavy Labor Day RV Travel

August 31, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite the current fuel price run-up, RVers are enthusiastic heading into the Labor Day weekend. Nearly seven out of ten RV owners surveyed in a March 2005 poll conducted by Robert Hitlin Research Associates said they would use their vehicles more this summer compared to last year; approximately half expect to travel more total miles; and about a fourth of respondents plan to use their vehicles the same amount. Only about 4% plan to use their vehicles less. Those numbers are holding up according... Read more

Fleetwood Reorganizes Management Team

August 31, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s RV Group has undergone a major reorganization that decentralized management of its motorhome and travel trailer divisions in Riverside, Calif., and folding camping trailer division in Somerset, Pa. “We can push the decision-making down further in the organization and be more nimble and react quicker to changes in the marketplace,” said Chris Braun, RV Group executive vice president. The reorganization follows the March return of retired Fleetwood executive... Read more

Gulf Stream Rolls Out FEMA Unit Production

August 31, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Nappanee, Ind.-based Gulf Stream Coach Inc. has already launched production of emergency housing units – RVs specially equipped for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – for housing evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. And the company is hiring additional employees to ramp up production. “We are producing units for FEMA already, and we were able to switch production like a light switch overnight since we’ve done this for so many years,” said Brian Shea, head of motorized... Read more

RV Stocks Rise During Wednesday’s Trading

August 31, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

News of heightened demand for travel trailers earmaked for Hurricane Katrina victims appears to have spurred higher stock prices today (Aug. 31) for some of the recreational vehicle industry’s publicly traded companies. Possibly contributing to the ramp up in stock prices was a Forbes article addressing the industry’s potential for coming to the aid of hurricane victims with thousands of travel trailers specially built for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Also circulating was... Read more

FEMA May Need 40,000 Trailers for Victims

August 30, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

For the next few days, federal help to Katrina-ravaged areas of the Gulf Coast will be a matter of life and death. According to a Knight Ridder report, it’s a “golden 72 hours” with the clock ticking for dramatic rescues of people stuck in high water or trapped in rubble. After that, a long rebuilding process, including supplying an estimated 40,000 travel trailers and other temporary housing to the homeless, begins in earnest. The reconstruction after Katrina likely will be the... Read more

RVers Flee Katrina, Camp at Fair Grounds

August 30, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Recreational vehicles jammed the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport as Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast Monday (Aug. 29), according to a report in the Shreveport Tribune. Many of the RVers, including Bobby and Betty Vega, were making calls to check on the status of their homes after the storm passed. “My house is still there,” Bobby Vega said. “Trees are down, (telephone) poles are down, and our fence is beaten up, but there’s no water damage. So,... Read more

Thor Listed Among Forbes’ Top Mid-caps

August 30, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Thor Industries Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, was recently ranked No. 15 out of the 100 Best Mid-cap Stocks by Forbes Magazine. Forbes defines mid-cap companies as having a market capitalization between $1 billion and $4 billion. During the past year, Thor reached a high of $37.99 per share and a low of $25.10 per share. For the first nine months of fiscal 2005, ended April 30, revenue was $1.9 billion, up 21% from $1.56 billion in the same period a year earlier.  Read More →

Testing Yields 316 Certified RV Technicians

August 30, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Some 316 dealership and manufacturer employees will be certified as service technicians or receive master’s certificates as a result of testing in July. “The letters with their scores went out (this month),” said Jerry Balda, director of education for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Tests by the RVDA/RVIA Certification Board were given to 429 people July 16 at 43 independent sites nationwide. Seventy-four percent – or 316 people – passed the test, while 111... Read more

Storm Damage Could Cause Ripple Effect

August 30, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Hurricanes and other natural disasters rarely have a large and long-lasting effect on the economy, but Katrina could be an exception. While most storms have only a regional impact, Katrina could be the rare beast that has national or even international consequences, according to CBS MarketWatch. “There is a real sense of foreboding about the economy now that Katrina has struck with full force,” said Bernard Baumohl, executive director of Economic Outlook Group. “The Louisiana and... Read more

Winnebago Announces Cuts, 171 Laid Off

August 29, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Industries Inc. has laid off 4.5% of its workforce at its four Iowa plants, blaming a softening recreational vehicle market. According to the Quad City Times, the Forest City-based motorhome marker announced the layoffs earlier this month, but officials didn’t know how many workers would be affected. Spokeswoman Kelli Harms said 171 workers were laid off. A handful of layoffs happened in the past few weeks, but most took place on Friday (Aug. 26). The majority were at the company’s... Read more

Louisiana Parks Harbor Katrina Evacuees

August 29, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

RV sites have been made available for evacuees in northeastern Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina came ashore this morning (Aug. 29) bearing a category 4 rating and packing over 100 mile-per-hour wind gusts. According to the Shreveport Times, with hotel rooms booked up, several RV parks and municipalities were offering accommodations to RVers fleeing the storm. The newspaper reported that the Hamilton Exposition Center in West Monroe has 186 RV spots going for $15 a night with electrical, sewage and... Read more

RV Rental Companies Enjoy Strong Year

August 29, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

The impact of high gasoline prices has bypassed the recreational vehicle rental market, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Rentals by Americans are up 22% this year over 2004, said Bob Calderone, assistant vice president of marketing for Cruise America in Mesa, Ariz., which claims to be the largest RV rental company in North America. More foreign visitors also are grabbing the wheel, he said, many inspired by favorable euro-to-dollar exchange rates. Competitor El Monte RV, based in Santa... Read more

Monaco’s ’06 Coaches Feature ‘Panaview’

August 29, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

With the exception of the Safari Trek, Monaco Coach Corp. has outfitted all of its Class A motorhomes – gas-powered and diesel alike – with one-piece windshields for 2006. “We call it Panaview,” said Mike Snell, vice president of sales and marketing for the Coburg, Ore., motorized and towable manufacturer. “It gives an unobstructed view and allows us to park the windshield wipers off the window. Cars went away from two-piece windshields back in the ’50s. It’s about time that... Read more

Katrina Threatens Production of Crude Oil

August 29, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 

Crude oil topped $70 a barrel, setting a new all-time high, as Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc Monday (Aug. 29) and threatened production in the Gulf of Mexico. According to CBS MarketWatch, crude prices eased off their peak levels to close just over $1 higher, on speculation of a possible release by President Bush from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and reports that OPEC is considering a hike in production when it meets in September. However, concerns about output in the region may outweigh any... Read more

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