Smith Steers Fleetwood Through Downsizing

April 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Learning how to negotiate a 40-foot motorhome along a city street takes a steady hand, a watchful eye and usually results in scrapes and dents along the way. Steering a motorhome company takes all that and more. For 66-year-old Elden Smith, who abandoned retirement two years ago this month for the top job at Riverside, Calif.-based Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., the road has been rougher than expected. The Press Enterprise reported that the market for the company’s major products – motorhomes,... Read more

Hertzke, RVs Spotlighted in <i>N.Y. Times</i> Q&A

April 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an interview with Winnebago Industries Inc. Chairman and CEO Bruce Hertzke that appeared in Saturday’s (April 28) New York Times. Hertzke spoke about the industry’s wide range of customers, about feeling the pain of high gas prices and how some people save the fancy trimmings for their RV instead of their house. Q. What is your biggest month for sales? A. Actually, it’s more so the whole season, not a single month. The spring and summer periods have always... Read more

Market Pressures Hurt Patrick Industries 1Q

April 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Weak demand in the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries dragged down Patrick Industries Inc.’s first-quarter results as the supplier reported a net loss on lower sales. The Elkhart, Ind.-based company reported a first-quarter net loss of $600,000 compared with net income of $0.7 million a year ago. Sales during the period, ended March 31, fell to $78.1 million from $89.3 million the year prior. “The downturn in our two largest markets negatively impacted our sales in the... Read more

Report: Consumer Spending Sluggish in March

April 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Consumer spending rose at the slowest rate in five months in March while construction activity managed only a tiny gain, weighed down by further weakness in housing. The Associated Press reported that the Commerce Department said Monday (April 30) that consumer spending on all items was up 0.3% last month, the slowest increase since a similar rise in October. Incomes rose by 0.7%, the fourth straight solid month of income growth. Spending on building projects edged up a slight 0.2% in March as strength... Read more

Thor Recognized by <i>Fortune</i> for Performance

April 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Thor Industries Inc. announced today (April 30) that it was recognized by Fortune magazine in the publications’ rankings for the motor vehicle and parts category. The Jackson Center, Ohio-based builder rated in the top two among 28 companies in several performance areas, including: • First out of 28 companies in the earnings per share growth and in profits as a percentage over a 10-year period, 1996 through 2006 • Second in average total return to investors over 10 years (27%) • Second in... Read more

Crane Co. Grows 1Q Income, Noble to Expand

April 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Diversified manufacturer Crane Co. reported that first-quarter net income grew 17%, helped by acquisitions, as well as higher sales in all divisions. Crane Co. is parent to RV sidewall and panel suppliers Crane Composites Inc., Channahon, Ill., and Goshen, Ind.-based Noble Composites Inc., which it acquired in September 2006. For the first quarter, ended March 31, Crane Co. showed net income of $43.6 million compared with $37.4 million a year ago while revenue rose 14% to $628.2 million from $549.4... Read more

Drew Industries Reports Dip in 1Q Sales, Profits

April 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Higher material costs and market weakness contributed to a first-quarter decline in sales and revenue for Drew Industries Inc., parent to recreational vehicle and manufactured housing suppliers Lippert Components Inc. and Kinro Inc. The White Plains, N.Y.-based company reported that net income fell to $9.6 million from $10.2 million the year prior while sales declined 17% to $173 million from $208 million. Drew noted that the sales decrease was, in part, due to $20 million of hurricane-related sales... Read more

Couple Launches ‘Park Model Living’ Magazine

April 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

As Peter “Frank” Gauthier traveled the country for five years installing wireless Internet connections in RV parks, he became intrigued by the growing number of park models he would see at these facilities. Gauthier, 59, fell in love with the idea of park model living and spent a season living in one in an Arizona campground. He tried to learn more about them, but was perplexed by the lack of information available on the Internet about park models. From that sprang the idea for a new magazine,... Read more

RVIA Sending Trade Mission to China in August

April 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has accepted an invitation to lead a trade mission to China in August to participate in the China Sports and Recreation Show in Shanghai. “They want to introduce us to people who are interested in partnering with American companies for their home market,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “They think there is a big market for RVs in China. This is not about exporting RVs to the U.S.” The thought of doing OEM business right now with the Chinese,... Read more

‘RV City’ Gains Residents at Talladega Raceway

April 27, 2007 by · 1 Comment 

Tim Knight has just two weeks of vacation each year, and he spends them both in his RV just outside Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway, according to a report the Birmingham News. Each April and October, he returns to the first spot on the right at the private Talladega RV Park, builds a big cinder-block fire pit and starts reconnecting with friends. In fact, Knight, a 36-year-old computer network engineer from Huntsville, said he enjoys being here as much as in the stands. “It’s become... Read more

Economic Growth Slows During First Quarter

April 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Economic growth slowed to a near crawl of 1.3% in the first three months of 2007, the worst performance in four years. The main culprit: the housing slump. The Associated Press reported that the fresh reading on gross domestic product, released by the Commerce Department on Friday (April 27), was even weaker than the 2.5% growth rate logged in the final three months of last year. The new figures underscored just how much momentum the economy has been losing as it copes with the strain of the troubled... Read more

Fleetwood Debuts Entry-level Ranger/Sport ‘C’

April 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., Riverside, Calif., has added an entry-level Class C model for 2008 – the Tioga Ranger/Jamboree Sport. Available in four 25- to 31-foot floorplans – one with a single slideout – Ranger/Sport is built on a 14,050-GVWR Ford E-450 Super Duty cutaway chassis or optional Workhorse Chevy platform. “We are confident that these new value-price motorhomes will raise the bar for this price segment,” said Paul Eskritt, executive vice president of Fleetwood’s RV Group.... Read more

Wholesale Shipments Decline 14.5% in March

April 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

March shipments of minimotorhomes, travel trailers and fifth-wheels incurred double-digit declines as overall wholesale deliveries fell 14.5% from a year ago. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), March shipments decreased to 37,100 units compared with 43,400 in 2006. For the first three months, shipments dropped 15.6% to 93,600 units from 110,900 the previous year. The travel trailer market extended its downturn in March, falling 18.7% with 18,700 units delivered compared... Read more

Weak Marketplace Impacts Monaco 1Q Results

April 26, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

A challenging environment marked by higher gas prices and lower consumer confidence slowed sales in all business segments as Monaco Coach Corp. reported a decline in earnings and revenue for its first quarter, ended March 31. Sales during the three-month period totaled $322.2 million, down 16.3% compared with $385.1 million a year ago while net income fell to $1.5 million from $8.3 million. First-quarter towable sales dropped 39%, in part due to $26.8 million in FEMA sales during the first quarter... Read more

Ontario Park Owners Battle Trailer Assessments

April 26, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Private campground owners in Ontario, Canada are calling for the resignation of Richard F. Stephenson as chairman of the Assessment Review Board (ARB). According to a press release, Stephenson has denied campground owners the right to appeal assessments of “seasonal” trailers in the province. Stephenson has been in the position since 2004. “Campground owners have been fighting the wrongful assessment of seasonal trailers for more than 30 years,” explains Mark Lowell, president of... Read more

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