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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

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