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Redwood RV Acquires Carriage Rights at Auction

All assets of Millersburg, Ind.-based Carriage Inc. were liquidated during the one-day auction.

On a snowy Indiana morning that was clouded with the past, the future emerged bright as Syracuse, Ind.-based Redwood RV, a division of Thor Industries Inc., purchased the brand names, trademarks and intellectual property of venerable RV manufacturer Carriage Inc. Tuesday (Feb. 21) during a court-ordered liquidation of Carriage assets.

Carriage, a luxury fifth-wheel manufacturer established in 1969, was ordered into liquidation following protracted discussions between company executives and its lenders, primarily PNC Bank out of Indianapolis. Ultimately, PNC filed suit Oct. 18 to take possession of Carriage, which reportedly owed the bank more than $5 million.

More than 700 bidders had reportedly registered with Ross, Ohio-based Myron Bowling Auctioneers Inc. for the one-day event. Bidding for the Carriage intangible assets was the high point of the event, which also included everything from lots of axles to finished fifth-wheels.

“It’s a historic brand, it’s been around for more than 40 years, and we think there’s a place for historical brands in this industry,” said Don Emahiser, president of both Redwood RV and Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV. “And we think we’re a company that’s up to the challenge of continuing its legacy.”

Items up for bid included a number of Carriage fifth-wheels in various stages of production.

Emahiser told RVBUSINESS.com that the Thor division had its eye on the Carriage brand since the former Millersburg, Ind., company had faltered last fall and it became evident that the intellectual property might become available.

“Once the company shut down, we knew the name would be available and, yes, there was an attraction there,” Emahiser noted. “But up until then, no, because Redwood’s been doing amazingly well.

“It’s (Carriage) a brand name we felt we could do something with — and if it became available, who better than us to carry on the tradition?

“But it wasn’t something we planned until Carriage went out of business.”

Emahiser said his own personal link to Carriage — he was president of the builder prior to moving to Thor two years ago and helping to establish Redwood — was an element in the decision to acquire the Carriage brand.

“Not only that,” he added, “but we have a lot of Carriage DNA throughout Redwood and CrossRoads. Likewise, the changes we have going on here have attracted people with Carriage in their background.

A mobile auction stand moved among equipment grouped into thousands of lots.

“We have, beyond myself, in other executive positions, group leaders, foremen, all the way down to entry-level spots. So we have a good amount of the carriage DNA here. When the brands became available to us it was almost a natural to try to make a play for them.”

According to Emahiser, there is no timetable or firm plans to announce when the Thor division will bring back the Carriage name, which was reportedly purchased for $100,000.

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Comments Disabled To "Redwood RV Acquires Carriage Rights at Auction"

#1 Comment By sw On February 22, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

will you be able to help Carraige owners find parts and or suppliers with parts to make repairs i have a 2011 carraige.

#2 Comment By Chris On February 22, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

Sad day to see a great name like Carriage be bought by Large corporation. But unfortunately we see a lot of this in the great Country.I know they only bought the name will have to wait and see what kind of product they build.It is Ironic that the person responsible for buying it also was a part of putting them where they are today.Feel the worst for the people who just bought a new unit like SW hopefully the dealer will see you through any problems.

#3 Comment By Dave On February 22, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

SW, have you looked at the Carriage Travel Club website? There is a forum with contacts for parts and suppliers.

#4 Comment By Vernon Rice On February 22, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

47 years in the RV business and I mean in every possible job that you could think of. I retail sold Carriage products for many years and always placed in the top 3 retail sales persons in the nation for Carriage products. I helped at about an 85% capacity rate design their venture into Class “C” motor homes. I was one of their longest running Advisory Board members, I worked for the factory itself. I left when the original buy out took place. I had been thru to many og those and knew what very well would happen somewhere down the road when “non” RV people get involved in trying to run a quality company like Carriage or any RV mfg. company.
I just hope Thor does not go into the mode of how many can we build today. We need more and more production numbers. I guess it is a wait and see.

#5 Comment By Dianne On February 22, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

Perhaps carriage customers should be reminded that not only did Carriage customers get blindsided when Carriage failed —-So did the dealers and for a whole lot more than the customers monetary wise – so not expecting the dealers to do warranty work for no charge Is not going to happen -nor should any Carriage customers expect them to do so I am sure they will help out where ever necessary but certainly NOT for no charge

#6 Comment By Steve On February 23, 2012 @ 9:43 am

sw- look for Lifestyle RV to help with your current Carriage. There aren’t a whole lot of Carriage specific pieces in your 2011, but they are going to be the closest thing to what you have…

#7 Comment By derick crouch On March 16, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

bought my first Carriage product in 2001.Well after 11 years of draging it across the US and living in it pretty much full time,it was time for a new trailer.I am proud to say i bought an 2012 Cameo,despite Carriage’s financial problem i didnt bat an eye.My opinion they are hands down the finest trailer built,and i am sure it will be as good of a unit as the last.