Editor’s Note: Venerable fifth-wheel builder NuWa Industries Inc. has posted the following letter on its website from CEO Michael Mitchell stating that the Chanute, Kan., builder will not be accepting “to build” orders for its HitchHiker series after Sept. 15 as sales are not supporting production costs. Mitchell said that NuWa, founded in 1969, would continue to sell new units and is considering using another company for “limited” manufacturing. In the letter, Mitchell indicated he was not sure whether the production shutdown would be permanent or temporary.
The number of “build” orders being taken by NuWa is not supporting efficiency of the production department. Rather than continue to fund and operate the production department at a loss, I have made the decision to “not” accept “to build” orders after Sept. 15. The intent is to complete orders “in house” by Christmas, as the winter months of January, February and March do not provide enough production activity to justify retaining production staff. Whether this termination of production is temporary or permanent, I do not yet know, but our experience so far is that we cannot generate enough new unit sales to support efficient or break-even production. This decision goes against management’s desire to retain jobs for our dedicated employees and our community, but shareholders cannot continue to fund the production inefficiencies.
NuWa is committed to and will continue to provide retail sales of new and used HitchHIkers and other high-end fifth-wheel brands. We continue to explore having limited HitchHiker models produced to our specifications by another high-end manufacturer. An inventory of 40-plus new HitchHikers is “in stock” at NuWa and affiliated dealers, and we feel our staff better meets the needs of full time and serious fifth-wheel RVers than do most dealers. We will continue to provide warranty and parts and hope to expand the service department, which is known for quality and value. Refurbishment of used HitchHikers will continue to provide exceptional used units to the marketplace and more emphasis will be placed on purchase and/or consignment of high-end fifth-wheels from customers, who wish to sell their trailer. But if you want a new HitchHiker built exactly to your specifications, that order needs to be in place quickly or we will respectfully not accept it. We will accept orders only as long as we feel they can be completed by Christmas or before, and our present lead time is running 12 weeks.