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Coon: New ‘Stars’ Will Surface in RV Industry

May 7, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Despite the RV industry’s current setbacks, new companies have been surfacing to replace some of those lost to the recession over the past two years, Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), told state campground association leaders during the recent National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) 2009 National Issues  Conference in Washington, D.C.

“As bad as it looks for some of the traditional names (manufacturers),” Coon said, “there will be other stars two years from now. It’s hard to predict who, but this is how this country operates. Existing companies are not sitting still. Some of the guys are adding new product, and they are moving forward.”

Coon, in reviewing the industry’s current status with a Power Point presentation, said that in addition to tight retail and wholesale credit, shaky consumer confidence has rocked the industry.

“The consumer used to be rich and now he wonders if he’s going to have enough to survive,” Coon said. “People are worried about whether thy are going to have a job.”

Although the association still has 91 manufacturer members, he added, the entire RV industry is going through a shakeup with 17 RV companies dropped from the association in recent months.

Coon told the assembled state campground association leaders that they need to consider wider sites because of RVIA’s decision to allow members to build fifth-wheels up to 430 square feet in the setup mode, along with the advent of telescoping slideouts.

“Manufacturers are going to build what the consumers want,” he said. “I’m sure it’s become a pain for a lot of the older campgrounds, especially where you put your utilities. But that part’s not going to get better; it’s going to get worse.”

The industry’s Go RVing marketing expansion campaign’s media budget has been cut to $3.5 million this year — down from a high of about $15.5 million in 2007 — because of declining RVIA seal sales which finance the program, Coon reported.


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Rep. Donnelly Sees RV Recovery on Horizon

May 1, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., whose district includes northern Indiana’s RV manufacturing area, expects that Navistar International Corp. will begin building recreational vehicles again in factories closed by Monaco Coach Corp.

Speaking to the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) 2009 National Issues Conference April 28-29 at the newly opened National Visitor Center on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Donnelly added that he’s confident that RV sales will pick up when credit markets stabilize and the U.S. economy recover.

“We were encouraged by the fact that Navistar is going to be picking up Monaco Coach,” Donnelly told state campground association leaders. “It’s not all official yet, but it looks like they will be manufacturing again in Elkhart County (Ind.)

Monaco filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, and Navistar, which had partnered with Monaco manufacturing chassis in Elkhart, Ind., has offered $52 million to purchase most of Monaco’s RV manufacturing assets, including factories in Indiana and Oregon. In addition, if the deal is finalized by June 1, Navistar will acquire all brands, intellectual property, inventories and equipment relating to Monaco’s product lines.

Donnelly told the campground association leaders that when the RV industries turns around, there will be more demand than ever for places to take RVs.

“There is going to be demand for these products and they have to go someplace,” the Democrat told the RV park and campground operators. “Where they go in so many places is your businesses. You are the heart and soul of the American dream.”

Donnelly, who serves on the Capital Markets Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, said Congress is doing its best to stabilized the American economy.

“We are getting closer on the credit market,” Donnelly said. “With home mortgages, the `liar loans’ are gone and the crazy adjustable rates that changed every three months, they’re going too. We’re back to basics, but we’re a lot better off for it. We will be a lot more solid because of it.”

Donnelly said he is co-sponsor of legislation that attempts to deal with the speculative run-up of crude oil prices that sent gasoline prices over $4 a gallon last summer.

“I’m no clairvoyant, but much of what happened to prices was done on speculation,” he said. “We sat there day after day watching demand continue to go down as prices continued to go up.

“And what we saw was that (investment banker) Morgan Stanley was one of the world’s largest owners of petroleum. What was clearly going on was price manipulation.”

Donnelly said that legislation pending the House Agriculture Committee would require that buyers of petroleum futures contracts have the facilities to store the oil they buy.

“(That means) if someone has a million-gallon contract, they have to be able to store a million gallons,” Donnelly said. “That’s how it was until 1999. That’s what we are trying to get back to now. That would make it a fair market and an appropriate market.”

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RV Stocks Soar in Massive Wall Street Rally

March 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Wall Street is soaring, propelling the Dow Jones industrials up nearly 500 points, as investors get the good news they want on the economy’s biggest problems: banks and housing. 

Investors have reignited a two-week rally, cheering the government’s plan to help banks remove bad assets from their books. They’re also pleased with a report showing a surprising increase in existing home sales last month, according to Associated Press

The stocks of public companies engaged in the RV industry that are traded on major markets rode the rally, enjoying their best day in months. 

Winnebago Industries Inc. rose 15.9%, Thor Industries Inc. rose 13.5%, Drew Industries Inc. rose 16.9%, Skyline Corp. rose 10%, Patrick Industries Inc. rose 5.5%, Spartan Motors Inc. rose 8.3% and Flexsteel Industries Inc. rose 1.4%. 

Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust that serves the campground industry, rose a whopping $5.50 a share to close up 14.9%. 

The Dow closed up more than 497 points, its best day in more than four months. 

The Treasury Department’s bad asset cleanup program would tap money from the government’s $700 billion financial rescue fund and also involve help from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the participation of private investors. The housing report, meanwhile, is overwhelmingly positive because it’s a sign that the glut in homes for sale may be easing.

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