Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Make / Models :
BLUE BIRD / MICRO BIRD
Manufacturer : BLUE BIRD BODY COMPANY
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 05V535000
Mfg's Report Date : NOV 21, 2005
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 9
Summary: CERTAIN 2006 MY BLUE BIRD MICROBIRD SCHOOL BUSES EQUIPPED WITH A WHEELCHAIR LIFT MANUFACTURED FROM JULY 1 AND NOVEMBER 14, 2005. THE SHIFT INTERLOCK SYSTEM WAS NOT INSTALLED DURING PRODUCTION WHICH FAILS TO CONFORM TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NOS. 403, "PLATFORM LIFT SYSTEMS FOR MOTOR VEHICLES, AND 404, "PLATFORM LIFT INSTALLATIONS IN MOTOR VEHICLES."
Consequence: THE MANUFACTURED HAS NOT YET PROVIDED A DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSEQUENCE.
Remedy: BLUE BIRD WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND REPAIR THE BUSES BY INSTALLING THE REQUIRED SHIFT INTERLOCK SYSTEM FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON DECEMBER 7, 2005. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT BLUE BIRD AT 478-822-2242.
Make / Models :
COTTRELL / C-9ENC
Manufacturer : COTTRELL, INC.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 05V534000
Mfg's Report Date : NOV 16, 2005
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 38
Summary: ON CERTAIN CAR HAUL TRAILERS EQUIPPED WITH ROOFS THAT RAISE AND LOWER, THE ROOF IS ATTACHED TO A RAISING/LOWERING MECHANISM BY BRACKETS THAT ARE FASTENED TO THE ROOF. THESE BRACKETS MAY EXPERIENCE HIGH STRESS DURING THE PROCESS OF SEATING THE ROOF IN THE DOWN POSITION, AND THAT THE FASTENERS USED TO SECURE THE ROOF TO THE BRACKETS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND THOSE STRESSES.
Consequence: THE ROOF MIGHT SEPARATE FROM THE TRAILER AND A CRASH COULD OCCUR OR PROPERTY DAMAGE.
Remedy: DEALERS WILL INSPECT AND REPAIR ALL FOUR CORNERS OF THE HEAD-RAMP AND THE TRAILER. ALL THREE CUSTOMERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND 36 OUT OF 38 TRAILERS HAVE BEEN REPAIRED. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT COTTRELL AT 770-532-7251.
Monday, November 21, 2005
CHINOOK IN RECEIVERSHIP
Trail Wagons-Chinook Properties has defaulted on a $4 million bank loan, prompting a judge to remove the owner from control in mid-October and put the Washington state company into receivership, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported. The company, which includes the recreational vehicle assembly plant and Chinook Business Park, is owned by Yakima businessman and developer Gary Lukehart. Trail Wagons, which once employed more than 162 people, has numerous judgments against it in Yakima County Superior Court, according to the paper. The lot at its manufacturing facility, once full of cutaway van chassis, is empty and the company is "not in an operating mode," said Michael Morales, the city's economic and community affairs specialist. Lukehart did not return calls from the Herald-Republic requesting comment for the Nov. 19 article. However, when contacted by RVBUSINESS.com today (Nov. 21), a representative of Trail Wagons said "the company is going through a sale and is not in receivership." The company declined further comment. Chinook RV, a division of Trail Wagons Inc. and a manufacturer of relatively short Class C motorhomes, got its start in 1961 as Chinook RV Camper Vans in the garage of Don Lukehart Sr. An avid enthusiast of outdoor camping frustrated with the lack of mobile campers available on the market, Lukehart first went to work with his son, Gary, on converting a Chevrolet Corvair into a "mini camper" that wound up "revolutionizing the RV industry," according to the company. The natural result of that line in 1971 was the "Concourse," featuring the first one-piece fiberglass body and carrying a lifetime guarantee. That led to the latest Chinook products – streamlined C-bodies that foreshadowed the latest "B-Plus" motorhome trend – that were marketed as "the ultimate two-person coaches." The line includes a glitzy, 6-wheel-drive, West Coast-style Baja edition, an all-terrain vehicle that drew lots of media attention in recent years. The company had been doing its own paint/graphics work and built its own cabinetry at the Yakima facility. A high-profile developer, Gary Lukehart announced big plans a year ago for Vineyard's Gate, an open-air shopping center. So far, the land is still bare. He's chairman of the Yakima Valley visitors and Convention Bureau and is the man behind the "Welcome to Yakima, the Palm Springs of Washington" sign on Interstate 82. One indication that Lukehart is reorganizing his holdings was the recent sale of his Gateway Center shopping plaza for $17.5 million, according to county property transfer records. But Trail Wagons was considered his biggest economic development success because it paid family-wage jobs and appeared to be riding the wave of the RV boom. A former high-level manager of Trail Wagons said in recently filed court documents that he was let go last March and that the company still owes him money. "The financial demise of Trail Wagons has been a sad and tragic thing for many employees and their families, including my family," Paul Comisky, former vice president and general manager, wrote in September to an attorney for one of the creditors, Mohawk Carpet. In his letter, Comisky said he used personal funds to make payroll twice last winter. Comisky declined to comment Friday. The newspaper reported that city officials said Trail Wagons began downsizing in early 2005. Wells Fargo Bank was the original lender to Trail Wagons-Chinook Properties, but the loan was later sold to investors. Their trustee, LaSalle Bank of Chicago, sought the receivership to protect their assets. According to court records, Trail Wagons-Chinook quit making payments in May, defaulted in June and still owes $3.6 million in principal plus interest and penalties. The receiver doesn't have the authority to liquidate the business, according to the judge's order, but it does have direct management control of the property and employees, along with bank accounts and other operations. Receivership is not bankruptcy. Trail Wagons received a low-interest loan of $2.45 million in 2003. The money was a grant by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency to the city of Yakima, which in turn made the funds available for an expansion at Trail Wagons. Morales said the balance on the loan is about $2.4 million. He said it will be repaid to HUD if the property is sold.
INVESTORS OFFER TO BUY NATIONAL RV
Investors B. Riley & Co., SACC Partners and Robert B. Lee, who own with their affiliates about 15 percent of National R.V. Holdings Inc., have offered to buy the rest of the company for $6.25 per share cash plus the assumption of debt, or a total of about $92 million.
Shares of the motor-homes maker closed at $5.71 on the New York Stock Exchange. Based on this, the offer represents a premium of about 9.5 percent.
The group noted that the offer represents a 13 percent premium over the closing price on Friday and a premium of about 27 percent to the average closing price for National R.V. shares over the past 30 trading days.
Robert Lee, the founder and chairman emeritus National R.V. Holdings, controls about 5.73 percent of the company. SACC Partners, an affiliate of investment banking firm B. Riley & Co., owns with its affiliates another 9.15 percent of the company.
The investors made their offer to the National R.V.'s board through a newly formed entity, CC Acquisition Group Inc.
The offer is subject to financing and contemplates the negotiation and execution of a binding agreement before Dec. 31. In addition, a sufficient number of managers must remain with the company following the transaction.