Saturday, October 25, 2008



Greg Gerber of RV Industry News

CALDWELL, Idaho -- RV manufacturer Extreme RV has shut its doors, RV Industry News has learned.

The factory had laid of all but a handful of people a few weeks ago, according to one dealer in the Pacific Northwest, and now those employees appear to be out of jobs as well.

"We have been unable to reach anyone in the office for several days," the dealer explained.

In the last conversation she had with the company, another dealer learned that the firm was no longer honoring its warranty, nor was it making parts available to dealers. "I was supposed to take a unit into the factory for repair," she said. "When I finally got through to someone, he explained the firm was shutting down and that they weren't providing warranty work for anyone."

Nobody answered the phone at Extreme RV's offices when RV Industry News has tried to call since Wednesday. Messages left with one of the business' key partners were not returned.

Friday, October 24, 2008



570 News

Almost 200 people have been laid off from a Kitchener plant that makes RV's.

Roadtrek sent 180 employees home yesterday from the Shirley Avenue plant.
High fuel prices, the credit crunch, and the lack of spending by consumers get the blame.

Company officials say workers will be called back once conditions improve.

Roadtrek chairman Jeff Hanemaayer anticipates the layoff will last one to two months.

The layoff leaves about 20 workers at the plant



Jeff Crider
RV Business
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two upscale RV resorts developed by Monaco Coach Corp.’s Signature Resorts subsidiary were slated to open this fall in Michigan and Florida, according to Randall Henderson, Signature’s president.

The properties include the 125-site Motorcoach Resort at Bay Harbor, Mich., and the 184-site Naples Motorcoach Resort in Florida. RV sites at the Bay Harbor resort were being marketed at prices ranging from $129,000 to $219,000, while sites at the Naples park were listed at $200,000 to $350,000.

Henderson, who earns a salary and commissions as president of Signature Resorts, told RVBusiness that he readily concedes he’s concerned about selling high-end RV sites given the country’s current economic malaise and faltering consumer confidence levels. But he’s also quick to point out that there continues to be a shortage of upscale RV resorts across the country and he said Kay Toolson, Monaco chairman, president and CEO, should be given some credit for trying to provide better accommodations for buyers of today’s highline RVs.

“For every site we’re building right now, 10 are being taken off the market,” Henderson said. He cited the Florida market in particular, where developers have recently purchased more than 40 campgrounds with the idea of converting the properties to other uses. He also cited Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties, which he said has been buying up RV resorts and converting some of its parks’ transient RV sites into park model sites.

Henderson also noted that many of today’s RVers continue to demand higher quality parks, regardless of what’s happening with the economy. “The new owners are far more discerning, more demanding,” he said. “They want better accommodations, better amenities, better service, all of which we realize we’d better be prepared to provide.”

And given continuing shortage of upscale RV resorts and RVers’ continuing demand for better parks, Henderson said, “I think the demand from the existing marketplace will carry someone doing what we’re doing for the next five years.”

What Henderson is doing differently, however, is making a greater effort to let the RVing public know that sites at Signature Resorts are available both for rent and for sale.

Henderson is well known in the RV resort business for having developed more than 20 upscale RV resorts across the country with the Outdoor Resorts name. He started developing RV resorts in 1969.

Monaco initially purchased licensing rights to Outdoor Resorts properties in Indio, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev., but ended the relationship with Outdoor Resorts earlier this year when it formed Signature Resorts. Outdoor Resorts, he said, had such a reputation for exclusivity that people often didn’t realize they could rent sites owned by other RVers at Outdoor Resorts properties.

“I think Outdoor Resorts was never completely understood in terms of rentals,” Henderson said. “The focus on quality, in some people’s minds, kind of severed us from a lot of the rental market. So we’re going to have to be more user friendly and pay a lot more attention to the services that we do, including reservations.”

Henderson also plans to continue to be involved with the management of Signature Resorts properties even after RV sites are sold. This is another break from the past Outdoor Resorts practice, which was often to turn over management of the parks to other companies after RV sites were sold. Henderson said the Signature Resorts properties will continue to be managed by Signature Resorts.

“We don’t want to be perceived as a hit and run,” Henderson said. “We want to be perceived as someone who is there to stay.”

Monaco Coach Corp. formed Nashville, Tenn.-based Signature Resorts earlier this year to oversee development of upscale RV resorts across the country that both sell and rent RV sites. Signature’s other properties include the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort and the Motorcoach Country Club in Indio, both of which were previously doing business using the Outdoor Resorts name.



RV Business
Thursday, October 23, 2008

The double-feature nightmare of high fuel prices and tight credit has hurt recreational vehicle sales and contributed to Tucson, Ariz.'s biggest RV dealer losing one of its top lines.

As a result, more than 100 Fleetwood RVs were taken from Beaudry RV's lot and locked up at a Tucson Electric Park lot this week, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Beaudry RV is no longer a Fleetwood dealer, Beaudry RV CEO Thomas Sylvester confirmed. Sylvester said the Fleetwood products "were moved to a neutral site."

He later acknowledged that the company that is storing the RVs at TEP is the one that financed the Fleetwood stock.

Sylvester wouldn't talk about the details of Beaudry's split with Fleetwood, including who initiated the change. He called the situation part of "a perfect storm of economic factors."

"We had to make difficult decisions," he said. "Our main focus will be on the Monaco, Keystone and other affiliations that we already have and we'll be expanding."

Sylvester said Beaudry RV would continue to operate as an authorized Fleetwood service center and concentrate on selling recreational vehicle lines by other manufacturers.

Sylvester said he anticipated no other changes at Beaudry RV's Tucson and Chandler sites.

A Fleetwood official at corporate headquarters in Riverside, Calif., confirmed that the dealership relationship with Beaudry had been severed and that Beaudry would remain an authorized service center, but declined to discuss details of the break with Beaudry, a longtime Fleetwood dealer.

Beaudry RV's website continued to list Fleetwood's logo on its home page Wednesday, but Fleetwood's corporate home page showed Earnhardt RV Center in Mesa as Tucson's nearest dealer for Fleetwood's large RV lines.

On Wednesday, about 100 Fleetwood motorhomes and trailers were parked in the fenced player parking lots at Tucson Electric Park. A Pima County official said his department had a contract with GE Commercial Distribution Finance Corp. to store the RVs for up to a month, with GE picking up the tab for round-the-clock security.

GE Commercial Distribution Finance is a leading provider of "flooring," or dealer financing for vehicles until they are sold.

Sylvester confirmed that GE was Beaudry's flooring provider for the Fleetwood products.

Meanwhile, as the RV industry struggles, at least one local dealer is trying to get the message out that it's not all doom and gloom.

South Side dealer Freedom RV sent a press release out this week through a public-relations firm, announcing that its employees would be guaranteed jobs through the remainder of the year.

Devin Murphy, owner of Freedom RV, said he took the unusual step because of rumors about Beaudry RV's problems and the news of some layoffs at Jim Click's local auto dealerships, both of which he said rocked his employees' confidence.

Murphy said he told his manager this week that not only would he not cut workers, but he would keep paying his staff through the end of the year, based on an average of nine months' pay.

"We're in the business of customer service," Murphy said. If they're worrying about whether they're going to have a job, they're not going to be worried about my customers."

"It's really picked up the morale here," said Murphy. "They've sold 12 RVs in the four days since I've done it," said Murphy.

Murphy said the promise of job and pay security until the end of the year should take them through to the snowbird season, when business generally picks up.

At that point, Murphy said, he's hoping the decrease in fuel prices and recovering credit market will revive sales.

"Sales did pick up once fuel prices started going back down," Murphy said. "You know, fuel prices slowed it down a little bit, but not a lot. They're (RVers) still traveling, but they stay longer in the places they were going."

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