Thursday, February 18, 2010
BOB LEE MAY START UP A NEW VERSION OF COUNTRY COACH
Bob Lee, founder and former CEO of defunct luxury RV manufacturer Country Coach Inc., along with his brother Ron Lee, may start a new company to build motorhomes after spending about $190,000 to buy Country Coach’s intellectual properties and some equipment during the bankruptcy auction last week.
But the new firm more than likely won’t build Country Coach-brand motorhomes.
“If we do this it probably won’t be under the Country Coach name, but it will have some attachment to that name, of course, because it’s a very quality name,” Lee said. “It will be tied to Country Coach, for sure.”
Lee said no timetable has yet been established for when the new company will begin building RVs.
“I don’t have (a timetable)”, Lee said.
Bob and Ron Lee purchased the intellectual property of the Junction City, Ore., high-end manufacturer, including brand names and blueprints plus steel fabrication equipment, 13 paint booths and chassis testing equipment during the court-ordered auction after Country Coach attempted to stave off foreclosure for nearly a year.
“Acquiring the (intellectual property) was the thing we had to do to go forward,” Lee told RVBUSINESS.com. “We felt like we needed to get control of the name and all the pieces that go with it.”
Lee founded Country Coach in 1973 as Country Campers to build pickup toppers and truck campers in a 2,000-square-foot building with two employees. Later Ron Lee joined the company. In the early 1980s, the company was renamed Country Coach Inc. and the Lees started converting luxury buses and later building luxury Class A motorhomes on their own DynoMax chassis.
The company grew to employ more than 1,500 people and occupied a 450,000-square-foot factory and service facility — property that the Lees still own.
In 1996, Country Coach was sold to National RV Holdings Inc., a California manufacturer that built Class A motorhomes and fifth-wheel travel trailers.
Lee continued as Country Coach chairman while the Lees retained ownership of the factory complex and leasing it to Country Coach.
In 2007, National RV sold Country Coach to a group of investors led by Los Angeles investment banker Bryant Riley. In early 2009, Country Coach filed for bankruptcy which resulted in last week’s auction.