Monday, August 18, 2014



A Web Exclusive from

Dutchmen Mfg. Discontinuing Dutchmen-Branded Travel Trailers

Thor-owned Dutchmen Manufacturing is discontinuing production of its Dutchmen-branded line of travel trailers after the company fills August’s orders, Dutchmen Vice President of Sales Troy James has confirmed.
James stressed that the RV maker will continue to produce its other product lines, such as Aspen Trail, Kodiak, Aerolite, Coleman and Denali, in addition to providing warranty support for the discontinued line.
“Dutchmen (Mfg.) has grown significantly in recent years, and a couple of our other brands were outpacing the Dutchmen brand specifically,” he said in explaining the decision to end production of Dutchmen-labeled products. “So we decided to put laser focus on our other two stick-and-tin product lines, those being Aspen Trail and Coleman.”
Due to the popularity of the company’s other stick-and-tin lines, many Dutchmen dealers said they don’t foresee a problem with Dutchmen’s decision, which the company announced in a letter to dealers.
Carpenter Campers owner Mark Carpenter said sales for Aspen Trail campers are as good as ever at his Pensacola, Fla.-based dealership.
“(Aspen Trail) is a great product, they’ve had it dialed in,” he said. “They made a great trailer when they had the right people running it.”
Dutchmen dealer Charlie Counts, owner of Bourbon RV Center in Bourbon, Mo., isn’t sure if the move will affect his bottom line, but he’s grown attached to the Dutchmen trailer line, which began in 1988. 
“As a Dutchmen dealer, I’m kind of sad to see them drop that name,” Counts said. “They’ve been selling Dutchmen for many years, so we actually do get people coming here just to look at Dutchmen.”
In 2013, Thor consolidated some Dutchmen and Keystone management when Matt Zimmerman, president of Thor’s Keystone operations, began leading Dutchmen, filling the position vacated by Cam Boyer, who joined Grand Design. At the same time, Keystone General Manager Aram Koltookian became Dutchmen executive vice president. Koltookian now is COO with Thor’s K-Z RV division.
Today, the companies benefit from some mutual resources, such as the merged parts and service warehouse and accounting department, James said. He added that although the senior leadership is the same in some areas, the Thor divisions maintain separate service teams and design and development departments.
But the closer integration of the two companies is something that Chris Lambert, general sales manager at Milford, Del.-based Delmarva RV Center, wouldn’t mind seeing grow stronger.
“I think (integrating the two) is actually a better thing,” he said. “It’s going to help. Keystone has better warranty, better parts ‑ it’s just easier to deal with.”




Drew Announces LCI’s Acquisition Of Duncan

August 18, 2014 by  
Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 8.50.44 AMDrew Industries Inc. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Lippert Components Inc. (LCI), has acquired certain assets and the business of Duncan Systems Inc. which, like Drew and Lippert, is based in Elkhart, Ind.
Duncan Systems is a distributor of replacement motorhome windshields; RV, heavy truck and specialty vehicle glass and windows; and awnings — primarily to fulfill insurance claims. Sales of the acquired business for the 12 months ended July 2014 were approximately $26 million. LCI estimates the aftermarket for the products it currently sells is in excess of $350 million.
“Consistent with our long-term strategic plan, in the past few years we have increased our sales of aftermarket replacement parts to warehouse distributors and retail RV dealers, as well as through our online store,” said Drew President Scott Mereness. “Acquiring Duncan Systems, in addition to expected synergies, opens up a new aftermarket channel for us, enabling us to fulfill insurance claims for replacement parts. There are an estimated 9 million RVs on the road, creating a significant market opportunity for many of LCI’s products, and we want to be there with solutions for consumers at every stage of RV ownership. Further, we believe the additional relationships that Duncan Systems has in the heavy trucking and specialty vehicle markets, as well as the broadened customer base of existing RV owners, will help accelerate LCI’s aftermarket growth.”
The purchase price was $18 million, which was paid at closing from borrowings under the company’s $75 million line of credit, plus contingent consideration based on future sales. Drew expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings.
Brent Watson, president of Duncan Systems, entered into an employment agreement with LCI and will continue to manage the business going forward. “It really couldn’t be a better fit,” said Watson. “We are confident Lippert Components will invest in the business for the long term and strategically drive the business forward, as well as provide the opportunity to supply our existing customers with a broader line of replacement parts. For instance, our heavy trucking customers often need replacement mattresses, and joining the LCI team will allow us to offer an impressive range of mattresses, among other time-tested products.”



Thor Motor Coach (Thor) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Axis and Vegas motorhomes manufactured August 2, 2013, to June 18, 2014. Due to the use of an incorrect adhesive, the treads on the entry stairs into the vehicle may come loose.
Loose stair treads can result in a person slipping and falling, increasing the risk of injury.
Thor will notify owners, and dealers will reinstall the stair treads with the correct adhesive and additional screws, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in August 2014. Owners may contact Thor customer service at 1-877-500-1020. Thor's number for this recall is RC000090.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2007-2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500/3500 trucks manufactured January 18, 2007, to June 22, 2011, and GMC Sierra HD 2500/3500 trucks manufactured January 22, 2007, to June 21, 2011, and equipped with an auxiliary battery. Owners may unknowingly draw too much current through the vehicle's trailer harness resulting in the melting of fusible link for the auxiliary battery.
If the fusible link melts it may come into contact with adjacent components, damage the electrical center cover, the nearby wiring harness conduit and other vehicle components, increasing the risk of a fire.
GM will notify owners and dealers will replace the jumper harness with one that includes a 40 amp inline fuse, and provide the owner with supplemental Owner Manual information, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020 or GMC customer service at 1-800-462-8782. GM's number for this recall is 14260.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2013-2014 Buick Encore and Cadillac ATS; 2014 Cadillac CTS, ELR, Chevrolet Caprice and SS vehicles; and 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Trucks. Due to an incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly, the front seats in the affected vehicles may not stay secured in place during a high load condition such as a crash.
A seat that does not stay secured increases the risk of occupant injury in a vehicle crash.
GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the seat hook bracket assembly weld and replace the lower seat track, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in late August 2014. Owners may contact GM customer service at 1-800-521-7300 (Buick), 1-800-458-8006 (Cadillac), 1-800-222-1020 (Chevrolet), and 1-800-462-8782 (GMC). GM's number for this recall is 14340.

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