Friday, September 20, 2019


Travel Lite to Resume Production End of October But Downsizing

Travel Lite Contends with Industry Slowdown, Shuts Down One Production Facility

The Goshen News recently reported that production may resume at Travel Lite RV in Syracuse, Ind., next month. Travel Lite President Dustin Johns said that the company has to reevaluate its growth plan and business model after losing about 70 jobs recently.
In an interview with RV PRO, Johns mentioned how the timing wasn’t right in the industry for the rate in which they were expanding the company. As a result, Travel Lite will shut down one production facility, consolidating to one facility.
“I have hired so many people … for revenue numbers we’re just not going to hit this year with the slowdown,” Johns said. Recent data from the RV Industry Association showed a dip in July sales, for instance, going down by 23 percent compared to July 2018. “I had to step back and figure out how many people I needed in each group in each department.”
As he’s stated previously, the plan is to resume production on Oct. 21.
“As a company, there’s certain things that we’ve done for 20 years that we know we have a very good hold on and that we’re really talented at,” said Johns. And then there’s other new, emerging products that he is uncertain of releasing just yet until the company has a better grasp on how the industry is behaving. “Is right now a good time to put out a fifth wheel and start a fifth wheel plant? And I think if you do a survey of CEOs across the industry, they’d probably say it’s probably not.”
Travel Lite has been exploring a fifth wheel option this year, but Johns said it’ll better to back it down for now and manufacture something they know their dealers do well with.
“When times stabilize a little more, then do stuff like that,” he said. “That’s basically what’s been going on.”


RV Recall for 2018-2019 Lance Camper 855S trailers

Lance Camper Manufacturing. Corp. (Lance Camper) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Lance Camper 855S trailers. The 12 volt battery power and/or ground wire may contact the hot burner box of the refrigerator.


RV Recall for 2020 Braxton Creek RV Bushwhacker Trailer

Braxton Creek RV (Braxton Creek) is recalling certain 2020 Bushwhacker trailers. The trailers may be missing the liquid propane (LP)/carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.


RV Recall for Keystone 2019-2020 Hideout 25TH Toy Hauler Trailers

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Hideout 25TH toy haulers. The trailers may be missing the Special Transportation Provision warning label in the garage area.


Winnebago Acquiring Newmar Corporation. Deal to close in Early 2020

Saying it was part of the Miller family’s long-term plan, Newmar Corp. President Matt Miller said he first approached Winnebago Industries President and CEO Michael Happe in April this year to see whether the “Flying W” would be interested in acquiring the 51-year-old motorhome manufacturer based in Nappanee, Ind. 
After each side performed its due diligence, an agreement was signed Sunday (Sept. 16) in which Winnebago will acquire Newmar for approximately $344 million — $270 million in cash and a fixed amount of 2 million shares of Winnebago Industries stock. It’s expected the deal will be finalized by the end of Winnebago’s fiscal 2020 first quarter in November.
From inside Newmar’s one-year-old customer service center on the east side of Nappanee, Miller and Happe sat down with on Monday to discuss what led to the acquisition and what it means for both companies, its dealer base and its end customers.
Miller said his family was “excited to see this happen” and that it was always their intention to sell the company, which was founded in 1968 by Marvin Miller and Marvin Newcomer. Matt Miller’s father Mahlon Miller — they are no relation to Marvin — acquired 51% of Newmar Corp. in 1984, and the former Holiday Rambler president, now in retirement, would purchase the remaining 49% of the company in 1990.
Matt Miller in 2006 was named president of Newmar, a position he will continue to hold after the Winnebago acquisition is completed. Miller will also become a vice president of Winnebago, and serve both on Happe’s executive team and as a strategic advisor to Winnebago’s Class A motorhome operations.
“When we went into this we wanted to find someone who was aligned culturally with what we do and how we do it because my family lives in this Nappanee community and it was very important to us,” Miller said. “Winnebago has a long, good history of taking care of their customer. I grew up in the industry and I remember when I was a little kid every motorhome was a Winnebago and we’d be fighting against that perception and trying to get our fair place in the marketplace. But we’ve always respected Winnebago and think they’ve been a great company.”
Newmar’s 1,060 employees and manufacturing and customer service facilities in Nappanee will join a Winnebago company that currently boasts some 4,600 employees working at nine campuses in five states, including four in Iowa, two in Indiana, one in Florida, and one in Oregon with an executive office in Minneapolis, Minn. Among those operations are Grand Design Recreational Vehicles, acquired in 2016, and its Winnebago-branded towables division, both located in Middlebury, Ind., as well as Chris-Craft Corp., the Sarasota, Fla.-based recreational boat builder acquired in 2018.
For his part, Happe said Newmar is a natural fit for Winnebago, which is now in its 61st year as one of the industry’s most iconic brands, in several ways including its luxury motorhome lineup, a segment that, for the most part, the Forest City, Iowa-based manufacturer was not playing in.
“It’s a great moment for Winnebago Industries and I’m confident that over time it’ll be a great moment for Newmar as well,” Happe said. “These are two companies whose paths have run parallel for many years in terms of their legacies. Both today are known for taking care of the customer, for making high quality products, being innovative over the years and delivering unique solutions — and really taking care of their employees as well. And so, even though the companies are based in two different states and certainly have their own unique histories, in many ways, they’ve run similar paths to where we are today.
“I think it’s a coming together of two companies that fit strategically,” he continued. “We very strongly feel that they fit culturally and, I believe, financially for Winnebago Industries. As a parent, it’s a very accretive opportunity.”
Happe added, “We think Newmar’s best days continue to be ahead of it and that’s not a knock on what they’ve done to date because over the last decade they’ve done tremendous things, gaining share in Class A diesel, Class A gas, and now expanding into the Super C segment as well. So we’re so excited to add these guys to the family and the team and see what leverage and synergy, internally, we can learn from each other so that we can be a better company


Rapido-Owned Roadtrek to Exhibit at RV Open House

Class B builder Roadtrek Inc. is set to showcase product at next week’s Elkhart RV Open House for the first time as a brand-new company.
According to a press release, the Roadtrek brand will be making its tradeshow debut at Open House since it was acquired by Groupe Rapido in France earlier this year. Roadtrek will have six models on display representing the range of models from their lineup, including models built on the Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit chassis.
Attending the show will be Groupe Rapido President Pierre Rousseau and CEO Nicolas Rousseau. Both represent the second and third generation to the family-run business with 13 brands under the corporate umbrella.  Representing the management team from North America will be Len McDougall, head of sales and service and Head of Marketing & Communications Karyn Torcoletti.
“We are looking forward to attending Open House and talking first hand with dealers and suppliers at the show about the revitalization of the Roadtrek brand in North America,” said Rousseau.
“This is an exciting time for all of us at Roadtrek and we encourage prospective dealers interested in being a part of its bright future to come by the booth and see us,” added Head of Sales Len McDougall.
Roadtrek Inc. will be displaying on the south side of Executive Parkway.

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