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Old 04-26-2008, 07:18 PM   #1
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Smoke and mirrors? You be the judge

Monaco Coach On Bumpy Road - Forbes.com


What I found interesting was that even though the other RV builders clearly showed a decrease in revenue, Thor (parent company of Airstream) said it had a 19% increase in order backlog.

So my question is, would part of that 19% simply be dealerships placing orders for unit hoping to sell them and a fair number are sitting on the lot, or does this in fact mean that for some reason Thor is actually still doing better than the others in keeping their heads above water?

I also found it interesting that they said that the average RVer burns about 1000 gallons of gas a season. I must be on the low end of that scale bringing down the 1000 gallon average.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:19 PM   #2
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When I read the blurb about the increase in backorders (??), I thought they were trying to find a bright spot on a lousy balance sheet.

But when I read their latest quarterly report, I looks like maybe they are in the happy place.

I would guess their good results are due to their heavy presence in the bus business.
Who wants to drive anymore if you can hop on a bus?
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Old 04-27-2008, 04:44 AM   #3
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it is the european units that are supporting those numbers.
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:43 AM   #4
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Interesting. Europe has far worse fuel prices than we do, yet they are the ones carrying them?!
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:28 PM   #5
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Well, the party may be winding down and the hangover in the horizon....looks like reality may be starting to set in, even at Thor:

Thor Industries tumbles after 3Q revenue slips 10 percent: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:55 PM   #6
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Unless trailers start being made out of super-lightweight plastics that hybrids can tow around with ease, I imagine the era of $4/gal. gas is going to really shrink this market.

CAUTION: Here comes a pipe dream...

That Airstream would someday get the kind of dynamic CEO that Apple has in Steve Jobs - that they would stand on the broad shoulders of Wally Byam and reinvent the trailer industry. Whereas aluminum and monocoque design has represented the last 70 years, an iMac-like show stopper could usher in an entirely brand new kind of trailer and place Airstream decades ahead of its nearest competitor.

I'm not talking about a T@b or Basecamp, and I'm not talking about teaming up with DWR or offering new fabric choices every year. No teardrop, no watered down version of what we enjoy today in our full-size trailers.

No, I mean an honest-to-goodness, built-from-scratch, CAD designed, wind tunnel optimized, nanotube-strong yet carbon fiber-light travel trailer.

Perhaps with wheels that have the same regenerating braking power as my Prius for recharging the batteries - maybe a flexible body that leans back at 60 mph to flatten in the wind, but is perfectly rigid when standing still. Or a "partial propulsion system" so the trailer would help push the rig along, rather than just drag behind as dead weight.

We need thinking like the stuff you see in Wired magazine - a whole new dept. in Jackson Center - designers that can tip their hats to an idea that's worked for over 7 decades, but not be afraid to employ cutting edge technology to create something entirely new.

That might not only save themselves, or invigorate the RV market - it could potentially influence the entire stagnant auto industry that's giving us the same MPG's as the 1960's.

Mr. Byam may have said to not make changes, only improvements, but with all due respect: he ain't here. If he were, I'd like to think he'd be patting young designers on the shoulder and encouraging them to move forward using every last new material and technical advance at their disposal.
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:16 PM   #7
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Another one bites the dust....

Just got word that Alfa-Liesure Industries, makers of the Alfa series of motor homes and large 5th wheels closed it's doors today WITH NO NOTICE!!!!
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster
Just got word that Alfa-Liesure Industries, makers of the Alfa series of motor homes and large 5th wheels closed it's doors today WITH NO NOTICE!!!!
I read somewhere that Alfa was founded in 1973 by the son of the founder of Fleetwood.

Last I checked Fleetwood wasn't doing so hot either.........

A lot of the RV insdustry is headed for disaster. Unfort, none of it is due to the quaility of the stuff they put out.......
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:45 AM   #9
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I kind of see this as a parallel to the housing mess. Manufacturers (old and new) couldn't build RV's fast enough to meet demand. We were at Jackson Center Summer of 2006 and our tour guide told us they really wanted to ramp up production 50% but couldn't find the workers.

So now with the double whammy of $4 gas and a huge loss of home equity causing a drop in demand, only the financially strong will survive until the cycle swings back up.

There are a gazillion of us baby boomers out there and I believe a whole bunch will be hitting the road so demand will recover. I also believe that we will all adapt (granted, unwillingly) to the fact that the days of cheap hydrocarbons are simply over.

Lots of Europeans out RV'ing all summer every year......

mike
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