In another sign of the continuing slump in the motorhome market, industry giant Fleetwood cut four dozen jobs and demoted dozens of employees at its Riverside, California plant yesterday.
With revenue down 20% and posting a $16+ million loss last quarter, Fleetwood had little choice.
Fleetwood reported that supervisors were offered assembly line jobs with as much as 23% pay cuts. We recently reported Weekend Warrior's layoffs and National RV's bankruptcy demise. In fact, large law firms expect bankruptcy to be the hottest growth area for law firms this year, according to a recent Wall Street Journal survey of corporate lawyers.
Thor California, maker of , recently shut down its California plant for 3 weeks to prevent a bloat in built motorhome inventory that dealers are having a hard enough time getting rid of. And when it reopened, workers came back to 4 day a week jobs and a scaled back production schedule.
We've said it before. From all this Rv doom and gloom you can probably expect two things.
The first is likely to be a harder time getting debatable repairs done under the factory warranty as the factories look for ways to cut corners and cut costs. And that may also mean workmanship problems as employees are cut back, moved around, demoted, and generally disgruntled. Both of those are issues that may have longer lasting effect than some Rv makers intend (or expect).
The second news is, though, the silver lining here. If you want a new motorhome, you may not see a better time to get a good price for a long while. Dealers are stuck with inventory that is aging and that they are paying for every day with floor planning finance rates that are eating into profits. To put it blunt, they gotta move the boxes or they will go broke.
With the market shrinking though, the fit are the survivers. Those with less cash in their coffers will find it harder to get through these tough times.
So for consumers it means that you need to be careful about the brand you buy right now too. After all, you can just imagine what it must have been like to buy a brand new $100,000 National Rv brand motorhome the day before they shut the plant down.
And you may not want to be the one to own the Rv that was built by the ticked off supervisor who now works on the line and takes home only 3/4 of what he earned last week. A demotion without a loss of pay is one thing, but a demotion that costs you a big chunk of income is a whole different thing.
It's time to be very, very careful as a motorhome buyer. Our recommendation? If you buy a new Rv, tell the dealer you want their personal guarantee that they will stand behind the manufacturer's warranty. But don't take their word for it either. Make them write in down on the sales contract itself.
And remember, if you get a bad Rv, contact us or call us 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. Helping consumers get rid of lemon motorhomes is what we do. Everyday.