News Brief for April 2006

He will work with Dick Parks, who had served as president since 2001 and will continue to be active in daily operations of Newmar as chairman of the board. The privately owned company is located in Nappanee, Indiana.

Salem Offers Tour Guide
The Salem Oregon Convention and Visitors Bureau is offering a 65-page guide to attractions, lodging, dining, special events, recreation and other activities in the City of Salem and in Marion and Polk counties. For a free copy, call the tourist office at (800) 874-7012 or visit www.travelsalem.com.

Thor Increases Profits
Thor Industries, the nation’s largest RV manufacturer, is continuing to report strong financial results, with RV sales of $1.25 billion for the six months ending January 31, an 18 percent gain over the same period a year ago. The RV backlog was $313 million, an increase of 59 percent.

The company, which also builds mid-size buses, reported that its net income for the six-month period exceeded $75 million on total sales of more than $1.4 billion. Earnings were up 35 percent. The company said it profited from the fact that trailers and fifth wheels, which account for 68 percent of Thor’s sales, are the fastest growth segment in the RV industry.

Drew Acquires SteelCo
Drew Industries, which manufactures components for RVs and manufactured homes, announced that its subsidiary, Lippert Components, has acquired SteelCo of Rialto, California, for $4.5 million. SteelCo makes chassis and component parts for RVs and manufactured homes. The purchase ends a lawsuit that SteelCo had filed against Lippert in 2002. Drew, which is headquartered in White Plains, New York, said the consideration for terminating the litigation was included in the purchase price.

Indy Speedway Signs RV Sponsors
FreedomRoads, the nation’s largest RV retailer, and Camping World, the largest RV parts and accessories retailer, have become official sponsors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The companies will establish an RV Exposition area and promote all-inclusive race weekend packages for RV users in the Main Gate parking lots across from the speedway’s main entrance.

Marcus Lemonis, Freedom Roads chief executive officer, said, “Our plans for this site include not only providing a premier camping experience for RVers, but also an RV Exposition where race fans can actually experience the RV lifestyle. It will be the first of its kind, featuring entertainment and useful seminars, while our partners like Camping World and key RV manufacturers will provide the opportunity for race fans to shop for recreational vehicles and accessories.”

Wildlife Federation Promotes Campout
The National Wildlife Federation is encouraging youngsters and adults to turn off their television sets, computers, iPods, video game machines and cell phones on Saturday, June 24, and rediscover nature by participating in the Great American Backyard Campout.

The federation suggests camping in a backyard or a local campground to discover the joys of stargazing, telling stories and cooking over an open fire. The event is billed as a response to studies that show children now spend an average of 44 hours per week watching television, looking at computer screens and playing video games, and are missing the fun of exploring the outdoors. Information to help plan a campout can be obtained at www.backyardcampout.org, starting in May. Last year about 30,000 families participated in the first Great American Backyard Cookout.

Winnebago Sees Sales Shift
A shift in consumer preference from Class A motorhomes to lower priced Class C models is one of the reasons Winnebago says its revenues for the first six months of fiscal 2006, ending Feb. 25, slipped 13 percent to $438 million. Net income for the six months dropped to $22.3 million from $32.1 million during the same period a year ago.

Bruce Hertzke, chairman and CEO of Winnebago, said the company’s earnings also were hurt by decreased retail demand for motorhomes industrywide. The company reported that it retained its position in 2005 as the leader in Class A and Class C motorhome sales with just under 18 percent of the market. Winnebago said it lost some market share early in 2005 because it did not match the sales incentives offered by its competitors, but finished the year with a strong 19.3 market share in the last three months of 2005.

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