Humphries succeeded Brad Albrechtsen, who had been president since 2001 and remains on the company’s board of directors. National R.V. Holdings, which is based in Perris, California, builds Class A gas and diesel motorhomes through its subsidiary, National RV. Humphries praised Albrechtsen for guiding the company through difficult years, but noted that National is not currently profitable. “I look forward to continuing to work with the management team to accelerate the return to profitability,” he said. “We have some difficult but improving quarters ahead and a bright future. I would not be here if I did not believe as much.”
Thor Sales Down; Backlog Up
Thor Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreation vehicles, reported that sales for the year ended July 31 declined 7 percent from the previous year, but that the order backlog also was up 7 percent, brightening the outlook for fiscal 2008.
Sales of RVs and commercial buses for the 2006-07 fiscal year reached $2.85 billion, down from $3.07 billion the previous year. The order backlog as of July 31 amounted to $345 million, compared with $264 million in 2006.
The company’s cash continued to grow, prompting Thor’s Board of Directors to declare a special $2 per share cash dividend, in addition to the regular quarterly dividend of 7 cents a share.
Web Site Lists Scenic Drives
FirestoneLegendaryDrives.com is a new interactive online travel site that guides travelers to scenic drives. The site’s home page contains a map of the U.S. Click on a state and you will be directed to a list of scenic drives with directions and descriptions. Viewers are invited to post photos to illustrate the drives.
The site also includes a comprehensive list of auto museums in each state, and suggests restaurants to try. You can view the site at www.FirestoneLegendaryDrives.com.
Potholes to Expand RV Sites
Potholes Reservoir Golf Resort in Grant County, Washington, has announced plans to add another nine holes of golf to its existing nine-hole course and create nearly 700 lots for condos, homes and RVs.
Plans have been approved by the county and work is expected to start in late fall. The development will include 195 homes sites on one-third of an acre, 40 condos, and more than 400 lots for RVs and park models.
The project will include a fitness center, swimming pool, tennis courts and other facilities. For more information, visit www.potholesgolf.com.
Website Offers Motorhome Swaps
Chris Farrow, a motorhome owner in the Northumberland section of England, has started a Web site to enable people worldwide to swap RVs for vacations. The site is www.motorhomeholidayswap.com.
Farrow invites owners to submit information about their RVs and then browse through listings to find an RV in an area where they would like to vacation. Owners can then make arrangements to swap RVs in a holiday exchange. Details can be found at the Web site.
Sacajawea Center Dedicated
The newly renovated Sacajawea Interpretive Center has been opened at Sacajawea State Park, which is off Highway 12, about five miles southeast of Pasco at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers in Washington.
The center features displays that tell the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition and highlight the experiences of Sacagawea, the young Shoshone Indian woman who accompanied the expedition. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Nov. 1, when it closes for the season.
Bates Earns Franchise Honor
Entrepreneur Magazine has included Bates International Motor Home Rental Systems in its list of the 500 top franchises in the U.S. Bates has established a network of franchise locations to rent RVs and to enable RV owners to place motorhomes in the Bates fleet to generate income and tax benefits. Bates, founded in 1972, is headquartered in Las Vegas.
Washington Adds More Cabins
Washington State Parks and Recreation has completed $254,000 worth of improvements at Lincoln Rock State Park, adding four new cabins with views of the Columbia River. Lincoln Rock State Park is an 80-acre camping park on the east side of Lake Entiat, seven miles north of East Wenatchee. It is a popular spot for hiking, swimming and waterskiing.
Park Model Sales Decline
Factory shipments of park models declined early this year for the first time in more than four years, according to the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association. The group reported that shipments fell 20 percent in the first three months of this year, and a modest decline is likely for the whole year when compared with the record shipment of 10,141 parks models in 2006. Park models are designed to serve as vacation homes, but are classified as recreation vehicles. They can be up to 400 square feet in size.
Lippert Acquires Coach Step
Lippert Components, a subsidiary of Drew Industries of White Plains, New York, has acquired Coach Step, a manufacturer of patented electric steps for motorhomes. The purchase price was about $3 million. Lippert plans to shift production from the Coach Step factory in Forth Worth, Texas, to its facilities in Indiana.
Spartan Splits Stock
Spartan Motors, which builds chassis for motorhomes and emergency-rescue vehicles, has split its stock again after reporting record results in 2006 and the first quarter of 2007. Spartan had a 3-for-2 stock split last December and again this summer. The company, which is based in Charlotte, Michigan, earned a record $7.2 million on $142.9 million in net sales in the first quarter of 2007.
Winnebago Elects Treasurer
Donald L. Heidemann, 35, formerly assistant treasurer with Select Comfort Corporation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been elected to the position of treasurer at Winnebago Industries in Forest City, Iowa, succeeding Joe Soczek, who retired. Heidemann has 13 years of experience in financial positions.
School District May Offer RV Storage
A Southern California school district is eying RV and boat storage as a potential revenue source. The Daily Bulletin in Ontario, California, reports that the Claremont School District, near Pomona, has estimated that it could generate $951,000 a year in revenue by converting the eight-acre site now occupied by its central offices into an RV and boat storage facility.
The project grew out of a two-year study by the school district and parents on ways to raise money for the district. Residential, office and mixed-use developments were considered for the property before RV storage was recommended. The district still must work out details, including how to pay for construction of the facilities.