Ford riles up RV industry
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. has angered the RV industry all year by reducing output and trimming allocations of its gasoline-powered Class A F-53 chassis. Although Ford originally pegged production at 2,500 per month, output wavered between 1,800 and 2,200. Now Ford has set 2000 model year production targets on its F-53 motor home chassis at 2,500 per month, starting in the first quarter. The chassis will be built exclusively by TruMack Inc. at a new plant in Detroit. Ford announced the production target at a meeting with manufacturers and industry representatives at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association convention last month in Louisville, Ky. Ford holds a commanding 75 percent of the Class A gasoline chassis market. Lee Oliphant, Ford manager of government and diversified fleet sales, said he expects the RV industry to continue to be strong, and that Ford will build as many chassis as it can to meet demand.
HOLIDAY RV GETS NEW NAME
ORLANDO, Fla. - Holiday RV Superstores Inc., the nation's only publicly held RV dealership chain, is busy. It is starting a brand management plan by rolling out a new operating name, Recreation U.S.A., to be used for all of its stores and retail operations starting in the first quarter of 2000. And it is digesting the acquisition, completed last month, of Florida's County Line Select Cars & RVs Inc. The next step is to align computer systems in its 12 existing stores and use e-commerce to streamline operations such as payroll and financial transactions. Said Marco Martinez, Holiday's e-commerce integration officer: 'There are people out there with dot-matrix printers' who think they are at the cutting edge.
SPARTAN TOUTS CHASSIS
CHARLOTTE, Mich. - Without a comprehensive network of brand-specific service centers offering driveline and chassis work, the industry is not realizing its potential, says John Sztykiel, president of chassis manufacturer Spartan Motors Inc. Sztykiel unveiled Spartan's Summit I, a diesel-powered motor home outfitted with independent front suspension at the RVIA show in Louisville, Ky. The Summit I is an example of the type of sophisticated chassis his company and others are building, Sztykiel said. Rather than depend on RV manufacturers to establish service centers, chassis makers should develop chassis and powertrain service networks along heavily traveled routes, Szytkiel said.