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Thread: Vantare/Featherlite Scuttlebutt

  1. #11
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    Camping World, you gotta be shi----- me! Having had the pleasure of a one time Camping World experience with a plastic CC, I can tell you to run the other way. When I inquired about the need for the pink boiler antifreeze for the Aqua Hot, the tech told me just use the pink stuff in the store that they use for winterizing RV's, it's the same stuff!

    Can't wait to hear about the first POG experience with a Featherlite at Camping World... They wouldn't know a 315 from a trailer tire. Can you imagine a PP at a Camping World service center.

  2. #12
    rff105 Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by truk4u View Post
    Camping World, you gotta be shi----- me! Having had the pleasure of a one time Camping World experience with a plastic CC, I can tell you to run the other way. When I inquired about the need for the pink boiler antifreeze for the Aqua Hot, the tech told me just use the pink stuff in the store that they use for winterizing RV's, it's the same stuff!

    Can't wait to hear about the first POG experience with a Featherlite at Camping World... They wouldn't know a 315 from a trailer tire. Can you imagine a PP at a Camping World service center.

    What you don't buy this statement? "As we roll out this new relationship, the first Camping World stores to receive training for its sales personnel and qualified service technicians from Featherlite Coaches"

  3. #13
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    It is an odd marriage to say the least. The only advantage I see is ; A. Once they have trained personel, they will have more service centers than others, B. They will have more locations to display and possibly sale their product. But, It still sounds like Walmarting to me.
    Gary & Lise Deinhard, 2003 Elegant Lady Liberty, Dbl slide

  4. #14
    lewpopp Guest

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    Come on Jon, let's hear about Liberty and how they are shaking in their boots.

    I think this is the 5th Prevost conversion co. they have taken under their wing and screwed all of them over.

  5. #15
    Just Plain Jeff Guest

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    Like I said...'just scuttlebutt....'

  6. #16
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    Since I am not on the "inside" I have no clue what is going on. But as an outsider watching the developments over the past year or two I see a company imploding.

    When Featherlite was sold recently it was alleged the new owners of Featherlite paid to get rid of Vantare. Then recently it was reported Vantare was dumping inventory. That sure seemed true when they were advertising new conversions for less than $1,000,000. Imagine how that affected customers that had just purchased a new coach.

    Now it appears they are dumping real estate, and painting that as a wonderful expansion of customer service. I'll just bet Liberty is quaking in their boots.

    As Vantare is one of the larger converters there will be a ripple effect. Current owners will see their coach values depreciate even more than coaches normally do. I would presume service will suffer because I can't envision Camping World ever developing the expertise to tackle some of the more complex problems, and I would guess the survival of Vantare for the long term would be questionable.

    This has got to be a tough business, and over the years I have seen a lot of converters go away. Among them just from memory are Executive, Angola, American, Pacific, Legendary, Thompson(?), Vogue (Featherlite owned), and Royale. It wasn't that these converters made a bad product, it is a difficult thing to make a good product, sell that product and then support that product as the customers have come to expect. The Marathons and Libertys of the conversion business work hard to succeed and for anybody to stand alongside of them they really have to have their act together. It is my guess that the formula Marathon and Liberty use, which is to have a well engineered, standardized product that is supported to the highest degree possible makes survival in this business a very tough challenge.

    These are only my opinions so I will just sit back and watch.

  7. #17
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    FYI, I spoke with Steve Bennett regarding Thompson this weekend (you mentioned Thompson as a possible going out out business).

    According to Steve he had spoken with Rick Thompson, and he is still very much in business. I understand, however, that he will no longer be building "spec" coaches, but only coaches to order.

    Ray

  8. #18
    Just Plain Jeff Guest

    Default Update on Camping World & Featherlite

    Well, here's the press release...read at your own peril:

    SANFORD, Fla. November 27, 2007; FreedomRoads/Camping World and Featherlite Coaches, Inc. today announced a new exclusive sales and marketing relationship that appoints FreedomRoads/Camping World, the nation's largest RV retailer, as the exclusive nationwide retailer of Featherlite Luxury Coaches. The parties expect sales and service operations to begin at certain FreedomRoads/Camping World sales and service centers in mid-December.

    "We are very excited to announce this new relationship with FreedomRoads/Camping World because it gives current and prospective customers of Featherlite Coaches' luxury motor coaches access to sales and service centers throughout the United States," said Conrad Clement, CEO of Featherlite Coaches, Inc. "As we roll out this new relationship, the first Camping World stores to receive training for its sales personnel and qualified service technicians from Featherlite Coaches' personnel, and to have Featherlite Luxury Coaches in stock, will be San Diego, CA, Statesville, NC, Mesa (Phoenix), AZ, Indianapolis, IN, Stewartville (Rochester), MN and Sanford, FL," added Mr. Clement.

    In the later part of 2008 and beyond, it is anticipated that Featherlite Coaches' sales and service will be available through FreedomRoads/Camping World stores in Las Vegas, NV, Chicago, IL, Portland, OR, Denver, CO and Salt Lake City, UT, as well as other strategic stores throughout the United States. "This exclusive sales and marketing relationship with Featherlite Coaches presents a great opportunity for FreedomRoads & Camping World, as we now offer our customers access to recreational vehicles at every price point in the market," said Marcus Lemonis, Chairman and CEO of FreeomRoads & Camping World. "We are excited to have this opportunity to sell luxury motor coaches manufactured by the undisputed market leader in the premium luxury motor coach segment," added Mr. Lemonis.

    Featherlite Coaches, Inc. will continue to manufacture the highest quality state of the art Prevost® coaches in the industry at its manufacturing facility in Sanford, FL. "We are excited to have this new relationship with FreedomRoads/Camping World and to be able to take Featherlite and the bus conversion industry to the next level of customer service," said Jim Wooley, President and COO of Featherlite Coaches, Inc. "Both Featherlite Coaches, Inc. and FreedomRoads/Camping World hope that all of Featherlite Coaches' sales and marketing personnel will be able to join the sales and marketing staff at FreedomRoads/Camping World to continue their wonderful effort in marketing and selling our great luxury motor coaches," added Mr. Wooley.

    “Our commitment to this venture is to have Featherlite Coaches secure and hold a clear position as the market share leader in the bus conversion market. We will in short order look to double the annual volume through a trade up program or the capture of customers by creating a unique value proposition unavailable from anyone else,” said Mr. Lemonis.

    About FreedomRoads & Camping World

    FreedomRoads & Camping World is America's largest RV and outdoor retailer serving a brisk and growing demand for the RV lifestyle. After having successfully co-located for several years at selected locations, FreedomRoads, a dynamic national network of well-established local and regional RV dealerships and Camping World, America's largest direct marketer and specialty retailer of RV and outdoor camping accessories, service and RV sales, joined together to provide consumers with greater choice, convenience and value. Today, with revenues exceeding $1.7 billion, the company serves RV enthusiasts with more than 130 retail locations.

    In addition to the sale, finance and service of recreational vehicles and specialty retail, FreedomRoads & Camping World also provides expanded products and services to enhance and protect the RV lifestyle. This includes: the President's Club customer loyalty program; in-store Performance Centers featuring RV and Car Insurance and Roadside Assistance Service; Camping World RV Institute technical certification/training program; Goodwill Ambassador Program; and the new campground discount program, Camp Club USA.

    About Featherlite Coaches, Inc.

    Featherlite Coaches, Inc. is the premier manufacturer of luxury motor coaches in the United States. It manufactures two distinct luxury coaches, the Featherlite Vantaré® H3-45 and Vantaré® XLII, both Prevost® bus shell conversions that offer travelers the utmost in luxurious living accommodations, interior choices and leading-edge technological features. Featherlite customers are encouraged to participate from the earliest stages of design and production of their luxury motor coach, choosing from more than 200 amenities and state of the art options. Featherlite manufactures its luxury coaches at its facilities in Sanford, Florida, and it is the "Official Luxury Coach of NASCAR" with many of the NASCAR Officials, top drivers, owners and sponsors using Featherlite luxury coaches.

  9. #19
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    In a quick comparison, that appears to be identical to the link posted earlier in this thread http://www.fthrc.com/news_detail.cfm?news_id=139, although the date is different.


    Ray

  10. #20
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    Cynic that I am each time I read this I get a sense of what was not said.

    Does Vantare have unsold inventory? If the six locations listed are all going to have inventory was this deal structured to get that unsold inventory off the Vantare books and onto the CW books?

    It reads like this business plan is going to spread the sales outlets for conversions across the country. What is silent is that even without all these new sales outlets I suspect anyone anywhere that wants a coach is somehow able to buy one and get it serviced. Since it is unlikely the size of the market for conversions is going to be changed by this business model, exactly whose customers are going to migrate to the CW outlets?

    Will Vantare coaches sold at CW get equipped with the ever popular chinese awning lanterns? I wish I could watch this unfold as an insider. Somehow I cannot see a triple slide H3 sharing the same sales lot with a 26 foot Jayco. And how will it work when the customers are torn between the pop-up with the Coleman AC roof air and the XLII with granite floors. Something doesn't seem right.

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