Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'RV Industry & Camping Related News' started by PopUpSteve, May 2, 2012.
SOURCE: RV Daily Report
While I'm sure this will be subject to debate, IMHO that's good news for Coleman owners and Aliner.
I'm new to RVs in general and a Coleman Yuma owner. Aside from the recent economic downturn and a few years of bad roofs, what killed Fleetwood/Coleman?
There's no list that everyone would agree on but here's a few likely factors that are in no particular order:
A general economic downturn that hurt the entire RV industry.
The ABS roof fiasco had to play a role. With a @15% failure rate, it was expensive to replace them and created bad customer relations and PR on boards like the Portal. Had to be some poor management decisions involved with this.
They had off/on labor issues for a number of years.
Sold to Blackstreet Capital, an investment firm that didn't have a clue on how to run a RV business. As with many investment firms, if it doesn't meet their profit requirements, they bail out.
As an owner of a 2008 Fleetwood Sea Pine I'm glad to hear that this has taken place.
For anyone who is a Coleman Geek like me, here are some links to good pictures of the new Somerset trailers.
I love these new Somerset's.
We saw these at the Tampa RV show in January. I was drawn to them when I saw a corner of a familiar looking camper peeking out from a big Class A bus.
I was so happy I hugged the guy there. He was from the Somerset plant and he and several guys were working on getting it rolling with Aliner.
They looked really nice. I hope it works out.
Hopefully there will be a dealer in New England sometime soon.
I wonder if they'll start cranking out replacement roofs for the ABS owners that need them? After 10 years, I've got 3 or 4 very fine eyelash size crazes in my roof, and know it's only a matter of time. The rest of the trailer is still very solid, roof still nicely domed.
Good news. Details of Coleman/Fleetwood will live on.
Not likely. Their roofs are slightly different than the Coleman roofs. The roof supports for their Somerset line were moved slightly and the new roofs wouldn't match up correctly with the old lift sytems.
I'll bet that Columbia Northwest will stay far, far away from the ABS roof issue. That would be jumping into a money pit.
Has anyone heard if the new units have made it to any Ontario, Canada dealers yet?
Since they're still a pretty new line, I'd contact the company directly and ask them for a list of dealers in your area.
Anyone know if they are going to be making spare parts for the older Fleetwood/Coleman models? Was looking at the pictures of the Utah that was posted and it looks almost exactly like my '04 Niagra (only a lot nicer!!). Only major difference I see is the Utah doesn't have the fold down step door. Based on just the lift arms, I'm guessing the lift mechanism is the same as the older F/C's.
I did quite a bit of research on this when I was shopping. Read a lot of articles and also talked extensively with one of my dad's buddies who was in the RV business from the late 70s until just this past year when he retired. It actually goes back further than the economic downturn and the bad roofs. In a nut shell, this is what I found out from various sources.
- In 1989, Coleman sells the plant and assets as well as the right to use the Coleman name to Fleetwood. It is my understanding that this was largely a strategic decision on Coleman's part. The pop up market had evolved considerably since 1967 when they rolled out their first folding tent trailer (which was largely considered to be a piece of camping gear) and was becoming ever more geared to the RV market, with pups adding all kinds of amenities previously unheard of in earlier years. Basically, it was not a part of the Coleman "vision" to become involved in the RV market and they wanted their focus to remain on camping gear/equipment. As one of the biggest names in the RV world, Fleetwood purchased the plant and assets, as well as name rights in order to broaden their market appeal to intro-level RV buyers.
- Fleetwood manufactured under the Coleman name from 1989 - 2008, however, dropped the "Coleman" in Coleman by Fleetwood in 2003. Unfortunately, Fleetwood never did have a great deal of success (relative to their higher end RVs) and the viability of the division was tenuous at best for many years. In a nut shell, Fleetwood was putting far more energy into the manufacture of these pop ups than they were getting out of them. By the late 90's and into the new millenium, manufacturing costs and corresponding stickers at the dealerships were coming on par with some of their TTs, which caused many 1st time buyers to simply bypass the pop up and go straight for the TT. Dealerships couldn't move this inventory as quickly as they could move other, bigger ticket items and dealer/manufacturer relations became more strained.
- In 2008, Fleetwood sold it's folding trailer division to Black Street Capital Partners, LLC...a venture capitalist firm, who renamed FTCA (Folding Trailer Company Aquisitions, inc) as part of a bankruptcy restructure. The division was the least viable of Fleetwood and therefore had to go in the restructure, along with some other properties and other equipment divisions. Being a venture capital firm, FTCA knew little about manufacture or marketing of these campers; it was an investment opportunity more than anything, and they relied heavily on the fact that they had also received the license to use the Coleman name in hopes that investment would pan out. Unfortunately, it didn't....venture capital firms are notorious for quickly cutting bait when something isn't working out so that they can put those investment $$ elsewhere, and that's pretty much what they did.
Now, in regards to the Sommerset....nice product, just wish they could get that price tag down a bit. I was at the dealership here a few weeks ago and toured a Utah with a sticker of $17.5K. It was nice and all, but not $17.5K nice....especially when it was parked right next to a TT with a tag of $19K.
Will Columbia Northwest supply parts for Coleman and Fleetwood Folding Trailers?
Somerset camping trailers are built with many of the same component parts that were used in the construction of folding trailers produced by Fleetwood Folding Trailers, Inc. and FTCA, Inc. While Columbia Northwest is not purposely planning to become a distributor for historical folding trailer parts, there will be parts available to dealers that can be retrofitted for use on Coleman and Fleetwood folding trailers. Contact your nearest Somerset dealer to inquire about parts availability. Parts available spring 2012.
Wolfman, thanks for the CliffsNotes version.
After crawling around my '09 Yuma, I have to wonder if construction suffered during the turmoil. I like some of the material and assembly choices, but the factory wiring is a mess at the converter, some of fastener placements are questionable, and all of the floor caulking appears to have been done by someone suffering the DTs. To me, it looks like work done by people worrying about their next paycheck, not the quality of their product.
At least it's a start to bringing the Coleman pup back. Hopefully the quality of workmanship will be there.