RV Industry Sinking Fast; Toxic Trailer Syndrome?

rv industry sinking fast toxic trailer syndrome

Last November, we told you the RV industry was tanking. Back then, Winnebago put a happy face on looming disaster, saying "we still have the demographic wind at our back." Fast forward four months and Winnebago's hanging on by the skin of its Vista. The Wall Street Journal reports that two smaller RV manufacturers have gone Tango Uniform; the big boys are in big trouble. " Coachmen Industries Inc., whose sales have declined 40% over the past three years, is borrowing against the value of life-insurance policies it holds on employees and retirees." Unlike GM's purchase of it's H.Q., " Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., which has posted five straight years of losses, recently sold its Riverside, Calif., headquarters and is seeking buyers for other properties, in an effort to raise $100 million to finance a looming bond redemption." The industry's set to take another hit, thanks to 145k trailers and mobile homes purchased by the U.S. government before and after Hurricane Katrina (shelling-out $2.7b in no-bid contracts, no less). Now known as Toxic Trailers— thanks to their high formaldehyde levels– the products are sure to inspire a class action lawsuit that could be a knockout blow both financially and PR-wise for the whole RV industry.

Join the conversation
4 of 15 comments
  • Eric_Stepans Eric_Stepans on May 14, 2008

    Menno wrote: ‘In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 48 degrees North Latitude, 90% of the world’s social problems evaporate. That might have something to do with 90% of the population also disappearing. How many major urban centers are that far north? Vancouver, B.C. is one...and they have problems with crime, drugs, traffic, etc. like any major American city. I went there for my honeymoon 10+ years ago and was amused that the city newspaper ran stories that could easily have been plucked from the SF Chronicle. menno wrote: Maybe .. SOME people will get the message .. The world does Not owe you a living. Perhaps not. But perhaps when the government says "Live here, these levees will keep out the lake water", it owes the taxpayers who paid for those levees ones that actually keep out the lake water. Similarly, if the government says "Here are some trailers in which you can live", it owes the taxpayers who paid for those trailers ones that don't poison the people living in them menno wrote: We put on an extra layers of clothes because up here it is ‘Work or Die’. Perhaps if the local residents in New Orleans were hired to do the reconstruction work, instead of companies bringing in illegal immigrants and then stiffing them for their pay . http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/64/22426 . there would be fewer social problems in the area. "There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong." - H.L. Mencken

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on May 14, 2008

    Actually, they make excellent guest quarters for your house, if you have more driveway than bedrooms and bathrooms. All the time I see RV's that never leave the driveway that I can tell have someone living in them. Perhaps a parent, or a teenager, or a bum brother-in-law? Just cause you buy one doesn't mean you have to drive it.

  • VLAD VLAD on May 15, 2008

    ^^ That's how you use them after a few trips around the country. At home you use them as guest quarters and in winter you drive to TX, AZ or Mexico and have a little apartment with all the conveniences and communication that can be used as a base for free. Then you take the bike and a tent or rent a jeep or something and go for camping trips. They also come in real handy if for whatever reason one needs to be completely self sufficient and off grid for a few weeks.

  • Menno Menno on May 15, 2008

    Good counerpoints, Eric. I just posted it; I didn't actually write it. But one of the points that I'm sure you'd agree with is that there are a number of folks (no matter where you live) who simply can't be bothered to do an honest day's work and yet seem "smart enough" to always find the way to milk the system and get the rest of us to pay their way through life. And lawyers to help enrich them (a tiny bit) and themselves (a lot). A certain Mr. Desrali, about 130 years ago (when running for Prime Minister of Great Britain) who said "first, we shoot all the lawyers" - he did get elected, then like most policitians, didn't keep his campaign promises! Yes, certainly, if folks have been TRULY poisoned by formaldahyde they should have compensation. Isn't it fascinating and interesting, though, that literally millions of these single wide trailers are built and sold every year with no ill effects? Not to mention double wides, and RV's. As for the writer's comments about 90% of the problems seem to disappear up north, I'm sure he was actually taking population into account. My impression from living in the north is that in bigger, anonymous places, people try to scam the system more, and in smaller towns and especially villages and close knit rural communities, people more naturally help one another out and simply get on with life AND WORK. Plus, when you live in an area where one wrong turn in the winter time can lead to your dying, and everyone knows it, people tend to look out for one another a bit more and think of it as normal.