Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s RV Group continues to experience “pretty strong” dealer order backlogs despite the beginning of war in Iraq last week, according to Boyd Plowman, CFO.
“Retailers have not felt an impact (from the war) on traffic, which is a bit surprising to me,” Plowman said during an interview with RVBUSINESS.COM.
Although attendance at the Family Motor Coach Association International Rally in Pomona, Calif., March 21-23 was the lowest in 10 to 12 years, “we sold more coaches at that show than we have in recent memory,”
he said.
Currently, Fleetwood is experiencing the strongest dealer demand for its Class A motorhomes, particularly its Discovery- and Revolution-brand diesel pushers, and all of its fifth-wheel brands, Plowman said.
Despite the recovery of Fleetwood’s RV business, particularly its motorhome operations, which began last year, its manufactured housing business, particularly its manufactured home retail operations, have continued to struggle.
Consequently, Plowman said, Fleetwood executives told Wall Street investment analysts earlier this month the company “will fall short of profitability” during its fourth fiscal quarter, which will end on April 27.
Fleetwood returned to profitability during the second quarter of its fiscal year 2003, although it reported an $18.4 million net loss for its third fiscal quarter, which ended on Jan. 27. During the nine months ended Jan. 27, Fleetwood lost a total of $15.3 million.
For the RV market in general, Fleetwood executives are forecasting “a very modest uptick” in sales during calendar year 2003, said Plowman, who added, “I feel quite a bit better about our prospects because we’re gaining market share.”
The ultimate accuracy of the forecasts will depend upon the duration of the war in Iraq and the political situation in Venezuela, a major oil producer, Plowman said.