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Conventional wisdom on Wall Street and among many involved in the RV industry is that the motorhome sector will eventually go through consolidation until only five or six manufacturers remain, similar to what is the case with the auto industry.
Well, Winnebago Industries Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Bruce Hertzke believes the motorhome sector is as fragmented as ever, although he also believes that dealers should be sure to partner with a manufacturer with a solid long term outlook.
During Winnebago’s annual Dealer Days gathering in Las Vegas last week, Hertzke said:
“Amazingly, this continues to be an industry where a bad year or two can result in a manufacturer going out of business. There are a few players, both major and minor, in our industry for whom the last couple of years haven’t been an easy trail ride.
“Amazingly, 10 years ago there were 34 different manufacturers of motorhomes.
“Today, after a considerable number of acquisitions, bankruptcies and mergers, there are 34 motorhome manufacturers in the business.
“That’s right, we’re in the same place we were 10 years ago. Companies look different, their products look different and several names on the products have changed.
“And through this whole process, far too many dealers got left in the dust and so did their customers. Stranded, in many cases, by a manufacturer who never made the kind of commitment it takes to be a proven performer in this industry.”