U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., whose district includes northern Indiana’s RV manufacturing area, expects that Navistar International Corp. will begin building recreational vehicles again in factories closed by Monaco Coach Corp.
Speaking to the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) 2009 National Issues Conference April 28-29 at the newly opened National Visitor Center on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Donnelly added that he’s confident that RV sales will pick up when credit markets stabilize and the U.S. economy recover.
“We were encouraged by the fact that Navistar is going to be picking up Monaco Coach,” Donnelly told state campground association leaders. “It’s not all official yet, but it looks like they will be manufacturing again in Elkhart County (Ind.)
Monaco filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, and Navistar, which had partnered with Monaco manufacturing chassis in Elkhart, Ind., has offered $52 million to purchase most of Monaco’s RV manufacturing assets, including factories in Indiana and Oregon. In addition, if the deal is finalized by June 1, Navistar will acquire all brands, intellectual property, inventories and equipment relating to Monaco’s product lines.
Donnelly told the campground association leaders that when the RV industries turns around, there will be more demand than ever for places to take RVs.
“There is going to be demand for these products and they have to go someplace,” the Democrat told the RV park and campground operators. “Where they go in so many places is your businesses. You are the heart and soul of the American dream.”
Donnelly, who serves on the Capital Markets Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, said Congress is doing its best to stabilized the American economy.
“We are getting closer on the credit market,” Donnelly said. “With home mortgages, the `liar loans’ are gone and the crazy adjustable rates that changed every three months, they’re going too. We’re back to basics, but we’re a lot better off for it. We will be a lot more solid because of it.”
Donnelly said he is co-sponsor of legislation that attempts to deal with the speculative run-up of crude oil prices that sent gasoline prices over $4 a gallon last summer.
“I’m no clairvoyant, but much of what happened to prices was done on speculation,” he said. “We sat there day after day watching demand continue to go down as prices continued to go up.
“And what we saw was that (investment banker) Morgan Stanley was one of the world’s largest owners of petroleum. What was clearly going on was price manipulation.”
Donnelly said that legislation pending the House Agriculture Committee would require that buyers of petroleum futures contracts have the facilities to store the oil they buy.
“(That means) if someone has a million-gallon contract, they have to be able to store a million gallons,” Donnelly said. “That’s how it was until 1999. That’s what we are trying to get back to now. That would make it a fair market and an appropriate market.”