Friday, June 20, 2008

No more motorhomes

There are people arrested now in the United States that have been involved in one of the biggest scams ever.
Mortgages were sold willingly and on purpose to people that never could pay them back.
Mortgages with an interest rate of 1 %.
Not telling the clients that the mortgage had a flexible interest rate that would go up to 12 % and more within 2 years.

Next, these mortgages were sold as a package to bigger and foreign banks as prime investments.
With false documentation hiding the fact that they were unrealistic mortgages.

This is one of the consequences of a free and unregulated market where any vulture can go and look for prey.

Meanwhile, people are forced to leave their homes by the thousands, a worldwide economic crisis is growing, some bandits are caught but the real culprits are enjoying their newly acquired wealth.

One of the consequences of the current economic crises was revealed yesterday.
One of the United States' leading manufacturers of motor homes is Winnebago Industries Inc.
They make motor homes which are sold under the Winnebago, Itasca and ERA brand names.
Yesterday they published their business results for the third quarter.
Winnebago’s sales fell 40 %.
The company reported an operating loss of $6.9 million compared with an operating income of $14.7 million a year ago.

"The motor home market has changed significantly in the past year, with dramatic declines in the past few months," CEO Bob Olson said in a statement.
"Discretionary purchases have declined in the United States as the country is faced with unstable fuel prices, consumer confidence at 16-year lows and a tighter credit environment."

“Unstable fuel prices” ?
Fuel prices are steadily going up and up making people think twice before to buy a gas or diesel guzzling Winnebago.

Resulting in a drop of 40 % in sales.
And it is predicted sales volumes of motor homes to fall to levels not seen since 1991.

Logically Winnebago is badly hurt and prepares for a future not looking very good.
The company announced earlier this month plans to close its Charles City factory on August 1, eliminating 270 salaried and hourly employees.

The reality is that in these economically difficult times a 30 feet Winnebago Sightseer motor home will cost about 100.000 $ (65.000 €).
This kind of motor home has a 6.8 litre 10 cylinder engine consuming 8,5 miles to the gallon. (14 kilometres needing 3,78 litre = 1 litre drives 3,7 kilometres).
A little trip of let’s say 200 miles will cost the RV’er 23,5 gallons of gas at $4 is $ 95.
$ 50 for every 100 miles…

To remember also is that these days it is not really cheap anymore to stay in a campground.
For example, one night in the Koa Fresco campground will cost the RV’er $ 45 plus taxes.

Hence, a simple weekend trip will cost the Winnebagoer a few hundred bucks in gas and Koa besides the payment of the loan to the bank.

No wonder the RV-industry is collapsing.
Travelling in a motor home is becoming a privilege only affordable for the ones with money.


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