Serro Scotty HiLander production update (or lack of)

I tend to get quite a bit of web traffic for those of you searching for information on the Serro Scotty HiLander. Like clockwork, I can count on at least one person every day doing  a search whose phrase either includes “hilander” or “highlander” .

What’s more, I also get the occasional e-mail from those of you who follow The Small Trailer Enthusiast and have for some time. A few of those e-mails have been on the topic of the HiLander and what the production status is of it. As some of you may recall, in March of 2012 I reported that Serro Scotty had lost its third manufacturer of the popular HiLander. The Serro Scotty web site has been going on with no updates of any kind. After talking with Bill Kerola back in August, the plan was for the guys building the redesigned Sportsman to also tackle building the HiLander once the Sportsman got out of the prototype stage.

This past week I decided to write Bill to see what the latest was. I was less than optimistic with his reply: “Unfortunately as of this moment, I do not have a projected date on when we will have the Hilanders back up in production. Hopefully I will know more in the near future.”. I’ve seen nothing to suggest the Sportsman is even moving along as well: No web site updates and no announcements about it at all.

I won’t go come out and say I think Serro Scotty is on life support, but I’m reasonably confident we won’t see a new HiLander available for purchase anytime in the foreseeable future. With that said, if you’re desperate to have a new generation HiLander, I’d suggest joining the Yahoo Group for the new generation Serro Scottys at: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/sierra_scotty_trailers There have been some that have become available by those members of the group who own them. If not there, then keep your eyes peeled for Craigslist and ebay, where you may just find your pot of gold.

16 Comments

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16 Responses to Serro Scotty HiLander production update (or lack of)

  1. another smalltrailerenthusiast

    Thanks for the update. Makes we wonder if the Hi-lo will even rise up to see a new day or not.

  2. John Conner

    I own a 2008 Serro Scotty Tonga. It is 4 years old as of December 2012…and although I love this trailer, I am EXTREMELY disappointed by the horrendously bad workmanship. This was my first travel trailer and I did not know what to look for in terms of fit / finish / materials / workmanship. Since my purchase, here is a list of just SOME of the problems I’ve had:

    MAJOR roof leaks, 2×4 floor support beams at front and back of trailer rotted to mush, multiple broken cabinet drawers, multiple plumbing leaks, peeling wallpaper, wheel wells separating from body, rapidly deteriorating exterior paint, sunlight visible around main door framing because of poor fit, leaking windows, leaking exterior lights, leaking exterior fan vent, water-warped interior walls, mold, mildew, left side galvanized fender-well rotted through…the list actually goes on…and remember, this trailer is ONLY 4 YEARS OLD!

    As far as assembly, they used misc. rough-cut scraps of wood and whatever screws were laying around on the work bench to assemble the interior. The drawers and interior fixtures are literally assembled with RANDOM screws and rough scraps of wood. I could not figure out why I had to “fight” the drawers to open them… turns out two different drawer guides were not even attached to the wall. They were not “broken off” the wall, they were simply never attached from the factory. This is just one example of the ridiculously shoddy interior workmanship. Crooked seams, gaps, sloppy caulking, ill-fitted cabinet doors, and nothing on square.

    Many of the exterior fixtures were held on with 1 or 2 screws…they would “miss” a solid anchor point when attaching an exterior light, or electrical outlet cover, or water intake connection so they just simply GLUED the remaining attachment screws into the fixture. Almost every exterior part on my travel trailer has glued in screws that are not attached to anything underneath. Water was entering the interior through most of these areas. ABSURD.

    I am a single guy and I’m exceedingly careful with all of my belongings…so NONE of these issues are due to abuse. The trailer is meticulously maintained but there’s no getting around the absurdly bad workmanship. To be clear, I am aggressively pro-active with the problems. When I noticed the roof leaks, I had a rubber roof applied immediately. When ANY new leak is discovered, it is repaired right away.

    Today, I noticed that the exterior aluminum skin had a small corroded perforation near the bottom front side of the body. I pushed on it and my finger poked through the aluminum trailer body! Further poking revealed a completely rotted 2 x 4 support beam running across the front of the trailer. I inspected the rear 2 x 4 support beam and it was completely rotted to mush too. That prompted me to do a little bit of googling and I found a guy with a 2007 Serro Scotty that was rotted much worse than mine. He posted a bunch of pics and it was shocking to see a 5 year old trailer in that stage of rot and decay.

    My Serro Scotty trailer was built by Sierra Interiors out of Indiana. For a 15″ trailer (12″ interior length) costing almost $15,000 I expected more. It’s a shame because the owner of Serro Scotty (Bill Kerola) is actually a nice guy with good intentions. I don’t think he knowingly (or at least willingly) let these shoddy trailers out of the Sierra factory…and I don’t think it was his intention to build and sell poor quality products. I do believe however, that his plans were flawed from the start. Instead of throwing the brand around from one manufacture to the next, he should have assembled a QUALIFIED TEAM in or near Transfer, PA and built the brand himself. And again, I would stress a QUALIFIED TEAM…professional industrial designers, professional interior designers, professional craftsmen. There is a cost-effective way to accomplish that…and he would have had a rock-solid, home run line of products. I recently saw the prototype of the new 2013 Sportsman (built by ex-Coleman camper employees in Somerset PA) and frankly, it was a disaster…ungainly, ponderous exterior profile, a ridiculously huge, bulbous, decidedly “un-retro” sky-light mounted on the roof, terribly mismatched interior colors and materials, awkward floor plan, and the exterior featured black trim, black windows and black accent pieces against a white and turquoise body…with “modern” aluminum wheels. At least cosmetically, it was a huge step backwards from the Sierra built units. To be fair, I can’t really comment on the quality of the workmanship because I only got a momentary “peek” at it.

    So in the end, maybe it’s a good thing that Serro Scotty is on life support because I suspect that my quality issues are not an isolated incident. If they close shop on this brand, customers will be spared from buying a grossly substandard product.

    And for the record, do I feel bad for criticizing Bill Kerola’s efforts? Yes, I actually do. I truly understand the MONUMENTAL effort it took to try and make this brand happen…but unfortunately in the end, his outsourced manufacturing plans did not work and a lot of people got stuck with an extremely shoddy product…including me.

  3. another smalltrailerenthusiast

    Thanks for keeping us informed John. There is also rvservicereviews.com to share with others. And scarry to hear about the 2007 Serro Scotty that was rotted much worse than yours. 10 to 15 grand is a lot of money to pay for something in my opinion.

    • Arlen Matson

      Thank you for your post! As much as I love the old Scotty’s (had 2 of them) I will look elsewhere. You’ve saved me a trip to Goshen.

  4. another smalltrailerenthusiast

    Another rotted out 2008 just posted in the yahoo group. Tom, Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:37 pm.

    whirl1@ had a 2010 built March 2010 leaking. Of course, others have no problems with them. There is SealTech leak test by pressurizing as an option. Nice blog Pat.

  5. John Conner

    Arlen,
    I don’t like being a wet blanket…but I thought others should know the truth about these trailers. To be fair, the horrendous quality issues could be isolated to the Sierra built units. I don’t know enough about the Cozy built trailers to offer an educated opinion.
    If you are looking for an authentic retro styled travel trailer, look into Paradise Coast RV out of Benton Harbor. They are a new company so use caution. I would want to be assured that they know what they’re doing and know how to build a quality product before committing to a purchase. I think that my next trailer might come from them. The only stipulation is that I would insist on walking it down the assembly line myself. After getting burned so badly on the Serro Scotty, I know what to look for and I understand what constitutes a quality travel trailer.

  6. Mark

    Boy am I glad I found this info. $15,000 is a ridiculous price for such a small unit. I hate shotty workmanship. I think I’ll look for an old used unit and do a rebuild. At lest I,ll have a quality unit with a retro look!

  7. Unfortunate update indeed. Hopefully things turn around.

  8. Jay

    I’ve had my 2011 Serro Scotty HiLander on the often stormy Central Coast of CA for the last year. No leaks or really, any other problems as everything works as new. I’ve found the materials and worksmanship way above the dismal standard for new trailers in general. And in fact, the carpentry work is first rate. I’ve enjoyed this trailer, but unfortunately have to part with it soon. See owners group for contact info.

  9. Jack

    Just bought a used 2009 Scotty Hilander. Had no idea they were so sought after. Look really good and pulled like a dream with my 2004 4X4 Tundra V8.
    I did hook up the trailer brakes and the really helped me stop in a couple of short stop encounters. This trailer is well balanced and pulled straight even when passed by a semi and in the wind.
    Can’t wait to get it out for a weekend trip.

  10. Kathy D.

    I am looking for another trailer and can’t quite put my finger on what I want. Like most of us, I want good workmanship, attention to detail and quality products. I’d also like a fiberglass roof. Tall order!! I know the Serro Scotty HiLander doesn’t offer the roof, it appeared to offer other things I’m looking for. Plus I like to support smaller, local companies rather than the huge mass production places. I’m so disappointed to hear about the discontinuation of production but equally disturbed to hear of the leaking problems with the HiLander. As of now, my search continues. I’ll check back periodically to see what other suggestions are out there.

  11. jeff M

    Hello everyone, I’m currently inquiring about a 2007 Hilander that the owner says it was never used, “new trailer smell”. What should I be on look out for?

  12. Joan arquilla

    Looking for a scotty hilander. What is the desired year and features to look for to achieve the highest quality of craftsmanship and safety. Sept.2015, midwest , michigan, or illinois.

  13. Carol

    I have a 1974 Serro Scotty Highlander Sportsman. Almost everything original.
    Little water damage at back of roof and back window. I would like to part with because of unfortunate events. If anyone is interested please contact me. carolday03@gmail.com

  14. Changed blower motor, resistor, and the switch panel ( not sure of the. And but where you adjust the speed and heating/cooling switch) it works but then suddenly it will stop working where it’s not even blowing. Lights on the switch still work but it just stops in the middle of operating and then starts again sometimes seconds later and other times not coming back in at all. Any advice? Connections to blower and behind the switches looked ok.

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