Tag Archives: RV industry news

Serro Scotty Worldwide Loses Third HiLander Manufacturer

What appears to be a familiar situation Serro Scotty Worldwide president Bill Kerola would rather not be in, he faces the task of lining up a new manufacturer for the popular Serro Scotty HiLander. When one is acquired, this will make the fourth manufacturer of the HiLander since Serro Scotty Worldwide was formed in 2006.

A few weeks ago, current manufacturer Cozy Travler, the HiLander’s manufacturer for less than a year, ceased production of their units, and along with it the HiLander.  Kerola had an order over the winter for 20 HiLanders to be built to create a solid inventory at his Transfer, Pennsylvania dealership. However, that order wasn’t fulfilled and currently there are just a couple of 2012 HiLanders available between Kerola’s Camper Store and Randy’s Trailer Town in Collinsville, Illinois.

In a phone conversation today, Kerola had just received word from a potential manufacturer in Indiana that they would not pursue building the HiLander due to the investment it would’ve taken to start building. His next step in the process is to approach the manufacturer of his Serro Scotty Sportsman model, which is currently building the first prototype of the new design. It’s under construction in a section of the old FCTA plant in Somerset, PA, which is where Coleman pop-ups were last built before closing in January 2011. The crew is comprised of mostly former Coleman/FTCA employees. Should they choose to stick with building only the Sportsman, Kerola tells me he’ll then “hit the streets” to line up a new manufacturer.

Taking production “in house” doesn’t appear to be an option just yet. Serro Scotty Worldwide general manager Tom Benedek explains, “It would take 150 units a year to make it work financially”. And demand for the retro travel trailers isn’t to that point. Where ever production of the HiLander lands, it will take approximately two months before they hit the market, due to engineering and getting familiar with them by the new manufacturer. The third unit in the Serro Scotty line, the Scotty Lite, continues to be built in central Florida by Trekker Trailers.

We’ll have more on the story as it develops over the coming months.

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Deal Struck to Bring Hi-Lo Back to Life

The man who resurrected the Serro Scotty line of small camping trailers five years ago is at it again. Bill Kerola announced last week he has come to an agreement to purchase the intellectual property of the defunct Hi-Lo trailer company, which ceased production in July 2010 after producing its unique telescoping travel trailers for over 50 years. The agreement includes Hi-Lo’s trademark, web site, blueprints, and goodwill of the company from the Snyder family.

A preliminary time line calls for a new website to be up & running by the end of 2011 with production of prototypes to begin over the winter.  It’s not known whether Hi-Lo will follow the same factory direct path that Serro Scotty has used for the past few years. I’ll post updates on this story as they develop.

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Cruiser RV Plans Production Increase

Howe, Indiana based Cruiser RV recently announced it’s expanding operations to a new facility in LaGrange, Indiana, which ultimately will create up to 200 additional jobs to a company currently employing 140, according to a report by kpcnews.com. Cruiser currently has the Shadow Cruiser, Fun Finder, and View Finder among their line-up.

 

“This is a very big step for us. We’re a family-owned company and are very conservative in what we do,” said Jeff Fought, president of Cruiser RV.

The company will invest more than $850,000 to lease a 140,000-square-foot LaGrange plant, add machinery for a new production line and make infrastructure improvements.

“We simply were busting at the seams in our current Howe facility and faced making a big decision,” Fought said. “We’ve been a single-plant organization since our inception, but we feel this is the logical next step for us. The LaGrange plant will give us the needed flexibility to expand our current product offering, while reducing our lead time during the peak selling season and improving overall product quality. We’re proud to be expanding in LaGrange County.”

The announcement by Cruiser is more validation the lightweight RV market continues to gain in popularity, as RV owners search for better fuel economy as gas prices increase. And it’s also good news for the entire Elkhart, Indiana area where the recession has hit the area hard.

 

 

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