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Old 11-23-2007, 07:45 AM   #1
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I've not been online for some time due to moving but today I found out that our local dealer that services Holiday Rambler motorhomes is no longer carrying HR motorized vehicles and has now been totally merged (actually taken over) with camping world.

I was told (Unofficially) that things have totally changed and that many people have been fired to bring in their own people to "control" things and others are leaving the dealership as a result of all the changes camping world is making. I was also told that Camping World has some other major changes planned within the RV industry but I can't share them here.

Arg...how frustrating that the Affinity group is planning a hostile takeover of the RV industry and that is exactly what has happened in this situation. The original deal with the dealership was to comingle and then it took advantage of a situation (one of the co-owners wanted to retire) and took over and then fired the former co-owner who remained along with many others in the company. They have gotten rid of almost all the motorized RV's and major changes in the service department that is not "user friendly". Bottom line is that we, the customer is getting a raw deal (in terms of less service) as well as the dealerships that have been taken over.

The former co-owner is now opening his own dealership right down the road (good for him) and while we might have bought a new coach from the other dealers before we will now no longer do business with them because I won't do business with a major conglomerate who cares nothing about the small business owner, it's customers or customer service.

Nedra
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Old 11-23-2007, 07:45 AM   #2
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I've not been online for some time due to moving but today I found out that our local dealer that services Holiday Rambler motorhomes is no longer carrying HR motorized vehicles and has now been totally merged (actually taken over) with camping world.

I was told (Unofficially) that things have totally changed and that many people have been fired to bring in their own people to "control" things and others are leaving the dealership as a result of all the changes camping world is making. I was also told that Camping World has some other major changes planned within the RV industry but I can't share them here.

Arg...how frustrating that the Affinity group is planning a hostile takeover of the RV industry and that is exactly what has happened in this situation. The original deal with the dealership was to comingle and then it took advantage of a situation (one of the co-owners wanted to retire) and took over and then fired the former co-owner who remained along with many others in the company. They have gotten rid of almost all the motorized RV's and major changes in the service department that is not "user friendly". Bottom line is that we, the customer is getting a raw deal (in terms of less service) as well as the dealerships that have been taken over.

The former co-owner is now opening his own dealership right down the road (good for him) and while we might have bought a new coach from the other dealers before we will now no longer do business with them because I won't do business with a major conglomerate who cares nothing about the small business owner, it's customers or customer service.

Nedra
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:28 AM   #3
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Nedra, I don't think Camping World is staging a hostile takeover of the RV industry. That's painting with a pretty broad brush. I do know that they are expanding their Freedom Roads dealerships. They bought out a local dealer here in my area but I have not seen too much change there yet. Not to say it isn't going to happen. It's too bad they bought out "your" favorite dealership. Sounds like it is just time to move on and find another that you like. That is what makes America so great! Multiple businesses and we get to choose where we spend our money.
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:57 AM   #4
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The Affinity Group (AGI) owns Camping World, Freedom Roads, Good Sam, Coast to Coast and several other businesses. They are strong-arming dealers and it has been reported in RV journals.

Freedom Roads bought Stouts RV south of Indianapolis and turned it from a friendly dealership into a nightmare. Tom Stinnett RV in Clarksville, Indiana (Louisville, KY) signed a contract with Camping World and built a building for their store. Freedom Roads tried to buy the dealership and Stinnett refused so Camping World broke their contract and closed the new store.

Freedom Roads dealers require RV manufacturers give them a discount on new RVs lower than other dealers pay and some of the manufacturers have refused. So Freedom Roads will not sell RVs from those manufacturers.

So my term is AGI is strong-arming dealers and it reminds me of when I was a kid. The neighborhood bully would make the rules for games and if everyone did not follow his rules he would take his ball home so no one could play.
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:03 AM   #5
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I agree with the statements you have made. I used to do business with both Camping World and Campers Choice before the Affinity Group bought Campers Choice out and closed them down. Since then I have noticed that the cost of camping supplies at Camping World has gradually increased. The Camping World Dealerships that I have visited seem to have a "take it or leave it" attitude. I won't be buying anything from them again. There are several other stores that are more competitive in their prices[less expensive] than Camping World.
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:55 AM   #6
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Maybe its time to shop at this site LINK and support one of our own.
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Old 11-23-2007, 12:42 PM   #7
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I too use www.rvupgrades as well as Atlas Supply in Houston.

Both treat me well and are competitive.

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Old 11-23-2007, 01:00 PM   #8
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Cast my vote to support RV Upgrades. I have made only a couple of purchases from them. They have been very helpful, prompt delivery and prices that consistently beat Camping World.
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Old 11-23-2007, 02:18 PM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Sundevil:
Nedra, I don't think Camping World is staging a hostile takeover of the RV industry. That's painting with a pretty broad brush. I do know that they are expanding their Freedom Roads dealerships. They bought out a local dealer here in my area but I have not seen too much change there yet. Not to say it isn't going to happen. It's too bad they bought out "your" favorite dealership. Sounds like it is just time to move on and find another that you like. That is what makes America so great! Multiple businesses and we get to choose where we spend our money. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually according to what the head honcho's at Camping World said to the dealership after they fired the former co-owner was that it was their ultimate plan to control the RV manufacturers. What that means is only a guess but I suspect that they have even bigger plans than to just take over dealerships.

My friend who has worked at American RV for many years says that they came in making promises of no changes when they co-mingled. Then when one owner decided it was time to retire Camping World big wigs managed to woo them into merging with yet more promises of no changes. Six months later people started getting fired including the co-owner that remained. Last week they started making BIG changes (customers will not notice the changes) in service and also getting rid of a lot of the former RV manufacturers they used to carry.

My friend says that the changes are not nice ones and will ultimately impact on the quality of service you get at Camping World...what a surprise! He says that most of the old timers are already looking for other jobs and some are hoping the former owner opens up shop very soon so they can move down the road.

So, my words of hostile take over are really not that far off because it is just that as far as the take-over in dealerships so far so I see no reason to believe that the rest of their plans are any less hostile.

The sense the dealership is now getting is that Camping World will be in bed controlling, if not taking over some of the manufacturers that they are now selling. Those manufacturers that don't want to play with Camping World are pulling out. The feeling is that those manufacturers that don't want to be swallowed up by Affinity will be sold at the small local dealers and leave the dealerships that are taken over by Camping World.

The sales people at American are telling people they stopped selling those brands because they haven't been selling and they are weeding out the slow movers. My friend says it's untrue because he sees what is selling and what is being prepped for a new owner and when they decided to stop selling Holiday Rambler motorcoaches it's hard to say it's because they are not selling when in fact they were.

The former owner of American in Albquerque is opening up a dealership just down the street from Camping World and is taking over the HR dealership. A smart move because my friend says they have already been losing business since the take-over.

I'm anxious to see what happens at American...excuse me, Camping World. They became Tiffin dealers not too long after they moved into their new facilities with Camping World (before the take-over) and have been pushing Tiffin products but now with the take-over I'm wondering if they will continue to sell them. I guess time will tell.

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Old 11-24-2007, 04:01 AM   #10
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I use camping world only when I have too. RVUPGRADES for me. Most of the time better Price. MOST.. Not always.
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:33 AM   #11
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Nedra,
If the owners willingly sold their business to CW, there was no hostile take over. What you descrided happened after the purchase is what happens to people working for the business that was bought. This has been going on since the beginning of business. In my career, I witnessed this too many times to count. The bottom line is all businesses, including CW must make a profit to stay in business. This means they must remain competitive with the products and services they offer for sale. There will always be enough choice to keep CW competitive (maybe not the cheapest, but competitive).

A hostile take over is when a company is purchased (usually via a stock purchase) against the current owners (or board members) wishes.
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:40 AM   #12
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The article that I read said Freedom Roads, which is like a Co-op of dealerships bought Camping World from AGI?
It read as if Freedom Roads had no connection with AGI?
Any update?
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:51 AM   #13
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I did some checking on Freedom Roads web site and if you go back to a press release from 2004 , the company is at least partly owned by Stephen Adams, who also owns AGI, or the Affinity Group.
I apologize for the mis information.
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:59 AM   #14
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Hi FC,
Go here to read about Affinity selling CW to Freedom Roads. Remember, all three companies (FR, CW and Affinity) are owned by the same person. This was just an internal company reorganization, for reasons we will never know.
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