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Old 06-13-2009, 08:49 AM   #1
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Monaco and/or Navistar vs. Fleetwood

Some of you may have noticed by my postings that I am upset with the way the whole chapter 11 of Monaco transpired. Although my coach warranty has expired I still had a chassis warranty. With Roadmaster gone that warranty is also toast. Many of you will recall that Monaco started to not pay for warranty as early as Sept. 2008. Dealers had claim #'s but never got paid. Then dealers stopped accepting warranty work. Monaco told these customers to send in their invoices for reimbursement. Of course no monies were ever paid to the dealers or the customers. Also note that there were 2 ( I think it was 2) Navistar people on Monaco's Board. After many months Moanco went into chapter 11. Navistar expressed an interest in buying some of the assets. As this process moved on Roadmaster was put into chapter 7. That company was owned by both Monaco and Navistar. I am not one who believes in conspiracy theories but something is not right!! Navistar buys the best assets of what was a good company for pennies on the dollar, assumes no liabilities and the same people are in charge???

Now consider Fleetwood, a close rival of Monaco. Back in early 2008 Fleetwood was suffering the same as Monaco. They had the good sense to close some plants and consolidate the Class A manufacturing in one location. Monaco did the same but much later. Although Fleetwood laid off a lot of staff they kept the plant running by closing for weeks and then opening for a few days. During this time frame they paid all dealer's warranty claims and still supplied parts. I dont know if they paid their suppliers but I am guessing they did pay their bills. Finally they went into Chapter 11. Nothing changed. Customers still had warranty and dealers were paid. On June 2 a venture capital firm bought the assets for almost the same amount as the Monaco deal. BUT ( THIS IS IMPORTANT) the price of $53 million was reduced by $18 million to cover liabilities inclding warranty claims. I doubt the new owners did this because they are altruistic . No, it was a smart business decision. If they are to grow the company and earn a handsome profit on their investment they need to have a seamless transition. Customers who are on dealer lots looking at a coach need to know that whether it is an unsold 08, new 09 or one that was produced today Fleetwood will treat all customers the same ( some would say that Fleetwood never treated their customers well??) Obviously these are smart business people. I wonder about Navistar.

Some posters on various forums have said that the warranty issue will have no effect on the new Monaco. I disagree. This is being discussed in a lot of forums and Monaco is doing nothing to protect their reputation. The summer camping season is here and owners will be talking about this subject around the campfires!! A company's reputation is not always about reality. It is about perception.

We are very pleased with our Monaco and if they resolved this issue I would consider buying another in a heartbeat. I will also add that Monaco did keep some tech support people on staff during this turmoil and they were extremely helpfull.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:00 AM   #2
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I bought a used Travel Supreme January 2008 and they went Chapter 11 the week I got it. Since then, their assets were bought by Jayco, who now has it back in production under the Entegra name. But that didn't help any warranty issues I may have had.

Or, you could have bought an Alfa, where now even the tooling has been trashed. No recourse there.

I have a 2 week old Monaco Camelot and no warranty. Sure, I would like full warranty coverage, and I hope nothing goes wrong, but at least I know I can still get support and/or parts.

A year from now all this will be in the distant past and our concerns and gripes now will have little effect on the marketplace. I would say the average RV owner does not read forums, just visits dealers etc. and sales will go on. I understand where you're coming from, but in the long run business marches on. Consumers in general have short memories.

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Old 06-13-2009, 09:34 AM   #3
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Yes, young consumers or 1st time purchasers have short lived memories. Us old timers that upgrade or buy the expensive MHs have long turn memories (accept those of us with Dementia) and typically are not very forgiving.

I for one believe that they have made a stupid decision. I do not like to deal with stupid people. I think it will come back to haunt them.

By the way, there is a chink in the armor, I have heard rumors that they are already making some exceptions. Once the water starts to leak out of the dam, the flood gates are opened.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:31 AM   #4
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John:

Your buying a 2009 without warranty is not a valid example. You purchased it knowing full well there would be no warranty. You also got a discount that will easily make up for not having a warranty. How do you think one of our forum members feels after paying out something like $20,000 for roof repairs. I bet your comments would be different if that was you!!
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Old 06-13-2009, 01:09 PM   #5
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When WRV closed, I asked a retired banker buddy something to the effect of, "What the *#&%@^^!!, one minute they are making promises about a glorious tomorrow and the next they walk into the shop & tell everyone to get out cuz the power is being shut off & everyone (customer, employee, shareholder, banker, supplier) is S.O.L.?"

He said that's how it has to happen. If you ease into shutdown, everybody knows it & there is a "run on the bank" for every sort of liability claim (warranty, supplier, bank loan, landlord, etc.) that for a hopeful while has been juggled to keep all the balls in the air. In effect, money guys sit in a dark back room watching the cash & projections till it is obvious it won't work, then the whistle blows.

Fleetwood may have been an exception as to the shutdown. Alfa, WRV, CC all worked as above as well as Monaco. That Fleetwood worked differently coming out of BK is a matter of what the bidder thought was workable coupled with what they thought other bidders might bring and what they thought the Court would swallow. In Monaco's case, maybe there would have been other bidders, and maybe the court would have listened to the ongoing biz plan vs. the net receipts of creditors.

Navistar's approach squares with the picture I get of Workhorse's approach to business. Following the Workhorse Forum here on iRV2 for not too long (I am vicariously interested in how they will handle their ongoing brake recall, for no good reason other than monitoring business models), I get the feeling the WH answer to every question is call WH tech support and they will direct you to an authorized WH Service Center who will make sure the appropriate royalty is paid to WH for dealing with you as our customer, and we will deal w/them not you if possible, but if it is an absolute emergency we will deal w/you and ship you parts at our idea of retail cost plus our idea of handling charges. This is an old school business model that views a customer as an endless stream of payments kind of like the old GM "Planned Obsolescence." Mind you, that is my impression, and it is based on the subset of observations here (of which not a small number are positive) and with ex-WH personnel who were hired at WRV near the end.

As far as what that has to do w/the Monaco asset purchase, they can't control what they had nothing to do with in the first place. So taking on M's warranties to service customers who were never "trained" into the you-as-a-customer-are-forever-beholden-to-us-for-satisfaction-and-we-get-to-charge-you-for-the-pleasure business model can't really work till the customer is truly a WH-tutored customer w/a WH warranty w/WH warranty methods & service cost royalties paid back to WH (or Navistar or whatever we want to call the new entity). Again, my impression based on WH customer feedback here & brief interaction w/ex-WH employees. This seems to say- take care of getting the money from customers and we can afford to offer great customer experiences. In my opinion it probably bodes very very well for Tiffin. Based on gleanings from Tiffin owners, Tiffin is in business to make customers happy, and the money is simply a result. I suspect Fleetwood won't make any better product than they did before, now that they are fully inder the thumb of money guys. I don't have any idea of Newmar's situation or customer satisfaction issues; ditto Forest River tho I'd guess they are a comer if anybody is.

All this is idle speculation on my part, not so idle for those w/trash warranties (tho I guess I'm one of those also, just not a Monaco-trash warranty). I'm still most curious about how NavMon will manage existing dealer inventory when they try to sell warrantied coaches alongside unwarrantied; what a pickle.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:00 PM   #6
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One of the things to remember is that we view one side of the issue. Ours is emotional, and I feel for the guy with a 20K roof repair. We all would have liked our warranties to be better.

But Navistar views it from a different perspective. They want to minimize expenses and maximize revenues, that is what their managers are graded on. They bought Monaco as an asset purchase, a legal procedure that allows them to assume the company name and know how while avoiding liabilities. At this time, they are adhering to this purchase agreement, to wit, no prior liabilities (and owner warranties are liabilities) were purchased. "So sorry, MH owner, your warranty is void, we have no legal responsibility."

Is this a good policy? Certainly, many of us, including me, will disagree. But in the long run, if they make the Monaco RV LL thing work, then in a year or so they're heroes, at least in their eyes. So their stated business plan at this time is to disavow existing warranty claims.

Who knows, they may change this policy as they get more into the business model, and I hope they do. But just remember that they are making business decisions, and only time will tell if they are right or wrong. We, the current owners of Monaco products, may boycott as a sign of protest but I doubt that will have too much effect on the bean counters in their mahogany paneled offices. But if sales don't pick up in 6 months or so...

BTW, think one step further. If things do not work out for Monaco RV LLC, what do you think will happen? My guess is they will close her down, sell whatever assets they can to cut their losses, and Monaco RV LLC will be gone, like totally. Then where will we get parts?

John
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:33 PM   #7
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One has to rememer that a Monaco MH was/is not a $100 Ipod. If Ipod ( Apple) went into chapter 11 and you were left without a warranty the loss is miniscule. I dont know what the average MSRP of a Monaco is but I would guess close to $200,000. For many people this is more than they paid for their house. Deserting them and then continuing the business under new ownership ( legally) is not the correct thing to do. The consumer c be very fickle. I still believe that they do not do something about the warranties it could very well be their downfall. You can bet that if this were OTR trucks they would not get away with deserting their customer base. The truckers would revolt. I still think that there is more to this story. Both in what has transpired and what will come.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:57 PM   #8
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But what would you have them do? If the warranty liabilities came with the purchase, Navistar may have walked and we would have no deal. I feel I am better off with no warranty and the company in business than with no warranty and the company gone the way of Alfa and others. At least I have something.

I think I know what you want, that is, business as before but clearly that didn't work for them so some new business plan needed to be made. This is what we got, and we will have to live with it.

John
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:59 PM   #9
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Friendly Reminder

Just a "Thank You" for staying civil to each other and friendly reminder to continue to do so, folks!



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Old 06-14-2009, 12:02 AM   #10
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Not exactly an OTR, but GM just pulled the plug on their medium duty trucks (4500/5500/6500) effective July. That includes dealer support...

John
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnCamelot View Post
Not exactly an OTR, but GM just pulled the plug on their medium duty trucks (4500/5500/6500) effective July. That includes dealer support...

John
That will affect folks who purchased a new Super "C" built on medium duty 4500/5500/6500.

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Old 06-14-2009, 10:51 AM   #12
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John: Where did you get the info that they stopped dealer support? There had been runours for over a year that they would stop selling those vehicles and I think they tried to get Isuzu to buy it. But I find it hard to believe they pulled a "Monaco".
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:57 AM   #13
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http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/..._W2OgD98MMQ700

Here is the link to the press release. Note the line about working with dealers for 18 months to help them sell the remaining units. They are not withdrawing support.
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Old 06-14-2009, 05:04 PM   #14
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Although this is a little off the main subject of this thread I do think it has some pertinence to whether Navistar will indeed offer warranty on at least the motorhomes built but not sold prior to Monaco filing chapter 11.
I hate rumors and can't offer any validity to what was told to me but I think that there is still the possibility that there will be warranties offered on the unsold inventory.
I recently was told that the largest Monaco dealer in the country is puting considerable pressure on Navistar to offer warranties. I will not repeat who told me this just to protect the individual but I think it makes sense that a dealership that sells a lot of Monaco/ now Navistar products has considerable leverage to use in negotiations. You know with Navistar basically taking over new the dealerships don't have to stay with them.
As one poster put on here, its going to be real interesting with prior motorhomes with no warranties up beside post chapter 11 ones that have a warranty. I'm sure that having several million dollars of inventory thats not moving isn't sitting well with the dealer. I would think other dealers are upset also.
I know this won't help the existing motorhome owners that were still under warranty even if it does happen but I think maybe the whole story hasn't been written just yet.
You know, I am close to purchasing a new motorhome so I am watching closely myself and depending on how this plays out will determine if I purchse another Monaco product or not. I don't believe you reward bad service by continuing to buy said product.
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