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Fleetwood Caravans

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why did this company go bust?....lack of sales? to expensive? as an owner of a 560-4 i cannot fault the van in any shape or form. ...so what went wrong?? ta

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It is a great shame IMO that Fleetwood went through.

 

I recently had the chance to buy an 09 Heritage 640CB which was a really stunning van, the general finish and kit was outstanding.

 

We were very much thinking of changing our current van for the Fleetwood but did get concerned about the availability of parts such as panels and for this reason we didn't buy the van, only days later it sold!!

 

Stunning vans and a real shame that they did go through. I can't understand how it happened, I imagine they were making little profit on the vans. From memory the cost of the Heritage wasn't out of line with other manufacturers for similar van but they packed in some expensive standard kit such as solar panel standard and washrooms with glass bowls etc etc.

 

Ian

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Quote "why did this company go bust"

 

Try a recession for one, the banks not extending credit for two, being a small volume manufacturer for three.

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Guest Grump

Adria part owned Fleetwood but since 2009 arn't they now owned wholly by them?

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Did they go bust? They were bought and owned by Adria who then stopped manufacturing at the Fleetwood site, a site in the middle of a town accessed via a narrow passage not ideal for large transports going in and out.

However it was mega prime building land in one of the dearest parts of the country, and we were at the time in the middle of the greatest housing boom ever!!

 

 

. ....or am I being cynical?

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Quote "why did this company go bust"

 

Try a recession for one, the banks not extending credit for two, being a small volume manufacturer for three.

 

 

Hi Brecon. If they were a small/low volume manufacturer what would you call Coachman?.

In the early days Fleetwood made some tidy little caravans and some of their twin axles were clones of others,not least of all the 1992 Fleetwood Colchester 1850 5berth. It was a Double Dinette & one transverse rear bunk. Their main issue was that their scales read gobble de gook. There published Ex Works weight were nothing short of a joke and the nose weight on our van was in need of serious ballasting at the near to rear end upon collection and that was before a battery & gas bottle was installed.

Adjusting the payload to our required 75kgs maximum towball weight was an exercise indeed.

Fleetwood started producing some really nice & much improved vans towards the end of the 90's and continued doing for a while,then they used the moulded 'Nosecone' on the second generation Heritage front panel that had been used by ABI just prior to cessation of their touring caravans in favour of only producing statics.

Their troubles appeared to begin when they got 'into bed' with Adria. Indeed some of their caravans looked like 'Badge Engineered' Adria vans. The rest is history as they say.

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As an owner of a 2007 Heritage, I think Fleetwood produced an excellent product, which appeared to be way ahead of the 'mass marketing' types like LUNAR and SWIFT etc. I was told by an insider that when Adria brought Fleetwood under their wing, they basically used the Fleetwood distribtion and dealer network to push their own Adria vans onto the UK market, at the expense of Fleetwood - leading to the ultimate collapse of Fleetwood as a 'Marque'.

 

Seems to be a recurring theme in the UK. ... good quality 'small' producers being bought out by the big money boys and then swept under the carpet.

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I have only just recently sold my 2007 Heritage. I bought it new. It was an outstanding van. Excellent quality and no trouble at all. I was as shocked as others when they stopped trading.

I would say to anyone looking at buying one, do it! Some absolute bargains out there. Front and rear panels can be repaired easily by a decent bodyshop.

Internal cupboard doors etc rarely get damaged to the point of needing replacement. All other parts are just universal anyway. .

 

Kev.

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My third van was a early 90's Fleetwood Colchester twin bought it second hand. Had it for nearly 7 years. Never had one bit of bother until the dreaded damp appeared so traded it in for my present van in 2004. The van was away ahead of its time. It had light switches on the wall, two extractor fans, electric loo, electric and gas water heater,air blown heating on electric and gas and the build quality was outstanding and a smashing looking unit under tow. ..........

 

Grumpy auld Smeesh. ............ :angry:

 

Ace Jubilee Statesman . ......Jaguar S Type 2. 7d SE Auto Sport . ........

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My third van was a early 90's Fleetwood Colchester twin bought it second hand. Had it for nearly 7 years. Never had one bit of bother until the dreaded damp appeared so traded it in for my present van in 2004. The van was away ahead of its time. It had light switches on the wall, two extractor fans, electric loo, electric and gas water heater,air blown heating on electric and gas and the build quality was outstanding and a smashing looking unit under tow. ..........

 

Grumpy auld Smeesh. ............ :angry:

 

Ace Jubilee Statesman . ......Jaguar S Type 2. 7d SE Auto Sport . ........

 

Hi Smeesh. Yes our previous van was a 1992 Fleetwood Colchester 1850 Twin Axle Double Dinette. I took out the rear cushions & dropped a 3/4 mattress straight in. The van was damaged in a freaky accident down at storage and became a Total Loss.

At 18yrs old and having had some remedial work done after a failed lateral seam on the rear roof section and after 14yrs of use it was as dry as a bone.

My only critism was the pain in the backside drop-down washbowl/sink in the washroom.

I had only just completed a complete refurb of curtains,carpet & upholstery,it was a part my work before I retired.

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adria took over as the were going under they took the oppertunity tore badge but they were already gone its normal to erase a rival one less to compette against. Maybe to much money poor back up /parts could be to blame and heavy to tow for size (i could be wrong).

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why did this company go bust?....lack of sales? to expensive? as an owner of a 560-4 i cannot fault the van in any shape or form. ...so what went wrong?? ta

 

They never went bust, the owners decided to put the company in to administration. All the creditors were paid out and virtually no one lost out any money. As it happens I only deleted the creditors report today but I do remember the the money received for the assets I know about was way more than the debts on the creditors list. Fleetwood would not have shown a profit for a few years but it would have held it's own like it always did and the reality is that Fleetwood would still be here today if they were still UK owned. Lets face it, in the last 3 years of production they were the best vans on the market, they knew style, they knew class and they knew how to give customers what they wanted and not what they thought they wanted. the Fleetwood Virtual tours site is still up and running, Google it and see how brilliant they still look inside and out. Remember that front and back capping hit the market in 2003 and still looks very good today.

 

T. B

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They never went bust, the owners decided to put the company in to administration. All the creditors were paid out and virtually no one lost out any money. As it happens I only deleted the creditors report today but I do remember the the money received for the assets I know about was way more than the debts on the creditors list. Fleetwood would not have shown a profit for a few years but it would have held it's own like it always did and the reality is that Fleetwood would still be here today if they were still UK owned. Lets face it, in the last 3 years of production they were the best vans on the market, they knew style, they knew class and they knew how to give customers what they wanted and not what they thought they wanted. the Fleetwood Virtual tours site is still up and running, Google it and see how brilliant they still look inside and out. Remember that front and back capping hit the market in 2003 and still looks very good today.

 

T. B

 

Hi TB. That Front Nosecone was taken up by Fleetwood after ABI ceased Touring Caravan production in favour of Static Caravan production.

Google ABI Grandioso and see what I mean. I still think that Fleetwood were very underrated in their latter years of production.

I think that the absence of a lateral Island Bed was not a good move.

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I think there’s many theories as to why Fleetwood was liquidated and many of those centre around the parent company, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the ability of that operation to generate an acceptable return over the medium/long term.

 

That would depend on the market conditions medium term and the projections for the long term, and, where that manufacturer is positioned relative to other manufacturers in the medium term.

 

On the former the markets were in recession with the overall volume in a slow decline, particularly in the high end caravans and this was/is giving way to the motor home production, which would have been a real worry for Fleetwood’s future volume projections.

 

However, I think the nail in Fleetwood’s coffin was where they were on the design and development side. Their flagship was the Heritage, as fantastic a caravan as it was, and still is, its position relative to other manufacturers was diminishing and their ability to attract a premium becoming even more difficult.

 

Let’s face it the external design apart from a few cosmetic changes over the years has been around since 2003, and I wouldn’t mind betting that they had a capital project planned out to update the caravan to the next generation.

 

That of course would require a significant capital investment programme that the parent company would be asked to fund, and therefore, would have looked over with a magnifying glass to determine what the return on their investment would look like.

 

So, to me, it looked like the return in investment was not good enough in a declining market for a small caravan manufacturer, so the parent company would have opted for plan B, or was that A, as you see today.

 

I know the level of finish in the parent companies offerings aren’t as plush today as Fleetwood’s were in 2008 but the external structure design is far superior through investment in design and technology.

 

I would also suspect that the same base reasons applied to Avondale.

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I think it was more simple, to do with the recession which bit hard in 2008. Everyone stopped buying cars, caravans, houses, everything. Cash flow dried up, banks stopped lending and even went bust themselves.

 

I think that the absence of a lateral Island Bed was not a good move.

Hey Rooster, do you mean the 2009 640i?

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I think it was more simple, to do with the recession which bit hard in 2008. Everyone stopped buying cars, caravans, houses, everything. Cash flow dried up, banks stopped lending and even went bust themselves.

 

 

Hey Rooster, do you mean the 2009 640i?

 

Hi limmec. I am not familiar with the 640i,was it an Island bed that was longitudinal rather than transverse ?.

Indeed if it was longitudinal was it introduced for/in 2009 or prior under another model name ?.

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The 640i was introduced in 2007, it had a similar layout to the 640-ES but with a fixed island double bed across the rear.

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Hi limecc. I am not familiar with the 640i,was it an Island bed that was longitudinal rather than transverse ?.

Indeed if it was longitudinal was it introduced for/in 2009 or prior under another model name ?.

Here it is:

http://fleetwood. uk-virtualtours. co. uk/

 

640I: Transverse fixed island bed

640ES-D: Transverse fixed end bed

640ES-T: Twin Longitudinal sofa/beds

640ES-6: An ES-T + bunks = 6 berth

640CB: Centre fixed Longitudinal bed

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hi there

 

have just purchased a fleetwood countryside 2000 500 EB

would anyone know where I would get my hands on a manual

not sure where to start?

 

many thanks

 

SON

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hi there

 

have just purchased a fleetwood countryside 2000 500 EB

would anyone know where I would get my hands on a manual

not sure where to start?

 

many thanks

 

SON

The Fleetwood Owners Club would be a good place. Check out this link:

 

http://www. fleetwood-owners-club. co. uk/index. php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75:user-manuals-a-handbooks&catid=23:benefits&Itemid=32

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My company Colmex Limited and then cmx looked after the Fleetwood IT system includiung accounts, I dont think that it's bridging any confidenttiality to comment now.

 

The company was owned by KABE a swedish company and the Financial Director was David Webb, a really likeable person who had a keen eye for systems, design and value for money. When he was running the company things were tight due to costs and recessions but it managed. They then took on a new MD and they developed a product line for Holland and a range of covered trailers. These were not successful and KABE looked for a buyer to take them off thier hands.

 

Adrai bought them and I know that David expected great things before he retired, The Adria distributership and a deptartment was setup to handle Adria, then the rebadging and Adria motor homes came in. The Adria side expanded cost cutting & redundancies came in on the Fleetwood side and we were then ousted as IT support after 12 years.

 

I gather then that the Adria caravans were coming in through Harwich and transiting through Long Melford. It was our view at the time of the change that Adria wanted the dealer network and would kill Fleetwood in five years, selling off the land for houses.

 

Most of what I have put here is what was my opinion at the time and I have no proof of any of it but it seems odd that as soon as David retired they seemed to have lost the old design team and Adria was in the ascendent.

 

The design work at fleetwood was fantastic, they would build the interior and make sure it worked with endless adjustment so it was just right, they then did the CAD drawings which seemd to be the other way round to the others in the industry.

 

As I said I could be wrong but having been working for them for a long time we saw, heard and were involved in the working of the company.

 

I miss working for them, the people and the excitement of seeing new designs being born. I owned a Fleetwood (Dutch one) for many years and it was great.

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I too was involved in the latter year, 2009, because adria were looking to recruit from the uk industry to kickstart the fleetwood brand again, after the departed md Richard. After meetings with the Head honcho from adria for W Europe it then went dead, he stopped answering me, and I gave up on them.

The UK Adria person was clearly only interested in Adria. Probably easier all round to cash in remaining fleetwood assets, great shame.

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