Oliver Production Suspended 'till 2010 - Fiberglass RV
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Old 06-21-2009, 04:04 PM   #1
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Some good information about Oliver's production pause recently showed up on the Oliver Forum.

http://www.oliverforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=962
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Old 06-21-2009, 04:13 PM   #2
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I'm surprised it took so long to show up on the Oliver Forums. The poster, who's also a moderator on Oliver Forums actually posted this info on the CasitaClub on Jun 10 2009 at 01:31 PM. Yet waited until Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:53 pm to post it to the Oliver Forum? Strange.
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:29 PM   #3
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I understand how odd it appeared, not to see a vibrant discussion on the Oliver forum pages. I think we (I'm bugeyedriver on that forum) were collectively "keeping our powder dry" with an abundance of caution until a definitive answer was known about the full reasoning behind the production pause. Many of us with friends at the factory had pieces of understanding but not the whole picture and we didn't want partial data to spark rumors that would not be based on all the facts.

I think Technomadia did a fine job researching the whole story and interviewing Jim Oliver for her comprehensive post.
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:00 PM   #4
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Don't you think it's odd though that Oliver only made 45 trailers and then went into hiatus? It almost seems to me that their business model was a bit out of whack; targeting a very small demographic of the fiberglass RVer's, (affluent), market without having an alternative plan should that particular demographic balk. They had all their eggs in one basket.

The hint that they misread the market is the late entry "Sport" model, which even at $6000 more than a Casita or Scamp, came much closure to attracting the less affluent market than their initial $36,000 model. And put it neck and neck with Escape. But obviously, that was "too little too late".

I also wonder how many new/prospective buyers will embrace the uncertainty of not knowing if and when they will start back up, and then if they do, how long they will be in business before shutting back down? People that already own them I'm sure aren't too worried. However, if I was wanting them to build me a trailer and January 2010 rolls around and they don't start back up? My hunch is that Escape (and maybe even the other 2) are the beneficiaries about now.

Just my way of pondering...
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:48 PM   #5
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I'm surprised it took so long to show up on the Oliver Forums. The poster, who's also a moderator on Oliver Forums actually posted this info on the CasitaClub on Jun 10 2009 at 01:31 PM. Yet waited until Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:53 pm to post it to the Oliver Forum? Strange.
They are a strange crew over there, it is run like a communistic country the way the moderators sensor all material before it is posted. No freedom of speech allowed, that is why nothing was written.
I encourage anyone who doubts me to spend sometime researching.
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:02 PM   #6
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Nathan, my Understanding is Oliver trailers is not their only business they actually make something other than trailers or as we see now bathtubs. Personally I think they are smart, they are keeping control of their business not letting the slow down in the rv sales beat them down. They are keep their employee's busy, and from what little I know of them I would say they are taking very good care of their 45 products out there. I don't think Oliver ever got into the business to make millions of trailers, I think they got into the business to make a quality camping unit with a business approach of making a great product combined with great service. Interesting that every once in a while the price point of $36 thou comes up, cause I never at any point in my search of them ever came across a price point of $36 thou. Granted they are more expensive than most egg's we are use to, but Oliver is a very different egg. No I didn't buy one, But I am not into waiting for something and at that point in my life waiting 4 to 6 months wasn't working. But I still think they make a wonderful product and would hate to see them not keep making it. Personally I think they have guts to get into a industry that up until a year or so ago was about bigger is better and even get their product out there to a mere 45 buyers. Lets be honest up until the last year or two the rving industry has been about the Big Rigs and the egg side of the industry has been dominated by companys who have been making them for years and years so I welcome anyone who has the guts to jump in. And some of those company's are unfortunetly are closeing up. So I for one, hope Oliver as well as all egg builders hold strong thru this and emerges to continue creating cute eggs. Robin


Rob, Strange Crew? And you think everyone here is normal? Really? LOL
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:08 PM   #7
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I'm recalling that the 22 Oliver brought to Quartzsite in February was "show priced" at $49,000.
May be off a few thou if anyone remembers eggsactly.
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:17 PM   #8
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They are a strange crew over there, it is run like a communistic country the way the moderators sensor all material before it is posted. No freedom of speech allowed, that is why nothing was written.
I encourage anyone who doubts me to spend sometime researching.
Wow. I'm a moderator on the Oliver forum, and up until today, I have never been labeled as strange, a censor, or a communist. Nor have I ever been accused of blocking free speech. (Except, perhaps, by my daughter when she was a small child, but I guess every parent goes through that....) Posts on the Oliver forum are not and cannot be reviewed before posted. I was brought up on a midwestern farm, with decent values, and I couldn't possibly participate as a mod on a forum that operated as was described above. Period.

I will say, that as an Oliver owner, I have met some very wonderful, talented people who are part of the Oliver family, by birth, marriage, or employment at their factories. It's a terrific work environment, where all feel part of the company.
Though saddened by the news that the Olivers felt it necessary to temporarily shut down the trailer line, I am heartened to know that the kind, intelligent, and talented folks that I know at the Oliver plant are all still employed in a different manufacturing concept, and that the Oliver company has the leadership, flexibility, and capacity to make the switch. Oliver is still in business, supporting their warranties in a fashion second to none, and looking forward to the rebound next year. Obviously, they have a huge investment in development, molds, training, and engineering. They won't just let it die.
These are not easy times for most. In middle Tennessee, a few miles from the Oliver plant, hundreds of families have been affected by the GM/Saturn plant layoffs. Thankfully, the situation in Hohenwald is better for the Oliver employees, and Jim and Evon Oliver have my respect for keeping their plants going. I've owned my own business, and I know how difficult it can be.
The Oliver statement on closing the line temporarily was posted on their factory website, where it belongs. The Oliver forum is a user group, open to all owners and prospective owners of fiberglass trailers, including Olivers. It's not a big forum, all the mods are volunteers (as they are here, I believe), and they do the best they can. Forgive us for not conjecturing, venting, or hypothesizing when we did not have all the facts from the line. Beyond being mods, we have lives, as well.

Now, I will apologize to the original poster here for hijacking this thread. I'm sorry. I just couldn't let this post go without a rational response. It has nothing to do with Bigfoot, though my heart goes out to all the families without jobs in their town. Those of us who lived through the last six decades have seen some tough times, but these are unprecedented. We all hope, pray, and work for a better next decade, I'm sure.

Mods, if you want to move this to another thread, I understand.

Sherry
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:49 AM   #9
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And I apologize to any moderator of the Oliver forums if you thought I was lambasting Oliver in any way. I wasn't and I'm not. I just thought it strange that a moderator of the Oliver Forum would post on the CasitaClub the trials and tribulations the Oliver manufacturer was going through particularly that the trailer manufacturing portion of the business was going on hiatus, but not post a hint of it on the Oliver Forums itself. Especially since the info was posted on the Oliver home page on May 1.

I'm not a member of the Oliver Forum, but I do cruise over there to read about a number of things. Camping reports and new toys and electronics for camping, etc. I understand the need to keep a strong eye on what's being posted. What everyone here on FiberglassRV doesn't know, is we too are being absolutely slammed by spammers... right now it's PORN. In our case, experience in what needs to be done helps. As they come in the front door, they're shoved out the back door and we hope we do it quickly enough that 99.9% of the members here don't even know it happened.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:41 AM   #10
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I congratulate the management of Oliver for having the sense to hunker down. The current economic climate is such that very, very few trailers are selling, no matter how attractive the deal or product. There are a few, but a very few, exceptions. Here in northern Indiana, where most trailers are (were) made, many manufacturers have faced the difficult decision to either shut down, or try to power through. A shut down is so traumatic to their work force, but many have found that trying to power through with no sales to support it just weakened the company until they were too emaciated to carry on. Those companies are gone now. Oliver had the good sense to save their strength for a strong restart when the economy rebounds.

It also sounds as though trailers are not Oliver's only, nor their primary, business. This secondary diversification allows them to skim the cream when things are good, and then pull back when the drought comes. Kinda like a flower in the desert, as I see it.

One other thing -- Oliver produces a premium product for those that are willing to pay a premium for it. The vast majority of us don't fit into that description. But, some folks do, and even though that is a relatively small group, they will continue to exist. A friend of mine works for Explorer Van -- premium conversion vans. They have slowed down some, but they have found that their core customers will still pay the premium on the sticker as well as at the pump, because the product is what they want.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:46 AM   #11
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Donna,
I certainly never found any of your comments to be offensive. I doubt anyone could.

The moderator who posted on the Casita Club forum didn't open a thread there, but merely responded to a poster. I believe there's a difference. In trying to move a post on the Oliver forums regarding the temporary line closing to another category, a duplicate post was left. When the moderator deleted the original, both went. What she was trying to explain on the Casita Club forum was that her actions were not intentional, but a software bug we're all now aware of. She did contact the original poster immediately by pm to apologize. Another moderator has spoken to the OP by telephone to apologize as well.

In my opinion, Technomadia did the right thing in speaking with the Oliver owners and preparing a thoughtful, candid, and factual post and blog entry. If it took a few days, so be it. There are enough rumors going around the country in these uncertain times; I certainly didn't feel compelled to add to the mill with conjectures.

As you do, many people who do not own Olivers visit our forum for technical info, travel posts, and fun. The forum is a social board, not the factory newsletter. None of us work for Oliver. We are grateful for the factory's continued financial sponsorship of our electronic "sandbox".

Our mod team, too, spends far more time dealing with spammers some days than with our fun topics. Spammers, especially the porn spammers, are relentless and resourceful. We have had to resort to a system of reviewing each new member manually to try to keep the spammers from joining the board in the first place. I understand your difficulties.

I realize you probably don't have time to join and contribute to our Oliver forum, but we'd certainly welcome your participation if you did. You find an amazing variety of interesting topics to share here, and you and the whole team run a great board. My personal thanks to you and your friends on the mod board here.

Sherry


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Old 06-22-2009, 11:30 AM   #12
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I don't know if this is what Rob M had in mind while posting his comment but there were posts shuttered on the Oliver forum regarding trailer weight that the manufacturer was less than forthright about disclosing. Oliver's sponsorship of the forum at least gave the impression of impropriety. But in all fairness, this forum also tends to be a little touchy regarding criticism of Escape, which I believe contributes to keep this site running.
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:17 PM   #13
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Steve, I think when it comes to company forums as well as a forum such as fiberglassrv because the forums are frequented by us the everyday person, not necessarily by someone in the know, than yes things may appear as less than forthright but I am one of those people unless I see/hear it from the person in charge I can't hold the written word as gospel. I even have issue's sometimes when I do witness the words coming out of their mouth. Just me! (yeah the big guy and I have to talk)......... As I said in my first post, I just hope that "ALL" company's that want to create cute egg's have the chance to keep creating. And I believe that there will always be a place for any one who wants to try.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:06 PM   #14
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I'm Cherie, one half of the moderators behind the 'Technomadia' username on both the Casita and Oliver forums. When I posted on the Casita forums in explanation of my mistake/bug in the accidental removal of a post (which was supposed to be moving, not removing).. I had fully anticipated that the blog post Chris and I were preparing would be up within a day or two.

Unfortunately, life got the better of Chris and I .. and he wasn't able to find the time to edit the post I had drafted in the time frame I was anticipating. And since both our names were going on it, I felt he had a right to review it before posting.

We happened to be visiting his parents in St. Louis and they kept him full time busy converting their PCs to Macs. *shrug* What can I say? We're not full time bloggers/moderators/fiberglass RV promoters We have full lives with jobs/family/hobbies that get us distracted from our intentions.

Nothing mysterious there worth raising eye brows over or finding strange. Just us living on NST (Nomadic Standard Time).

- Cherie
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:11 PM   #15
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What can I say? We're not full time bloggers/moderators/fiberglass RV promoters We have full lives with jobs/family/hobbies that get us distracted from our intentions.
Totally understandable. Thanks too for clarification. We all hope for the very best for Oliver. The downturn to the economy has hit everyone and I think it's a fine thing they're trying to do to keep employees working
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:02 PM   #16
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I requested an Oliver catalog soon after they started production. I took it to work (where three of us own Casitas) and we were impressed with the apparent quality of their trailers, but horrified at the pricing. If I was going to spend that kind of money on a travel trailer, I'd go ahead and purchase an Airstream. Yes, I'm sure they put a lot of quality into their trailers--it shows in the visual material. But I cannot understand how you can justify that kind of expense for a fiberglass trailer.

Because of the pricing, I don't think Casita, Scamp, or any of the other lower priced molded fiberglass manufacturers should be losing any sleep worrying about the competition.

Their trailers sure are purty, though.

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Old 06-22-2009, 08:34 PM   #17
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Question

I stand firm on my original statement.
The Oliver Forum belongs to Oliver Trailers and they will block any "negative" info, I know this first hand and have been PM'd from 2 others that have been also.
Have you noticed that the Oliver moderators have appeared now to defend? And they don't come alone, where were they to announce this info? They only arrive to "defend and promote"
Oliver Trailers is receiving what they sowed, unlike other Fiberglass Trailer who are thriving.

Rob
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:01 PM   #18
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Yes, I'm sure they put a lot of quality into their trailers--it shows in the visual material. But I cannot understand how you can justify that kind of expense for a fiberglass trailer.
For our situation.. we can absolutely justify the expense...

Before we purchased our Oliver, we were living/traveling out of a T[at]b Clamshell (16' teardrop) - a bit too small for two who are living and working full time on the road. We had modified our T[at]b to have solar panels and other geeky off grid options. We not only live in our trailer, we also do tech consulting from the road - and need a lot of geekery to make it all work.

When we wanted something slightly larger, we found Casita.. and fell in love with the size, quality and layout. We visited the factory, and were pretty much sold on the concept. But they were unwilling to do customizations - which would have left us to do a lot aftermarket. More than we were comfortable with and equipped to do (not having a physical home, we have no workshop). And some of the things would have been compromises - such as wanting two batteries, privacy blinds (not mini blinds), a computer server room, higher end multi media systems, etc. We would have easily racked up several thousand in extras to get the Casita to a suitable level for our technomadic needs.

We looked at Airstream too.. just too pricey for us, too big and too heavy (we wanted to continue to tow with our Jeep Liberty Diesel). It just wasn't fitting to who we are. And after a couple bad run ins with Thor customer service (they also own T[at]B ), we just couldn't convince ourselves that we wanted to put our home at the mercy of Thor again.


Then we found Oliver.. and yes, at first we were shocked at the price, and not convinced it was worth the premium over Casita plus our time/effort for aftermarket mods. Afterall, in the pictures it just looks like a glossier Casita. But once we saw one in person - we immediately understood why its priced like it is. Pictures just don't do it justice.

Between marine grade fittings, custom aluminum frame, electric levels, true privacy window shades, high end faucets (each one costs Oliver about $100/each, btw.), double pane windows and on and on it goes. The double hull was also a big plus, as well as the huge holding tanks for the size trailer.

And on top of all of the apparent quality .. they were thrilled to do customizations for us. We were able to spec out the 200w solar electrical system we wanted - right down to the gauge wires. We were able to get a 24" LCD panel on a swing arm to interface to our Mac Mini server mod'd to run off 12v, instead of little 15" low quality TV screen, a mobile command center cellular booster system built in, etc. Every quirky request we made, they responded with a 'Yes!' and usually further recommendations on how they could make it even better. In the end, we had the exact trailer we wanted for our full time home & office - customized perfectly for our needs. We even had custom graphics designed for the exterior, which they printed a smaller version for my laptop to match the trailer

That sort of customization has a lot of extra manhours involved - as each one is slightly different and unique off the line. We've now probably seen 40% of the Oliver trailers made to date as we've traveled the US, and each one is as unique as their owners.

And a year later of living in it full time - there's no doubt we made the right choice for us.


So for us and our situation - we can completely and totally justify the cost. Afterall... it's our full time home office, and we weren't going to compromise. In the end, we only ended up paying a few extra thousand than we would have for a Casita + mods.. and we got a heck of a lot of extra bang for those bucks. (Not to slight the Casita at all.. it's a very quality product as well that had us very tempted.)


Anyway.. that's our perspective. And that's not at all to suggest that the Oliver is the right choice for the masses. And I don't think that's their goal either. They serve a niche type of RVer.

- Cherie
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:26 PM   #19
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But in all fairness, this forum also tends to be a little touchy regarding criticism of Escape, which I believe contributes to keep this site running.
Steve, your implication that this site has been bought by Escape is totally off base and not called for. Yes we have received a donation from Escape. We also have received that same donation from Oliver and other companies who appreciate the information that is provided by this site. None of the Moderators own an Escape. You comments are totally unfounded and are not based on facts.

I have owned two Casitas and loved both of them. I currently own a 25 Bigfoot. When I formed this site, I went to great lengths to recruit Moderators from all over North America and who owned as many different brands of molded fiberglass rv's as I could.

We as Moderators have our personal opinions and express them from time to time. I own a 25 Bigfoot. Before I bought the Bigfoot , I asked Escape if they were planning on building a 25 footer which I felt would meet my needs. I looked at the 22 Oliver in Quartzite. It did not fit my needs although I liked the fit and finish and their representatives.

Your comments are stating facts that are NOT in evidence. Please do not assume.

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Old 06-23-2009, 08:11 AM   #20
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Cherie, how did they go about fixing your roof leak. I am not a member of the oliver forum, so I never saw the outcome. Did they have to take out the a/c and put some type of support inside the double hull half's? Great digital nomads article too. Take care.
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