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RV SLOWDOWN SEEN AS 'SHORT-LIVED'.



Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer

LANCASTER - The founder and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board.  of Rexhall Industries expressed cautious optimism Wednesday that the slowdown in recreational-vehicle orders prompted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will be short-lived.

Saying orders for RVs dried up following the Sept. 11 attacks, Rexhall Industries announced Tuesday that it had laid off about 200 of its workers, slightly more than half of its Lancaster work force. William Rex, the company's founder and chief executive officer, is taking a 20 percent pay cut and other company officials are taking a 10 percent pay cut in light of the slowdown.

``No one's got a crystal ball, but the majority of us (RV manufacturers) believe it will be short-lived,'' Rex said of the slowdown.

The company, which had manufactured more than 100 RVs a month, is now building them at a rate of 20 to 30 a month.

Rex said it appears that customer traffic at RV dealers remains relatively strong, but dealers are reluctant to stock inventory until the political and economic conditions stabilize.

There was a similar slowdown in the RV industry during the Persian Gulf War Persian Gulf War
 or Gulf War

(1990–91) International conflict triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Though justified by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on grounds that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq, the invasion was presumed to be
. Potential RV customers did not abandon their plans to buy a vehicle, but instead deferred them, Rex said.

``The thing about our industry is when it comes back it comes back stronger than before because of the pent-up demand,'' Rex said.

The company should get a feel for how the market will shake out in the next few weeks at trade shows, including one at the Fairplex in Pomona beginning Oct. 12.

``We're trying to be optimistic op·ti·mist  
n.
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.

2. A believer in philosophical optimism.



op
,'' Rex said. ``We've all got to hang in there and not let them hurt our economy.''

The RV industry is eyeing the Pomona show, which is open to the public, as a gauge of how Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region,  consumers will respond to recent events. The industry is also looking toward its national dealer show in Louisville, Ky., as bellwether Bellwether

A leading indicator of trends.

Notes:
A bellwether stock is a stock that is used to gauge the performance of the market in general. General Motors was an example of a bellwether stock, hence the saying "What's good for GM is good for America.
 of how things will shake out.

``Since Sept. 11, forecasts have become awfully cloudy cloudy (clou´de)
1. murky; turbid; not transparent.

2. marked by indistinct streaks.
,'' said Robert Bryan, vice president of administration for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

Thus far, reports to the RVIA RVIA Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, Inc.  indicate consumers are still willing to buy, Bryan said.

``Retail sales have held up quite well,'' Bryan said. ``Orders placed before the attack have been filled. The reports are quite favorable.''
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 4, 2001
Words:386
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