Hanemaayer rebuffs effort to bring him back to lead Roadtrek

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TORONTO — Jeff Hanemaayer, who lead Roadtrek Motorhomes for 31 years, is rejecting suggestions by employees that he return to lead the company out of it’s current predicament, RV Daily Report learned today.

Roadtrek was founded by Jac Hanemaayer, Jeff’s father, in the 1970s and is widely credited for creating the Class B RV market. Jeff Hanemaayer lead the company from 1982 until he announced his retirement in 2013, two years after selling the company to Industrial Opportunity Partners.

Following the announcement Friday that Erwin Hymer Group North America was shutting down all manufacturing operations at the Roadtrek plants, several employees have apparently reached out to Hanemaayer begging him to step in and rescue the firm.

Tuesday, he politely declined.

In response to multiple pleas on Facebook, Hanemaayer issued this statement:

For those of you who don’t know me, I grew Roadtrek from a handful of employees in 1982 to the No. 1 selling Class B motorhomes in North America by 1990, a position Roadtrek held until 2011 when a private equity firm called IOP acquired a majority of Roadtrek.

Roadtrek has been No. 1 or No. 2 since.

I resigned my employment at Roadtrek and fully divested in 2013 and resigned from the board of directors in 2016 when Germany’s Erwin Hymer Group (EHG) acquired Roadtrek from IOP and renamed it Erwin Hymer Group North America (EHGNA).

Now that EHGNA is in receivership, a number of people have suggested that I come back to run Roadtrek. But I live just northeast of downtown Toronto and 10-15 minutes further away than when it took me one hour and 15 minutes to get to the Roadtrek plant in the morning, and up to two hours to get home.

And then I was there “only” from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. three days a week. You need a leader there five to six days and 50-plus hours a week, at least for a while.

I will however assist in the effort to find a turn-key buyer to restart manufacturing Roadtreks. For the sale of EHG to Thor, EHGNA was carved out of EHG and sold to Corner Flag LLC of Delaware.

EHGNA can use the EHG brands for up to 12 months to finish and clear out inventory. EHGNA owns the Roadtrek brand, so it is only Roadtreks that can be built in the long term, which is the most valuable brand anyway.

And as the landlord at the Roadtrek plant on Shirley Ave in Kitchener, Ontario, I will also be cooperative with any prospective buyer for Roadtrek’s operations.

I realize that a whole lot of people and companies are taking huge pain in this receivership/bankruptcy process. And I feel terribly for them. But the best that we can all do now make it attractive for a buyer to restart operations.

One advantage of the receivership/bankruptcy process is that it allows a buyer to buy only the most valuable assets at well less than book value. This makes restarting Roadtrek manufacturing very attractive.

This of course means employment for at least some of the employees, more business for the many suppliers and service providers, parts and service for owners (and maybe even warranties!), and product for the dealers.

It certainly won’t make up for the losses, but it’s better than a piecemeal liquidation of the assets for pennies on the dollar.

SOURCE: Facebook Roadtrek group posting

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber

A journalist who has covered the recreation vehicle industry since January 2000, Greg Gerber founded RV Daily Report on April Fool's Day in 2009. He also serves as the editor of the publication and website. As an Eagle Scout, he has enjoyed camping for decades and has visited every state except Hawaii. A DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three young women, he has two grandchildren as well. He currently splits his time between Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona. Greg can be reached at editor@rvdailyreport.com.

Leave a Comment

  • John DiPietro says:

    thank you for the update. it gets more interesting with each passing day!

  • Ed Bongers says:

    Roadtrek was a great company once then IOP, Jim, Howard and all there friends and family showed up, turning it to Roadrek then drove it into the ground ending up an embarrassment. Don,t think for a second that Jim and his buddies gave a crap about the employees of Roadrek only the money and all the things they could get for free… there all rich and living great lives, you have no job now you all struggle to find a min wage job…

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