Five years ago, John and I set out to find the perfect fifth wheel to use for our move from Arizona to Central Coast California. After looking at dozens of brands and models, we discovered the 2009 2550 Jazz by MVP. It was unique and had everything we were looking for. We immediately fell in love.
Since we purchased the Jazz though, lots has happened with its maker. 2009 was the first year that Jazz was manufactured by MVP. Before that time, it was produced by a giant in the RV industry – Thor.
According to a copy of Thor’s 2004 Annual Report that I found here, Thor was created in 1980 and at the time was the maker of major RV brands including Airstream, Dutchmen, Komfort, Keystone, Montana and Jazz among dozens of others. In 2004, Jazz was the number one selling fifth wheel in Nevada and was gaining in popularity in California.
On the RVBusiness.com website, I learned that in July 2008, “MVP RV Acquisition Corporation, an affiliation of top executives at Thor California Inc., agreed to purchase Thor California Inc., a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc.” MVP RV continued to manufacture Jazz fifth wheels along with several other brands and RV types.
MVP RV continued actively selling through nearly one hundred dealerships in eleven western U.S. states and three Canadian provinces after they left Thor. The company initially survived the credit crunch resulting from the Great Recession of 2008 but soon ran out of cash and had to stop production. (This was when John and I were looking for our perfect RV and found it in the Jazz. We were so taken by the fifth wheel that we were oblivious to what was going on with its manufacturer though I don’t know that it would have made a difference to us anyway).
The then CEO of MVP RV, Brad Williams was reported as saying “We right-sized and cut and slashed expenses every way you could imagine…Our intent is to get a cash injection and get squared away with our suppliers.”
According to various sources including a February 2012 Press Enterprise article and an January 2011 RVIA press release, a Chinese investor Winston Chung, one of a group of Chinese investors called Fadar International, pledged $310 million to MVP RV and came on board to fire up Fleetwood’s former factory to build RVs. One aim of Chung and MVP RV was to export more than five billion dollars worth of RVs to China.
Later, Fadar International argued that “Chung shoved them out of the MVP investment, used the RV company as a method to gain international prominence and crafted a fraudulent document to claim full ownership of their stake in MVP RV,” according to a lawsuit filed in August 2011 in Riverside County Superior Court.
Then in mid-December 2011 with litigation still pending, “Fadar International called for the shutdown of MVP RV and signed over its assets to a firm that liquidates companies to pay off creditors. Shortly after, the company (MVP RV) laid off its entire workforce, about 200 people.”
In an April 20, 2012 RV-pro.com article, former MVP CEO Brad Williams said he was considering starting a new company to fill the void left to all the workers who lost their jobs when the RV manufacturer closed earlier in the year. That was two years ago and as yet no word of a new company.
Currently John and I still reside in our Jazz fifth wheel. We’ve added on a sunroom and five years later still love it as much as we did the day we purchased it. I guess we’re lucky we found ours when we did.
(You can read more about our adventures in the Jazz from my book “This Restless Life: A Dream Chased Through California Parks in an RV” http://www.amazon.com/Levonne-Gaddy/e/B00BQ6778U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0. Find out how we made our Jazz our own with minor alterations in a previous RVT.com/blog post.)
Author Levonne Gaddy’s book “This Restless Life: A dream chased through California parks in an RV” chronicles her relocation adventures from the Southwest to Central Coast California during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. They encounter many twists and turns including a dead body found near their camp hosting camp site, problems finding work and multiple threats of floods. @Levonnegaddy
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