RV Confidential #8: Born Free Disappears...

By : JD Gallant August 08, 2017

Here's one we can't blame on Thor or Forest River. According to RV Business, back in May the Born Free plant was supposed to be closed for only a week.

However, after a week the management not only did not reopen the plant, but it turned off the phones and shut down the website. Although the mystery is why Born Free was here one day and gone the next, the big question is whether the investment company that bought it two years ago from the Dodgen family will reopen the plant, sell the company as a whole, or go the way of so many others and auction off the assets.

It's a story that sadly we've heard too many times: The founder gets old, the kids or grandkids sell it to an investment group or try to run it themselves, and the company goes down the tube. It appears that the time of families getting together to build RVs in a barn is gone. The 21st century is all about Amazon, Costco, Google, Thor, and Forest River.

Born Free has been acclaimed for holding its structural integrity during rollover accidents - as shown in photo below:

 

If the Dodgens don't save the day and reopen the plant, and we should assume they won't, it'll mean that we'll have only two high-quality motor homes in the class C arena that are family owned. Although Lazy Daze and Coach House are still going strong, with the big 3 vying for position in the gross-sales game, and with all the crazy supply and other problems facing small manufacturers, why do I expect to hear more news about old timers like Born Free fading away in the not-too-far future.

The end loser, of course, is the RV consumer - left with less choices of quality- built RVs.

 

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Some photos of Born Free interiors:

 

 

 



JD Gallant


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