4 of 7
BACKNEXT
Alfa Leisure
Alfa Leisure
Ontario, Calif.
Founded: 1973
Closed: March 2008

As the economy slows down, big-ticket, gas-guzzling purchases have been among the first to disappear. At least six large motor-home manufacturers have gone out of business since December. The casualty list includes Alfa Leisure, a 35-year-old maker of luxury RVs.

Founded in southern California by the scion of Fleetwood Enterprises - one of the world's largest RV companies - Alfa was known for turning out what fanatics called the industry's first "summer-shares on wheels." For around $200,000, Alfa's "See Ya!" models featured windows double the size of the competitions' and spacious floorplans with walk-in closets, basement storage, and the latest in home-theater technology.

"The coaches were always ahead of their time," said Scott Degnan, who served as Alfa's president from January to March. Alfa's sales, which peaked at about $150 million, started to dwindle in 2006. The company took an infusion of $10 million in capital from a Los Angeles venture capital firm in 2005, but it wasn't enough to stem the tide of red ink. A manufacturing glitch that caused fiberglass on Alfa's interiors to blister added to the company's financial woes, at a time it when it couldn't afford any missteps.

"We had a niche product in a slowing economy - it wasn't long before we weren't able to cover overhead expenses," said Degnan, now a vice president of sales for Coachmen RV Group, a Middlebury, Ind., motor-home company. Just 90 days after Degnan took over Alfa Leisure, the company shut down.

NEXT: Olsson's Books and Records

LAST UPDATE: Nov 05 2008 | 9:59 AM ET
Sponsored by
More Galleries
7 hot businesses to start now It's hard to predict what businesses will take off, but these startup ideas have been drawing tons of interest from entrepreneurs and their customers on Thumbtack.com. More
How will a minimum wage hike hit businesses? Thirteen states increased the minimum wage on Jan. 1, and President Obama supports raising the federal rate to $10.10. 4 small business owners weigh in on how an increase would affect them. More
America's favorite businesses From a science camp for girls to a kombucha brewer, communities around the country voted on their favorite small businesses. These 12 came out on top, each scoring a $250,000 grant from Chase and a trip to Google's headquarters. More
Sponsors

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.