Champion follow up

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Rich Stern

Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2000
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A few weeks ago, I posted about the rumors of Champion's troubles. It appears that the rumors are true. Champion is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for fraud, for failure to pay employee health insurance contributions, withholding taxes and wage garnishments. The state of Arkansas is investigating them as well. Records have been seized. Former employees are describing some not-so-cool things to the press. Vendors have apparently come for inventory that hasn't been paid for.

I've always admired Champion's product, and how loyal their customers have been, despite getting trashed by Champion owners for driving a Nitro. I feel no glee in this development. I worry about how those folks out of work in Mountain Home, Arkansas are going to feed their families.

Collectively, as members here, we've taken a lot of flak for the brand of boat we drive, and Tracker has taken quite a beating as well at the hands of owners of other boats. I'm not celebrating Champion's demise, but I am thankful that my boat was made by a financially stable company that isn't going to defraud it's employees out of their health insurance in a last gasp effort of wishful thinking. I hope that The Marine Group, Genmar, or someone else comes in and buys Champion, not just so that the brand survives, but so that somebody makes sure that those folks get their health insurance back.

Rich, I agree. I hope someone steps in and helps. The employees are probably hard working Americans. Hey maybe u could buy Champion. that way u could get help building and sanding your new boat project.:)
You are certainly right, Robert, about the employees being hard workers....... They built one very, fine product!

It's a shame when so many must suffer because someone at the top made the wrong decission...... Now, where would everyone be if that someone had just filed for bankruptcy in the first place? Probably just about the same spot. But at least they wouldn't have felt deceived by those they trusted and the name of ChampioN would have been held high.

Thanks for the update, Rich.

Wow...that's not cool!! ...Before I signed on with BPS/Nitro I was on Champion's Pro-Staff out of a local Michigan dealer. My 202 was the BEST boat I've ever owned, none, and I'm not affraid to say it either!! The guy I sold it to, works for GM also and we fish with and against eachother all the time.....he LOVES that boat and to this day, (it's a '96) it still does not have 1 single stress crack on that entire boat!! They knew how to build a boat,...too bad they couldn't run a company!! John Storie who use to own Champion before he sold it to the Porthouse family, know owns Hawk Boats,...and I've heard they're on the verge of bankrupcty also,..they're built in McAlester Oklahoma, and they look just like the old Champions use to look when he owned the company.

IMO, bassboats have gotten waaaayyy over priced,...even people with great jobs find it hard to justify $35K for a bassboat, when they can get a 25-28ft cabin cruiser (with a bathroom, beds and a shower) for the same $$$.

Hell it's hard selling a pro-staffer's boat at 5grand off retail!!!...This sport is pricing itself right out of business!!

Time to get a cane pole and a can o'worms and go sit on the bank with a corona!!! (NOT!!!) LOL..

Dito on what Mac said. Prices have gone out of sight. I think some boat mgrs have gotten too big for their britches. But this is a sad turn of events. It only confirms the fact that today's market and economy has no mercy for those who are not willing to learn and change. Hence my previous statement to all companies, "YOU are never too big to fall!" OMC learned the hard way and now apparently, Champion is following suit. Hopefully, some good may come from this. Prices need to come down, especially now the economy is encountering a correction, but quality and good customer service need to remain. The company that does that and uses the market correctly will be on top every time. Time will tell. Hope those folks do get other jobs with companies that have integrity.
I agree with Rob that "quality and good customer service need to remain". If a company was smart, since no one seems to be selling much, is to start working on improving their customer service and interpersonal skills, in order to keep the customers they have and maybe gain new ones by word of mouth, such as this board, so when the economy does pick up, their product will look like a million bucks as compared to others.

Just .02 worth! (or in this economy, .0125)


I agree and that's certainly what I'm trying to promote in my little area of the world.
Been hearing rumblings/rumors since back in the summer about this but everyone kept saying there was nothing to it. Maybe there still isn't, but the same thing happened with the OMC bankruptcy last year with the rumors and all and it turned out to be true. The old saying "Where's there's smoke, there's fire." might apply to Champion also. Agree with Mac on the prices and the cabin cruiser!!! If I lived near "big" water I'd have me one of them thangs!!
No way Mac.....gotta leave it out there where everyone can see it. How do you do that? LOL
Hey, Mac, FYI on those 25-28ft cabin cruisers:

Those puppies are now selling for $50K to $100K. Same thing has gone on in every nook and cranny of the leisure boating biz. You can't find new express cabin crusier in the under $40K range anymore. I was at a mid-season boat show recently, and kicked the tires of a Chapparral 26' express cruiser. Chap is a good quality boat, but the boat's "show special" price was $64K, with a retail price around $80K. Leaves me scratching my head...where do these companies think folks are going to get that kind of money for a relatively small boat in hard times?

The entire leisure boating industry is going to get spanked again, just as they did in previous recessions.


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