Trade Mission to China Winding Down
The trade mission to China led by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) continued Wednesday with a three-hour bus ride to tour Great Wall Motors, a Chinese manufacturer of Class A, B and C motorhomes with a factory outside Beijing.
Mike Atkinson, facilities development manager for Kampgrounds of America Inc., Billings, Mont., has served as WoodallsCM.com's correspondent during the Chinese trade mission, and his observations have extended to workers' conditions along with the nation's fledgling recreational vehicle marketplace.
"Great Wall … motorhomes are definitely different than ours, and like all the other manufacturers we visited, they want to focus on the emerging Chinese market," Atkinson wrote in an e-mail.
"As with all plants in China, a good percentage of the employees live in company-supplied housing. The average production worker makes about $100 a month, and employees with a degree make an extra $50. This helps explain why only about 2% of the population owns cars.
"Great Wall Motors' production facilities are very impressive and would rival any other automaker in the world, according to members of our delegation."
After the visit to Great Wall Motors, the group got back on the bus for another three-hour ride back to Beijing.
On Tuesday the group visited the factory of CenTech Specialty Vehicle Ltd. in Tinajin and then flew to Beijing. CenTech exports iCamp travel trailers and folding camping trailers to the U.S., and is RVIA's only Chinese member.
The 18-member trade mission led by RVIA President Richard Coon last week attended the 2008 China RV and Camping Show in Shanghai, manning booths and presenting seminars on RVing in the North America.
With some members already returning to the U.S., on Thursday those remaining had meetings planned with government officials in Beijing before leaving for home.
Other companies with representatives on the trade mission included Coachmen RV Co., Inc., Middlebury, Ind.; Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind.; Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., Riverside, Calif.; Cummins Power Generation, Minneapolis, Minn.; GE Capital Solutions, Tampa, Fla.; Velvac Inc., New Berlin, Wis.; BRD Supply Inc., Bristol, Ind.; Airxcel Inc., Wichita, Kan.; United Shade LLC, Elkhart, Ind.; and Lippert Components, Goshen, Ind.