“In the early days of the automobile industry, before only Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler were left, thousands of companies came and went. Anyone with a toolbox and a garage could open a shop. A similar thing occurred in the first half-century of the RV industry. Today, just as it happened to auto makers, one by one the weaker RV makers have closed or been bought out – survival of the fittest in action.” (RVtravel.com, 1/14/2020).
My small mid-west hometown used to have a thriving economy with a dozen or so small factories and several regional insurance headquarters. It’s all shuttered now. Sure, globalization took out many factories, but the worst harm was achieved by “mergers and acquisitions.” Companies were bought out and the activity transferred to the big cities.
In the U.S., we tried in the past to protect smaller companies, but seem to have given up due to lobbying by the big guys. For example, we have a monopoly situation now in the RV industry with just two holding companies controlling the lion’s share (Thor and Forest River). Our neighbors drove Jayco for two decades but after their experiences with the Jayco motorhome they bought a year ago they’re putting it up for sale at a loss. It seems Thor destroys quality at every company it buys out.
We’ve lost many excellent companies with great products and innovative ideas. As we’ve seen recently at Boeing, Wall Street demands short-term profit above quality and long-term viability. Smaller, privately-held companies often do better at both. —Carl M., Coupeville, WA
Well put. I agree. — Chuck