HUSS Maschinenfabrik, one of the worlds leading and best manufacturer of thrillrides had to file for kankruptcy a few days ago.
There are many reports in german newspapers about this sad, but not so unexpected, news.
Apparently the company can not pay for its credits and the banks are unwilling to set new credits. Huss is far from being dead, as the Asian market is booming and ordering rides from the company. There are as well lots of orders to be delivered.
When the market for fairground rides declined a decade ago and dutch and italian manufacturers were able to offer cheaper and "lighter" rides, Huss had their first drop in sales. In its heyday Huss sold over a 100 of their most successful ride "Breakdance", and their "Frisbee", "Top Spin", "Enterprise" were top sellers in an over 30 year lasting success story
By the end of the nineties they opened a facillity in Hungary where labour is cheaper. With the concept of "Giant rides" they tried to move into the themepark market. But it seems they didn´t manage to offer cheaper and attractive products for parks that could or would not invest in their monstrous rides.
Apparantly another steel giant "KRUPP" planned to buy Huss and keep it alive but this deal probably fell through.
Compared to those *cheaper* rides, the HUSS rides seemed to operate MUCH more consistently, with better throughput and WAY fewer instances of "control problems". Thinking specifically of the Chance-Morgan Revolution as being the *poster child* for that argument...
Anything that is built to TUV standards is going to seem to be way overbuilt to our point of view. The redundency factors ar enormous,but there have been few of what I would call a catastophic failure with a Huss ride.
This is not the first time HUSS has filed. They have always seemed to have financial difficulties from time to time, but the purchasing of their rides seem to come in waves.
I think we will see a downsizing of both the company and their line of products, starting with the Giant rides. A stronger focus on their traditional product line, and improving those rides will prove more fruitful.
Who knows, with the rumor of S&S and Huss being in financial trouble we will see another Arrow-Huss deal.
The amusement manufacturing industry has always been very cyclical. When times are good, they sell a lot of rides. When the economy starts showing signs of slowing down and the orders dry up before the notes from the previous year have been paid off that's where the trouble starts. The only thing worse was the situation that Chance Rides got into when they had to take back rides that some show owners couldn't meet the payments. Not only did they have to take the iron back, but they had to reimburse the finance company that underwrote the original sales. That's what eventually lead to the merger with Morgan.
The *cheaper* rides from Mondial, KMG,Moser, etc are built to TÜV standards, otherwise they would not be operating on german fairgrounds.
Its just that these companies were much quicker with adjusting to the changed needs of the showmen: Less transports, less weight would outweigh less passenger throughput (especially when you have a hard time to fill a 40 person ride to capacity).
For years Huss had the best relatioship with travelling showmen. This turned around when Huss suddenly came up with a few rides that proved to be no success with the public after a streak of groundbreaking rides.
The "Jumping" was plagued with technical problems and failed to deliver the "freefall" experience which was advertised by the showmen(!), the "Speedy" was a total flop which was built only once.
The "Megadance/FlicFlac" only became a hit after it was modified with looping gondolas. All showmen pressured Huss to re-design their rides as fast as possible which led to some problems with the rides. Finally Huss bit back after they have been critiziced by their clientele.
This situation culminated in Huss deciding to venture into the amusement park business and skip building fairground rides (The "Fly away" was the last ride that was designed as a park and as a mobile version but it was never sold as a fairground model)
Yeah, BMW was listed dead last on a recent list of repairs needed in a Consumer Reports survey. You could definitely see the writing on the wall in terms of the American market. The Breakdance at SFA, for example, has been shutdown at least once almost every year since its installation. And it was usually shutdown in the first few years to make modifications--mainly to the gondolas themselves. There have been lapbar modifications, can't undo your own restraint at the end of the ride, seat modifications, and then the ultimate insult was that you couldn't ride single anymore. And that was with a bucket seat with divider and a pole that went between your legs.
The western themed rainbow at HP was taken out because it was so difficult to get parts for, I believe. There's now a Ham-and-Rye in its place:( The Condor, also at HP, just came out of an extensive maintenance overhaul. I truly thought it was a gonner. The Giant line hasn't been that successful in the North America as well. With only two Giant Frisbees, a Giant Top Spin, and a Jump2 sold, that's not a real solid sales record.
The other problem involves the carnival market in the states. Except for Strates and Reithoffer, how many other carnival companies carry Huss products outside of the ocassional Enterprise (which Strates also owns)? The Top Spin that Strates carries, for example, is too heavy for our aging crappy American roads, and so it only exists due to it being carried by train. While I've never seen it racked up, the Flipper that Reithoffer owns is massive and I believe it takes three trailers to transport.
I really do hope they recover though, as they are one of my favorite flats manufacturers.
That was the great thing about Conestoga was that it ran hard and fast. As my friend said "We're talking about standup airtime on a flat ride." You would put your hands up at the apex and quickly put your hands back down because it was so frightening. The summer before it got shipped off, it was SBNO for an extended period of time. They finally got the part in and I think that's when Hershey threw in the towel.
I still remember getting my first glance at the Rainbow in its original state when it was first at HP. I don't think I'd ever seen a sideways flying carpet ride before. This was on my 8th grade field trip in 84'. We're next in line, the gondola comes to a stop and a young woman puked all over the place. They hosed it down, and then took it for a spindry--twice. That was the seal of approval right there!
It's a shame that their aren't too many Rainbows in the states (that I know of). I used to love riding the one at Mrytle Beach Pavillion because it was so intense. The Chance Falling Stars just don't measure up, and 1001 Nachts at Knoebels (facing inwards) is also really lame. The Zamperla Joker at DP was fairly decent, but it disappeared when Hydra was built. Gadv. had a fireman-themed facing-inwards flying carpet, but I don't know what happened to that either.