Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. and its sister company Kinro Inc., which combined are the nation’s largest RV OEM supplier, continued to grow on a number of fronts this fall on the brink of RVIA’s 49th Annual National RV Trade Show, Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.
In the past three months, the 4,000-employee companies, both units of Drew Industries Inc., White Plains, N.Y.:
• Announced the licensing from Texas Innovators LLC of the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell innovative new slideout boot and slideout quarter topper products. The slideout boot covers the slideout and, in so doing, prevents leaks into the RV and replaces traditional slideout awning toppers.
• Completed the $13.5 million purchase from EA Technologies LLC of the business and certain assets of the towable RV chassis and slideout mechanism operation previously owned by Dexter Chassis Group, with annual sales of more than $40 million.
• Announced the acquisition through Kinro of Starquest Products LLC and its affiliate Qualitec Manufacturing LLC. Starquest, Drew’s fourth acquisition of 2011 generates annual sales of about $22 million in windows for truck caps and equestrian trailers. Current management stays in place at Starquest, the principals of which were Kelly Rose, chairman, and Mike Schoeffler, CEO.
• Obtained preliminary tax phase-in approval from the Elkhart County Council that could mean the 100 more jobs at its Greenfield Parkway plant in Middlebury in addition to the 1,835 already employed there.
Meanwhile, Lippert Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray says LCI plans to display an array of new products at Louisville, foremost among which is LCI’s first line of Solera manual and power awnings for OEMs and aftermarket distributors. These new awnings have manual override and “easy operating” rain dump systems.
“As with our previous product introductions, the RV awning product line has been designed to add significant value for the RV owner, and the awnings are priced to provide value to our customers, the RV manufacturers,” said Jason Lippert, CEO of both Lippert and Kinro. “By pricing the product right, providing more durable components and offering innovative features and options not generally found in the marketplace, we expect to capture market share in this $100 million plus market.”
Also on LCI’s front burner:
• Leveling systems, as Lippert promotes the extension of its more sophisticated one-touch fully automated leveling systems – the three-year-old Level Up hydraulic and Ground Control electric systems — into mainstream fifth-wheel markets through both OEM and aftermarket channels.
• Level Up Lite LED-Assisted Manual Leveling
• Friction Hinge Door Stays
• JT Strongarm Stabilizaton System
• Correct Track Chassis Alignment System
• Schwintek Slide System Telescoping Slide-in-a-Slide
• RV Lock Next Generation Keyless Entry