Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles recently introduced an all-new line of Coleman “automotive” camping trailers designed to leverage the tenting community’s allegiance to the iconic brand while tapping into a growing demographic base seeking an RV capable of being towed by the family vehicle.
“We are targeting the 44 million-plus people that go tent camping,” said Scott Tuttle, president of the Wakarusa, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc. divison, citing current figures compiled by the America Outdoors Association. “The Coleman automotive tent camper allows them ‘to get off the ground’ when the family goes camping. It’s for those people that have no interest in buying a pickup truck or large SUV. They want an RV they can tow with smaller fuel-efficient cars, like a Prius or even a Smart Car.”
Tuttle emphasized that the Coleman name would spark instant brand awareness among RV consumers, many of whom remember the legendary folding camping trailers built for years by the Coleman Camping Trailer Division of The Coleman Co. Inc. and, subsequently, by Fleetwood Folding Trailers Inc., both based in Somerset, Pa. The popup line was later resurrected by Pennsylvania-based FTCA Inc., which closed up shop in 2010.
“Thor’s Dutchmen division had a contract with Coleman to build travel trailers,” explained Tuttle. “We were able to work out an exclusive licensing agreement with Coleman to build ultra-light automotive camping trailers.”
The line includes four models offered in 6-foot, 8-foot and 10-foot lengths with most retailing for under $10,000. Built entirely of lightweight aluminum and composites, the Coleman camper is designed for longevity. Exteriors are available in a wide selection of colors, allowing the camper to be color-matched to a family’s car or minivan.
“The 8- and 10-footers can sleep six people,” Tuttle told RVBUSINESS.com. “The 6-footer can sleep four and be towed by a trike motorcycle.”
Tuttle reported that Livin’ Lite introduced the Coleman camper around 30 days ago. Currently, the series is sold exclusively in Camping World Inc. locations, which Tuttle said offers another tie-in to the camping community.
“First off, Coleman is the No. 1 brand in tent camping,” he said. “And Camping World stores are a favorite destination for campers, where they can buy all their gear and accessories. It’s a perfect fit.”
Tuttle noted that the Coleman line also represents an extension of the original business plan for Livin’ Lite, which entered the market 11 years ago with its ultra-light Quicksilver automotive camper.
“We proved there was an untapped audience out there with our Quicksilver line,” he said. “It’s a demographic that, quite frankly, was overlooked. The popup segment has been dwindling for a number of years because units kept getting bigger, heavier and more expensive.
“Builders got away from what was considered a bridge product – bringing campers into the RV industry. The Coleman camping trailer is a true entry-level product. There’s definitely a market, now we just have to build our dealer network.”