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Tampa RV Show Generates Cautious Optimism

January 19, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Supplier booths were jammed at Tampa Show The general mood of RV industry exhibitors at the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) Florida RV SuperShow was decidedly upbeat regarding prospects for 2016, although tempered in some cases with realistic concerns about any number of factors – from interest rates to national elections to an unpredictable stock market. Tim Hyland, president of the RV Group for GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finanance unit, said most of the measurable indicators... Read more

‘Born Free 2.0’ Draws Impressive Tampa Crowd

January 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Born Free Reign Class C at Tampa SuperShow The crowds that converged last week on the Born Free Motorcoach display during public days (Jan. 13-17) of the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) 2016 Florida RV SuperShow served notice that the small 47-year-old Humboldt, Iowa motorhome builder co-founded by John N. Dodgen – a coach-building pioneer and inventor who passed away in August — is here to stay under new ownership and a new CEO. That’s the message that Jeff Butler, now president... Read more

Camping World Raises Stakes in RV Aftermarket

January 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

John Sirpilla At a time of unparalleled change in the RV parts and accessories aftermarket segment of the North American RV industry, major retailer Camping World Inc. (CWI) is laying the groundwork for a big wholesale aftermarket expansion move utilizing the Illinois-based company’s existing National RV Supply sister division “to ensure that independent dealers across the country are offered fair and competitive prices in light of the recent RV aftermarket consolidations.” Camping World’s... Read more

Keystone Automotive: ‘RVB Newsmaker of Year’

December 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Keystone Automotive VP and General Manager Bill Rogers There were plenty of high profile breaking news stories that captured the public’s eye in 2015, including protracted management changes at Winnebago Industries Inc., the arrival of new Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Frank Hugelmeyer and the recent sale of GE Capital to Wells Fargo & Co. Consolidation, at the same time, continued to reshape the North American RV marketplace in a big way over the past year. For instance:   ... Read more

New Gulf Stream Class C’s Tailored for Families

December 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Gulf Stream Conquest Class C Gulf Stream Coach Inc. has returned to the motorized RV business after a three-year hiatus with the debut of two 2016 Class C’s bearing familiar Gulf Stream brand names – BT Cruiser and Conquest – nameplates that the Nappanee, Ind., RV manufacturer hasn’t utilized since stepping away from the motorized arena in 2012 in the wake of the recession. With the general renaissance of the RV market, Director of Marketing Paul Campbell said Gulf Stream’s management felt... Read more

REV Recreation Group Revives American Dream

December 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

American Coach Dream Class A diesel by REV REV Recreation Group, manufacturer of Fleetwood RV, American Coach, Holiday Rambler and Monaco Class A motorhomes, reintroduced the American Coach Dream Class A brand at the Louisville Show, showing both 42- and 45-foot models of an upscale diesel coach built on the company’s customized “Liberty Bridge” Freightliner chassis. The new Dream models shown at Louisville, retailing for MSRP’s of $464,235 and $531,735 respectively, are part of a 2016 American... Read more

Opinion: Louisville Show Drawing Mixed Reviews

December 7, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

Dealers check out supplier booths at Louisville Now that we’re all back in the saddle from a busy week at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 53rd Annual National RV Trade Show, Dec. 1-3 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, a quiet debate continues to simmer among industry insiders regarding the viability of the venerable “Louisville Show.” Of course, the debate’s been percolating for awhile in the offices and restaurants of the RV manufacturing hub of Elkhart,... Read more

Forest River Expands Gas Class A Manufacturing

November 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Forest River’s gas Class A FR3 motorhome Construction work began last week on the west side of Elkhart, Ind., for an expansive new facility in which Forest River Inc. plans to consolidate and expand manufacturing of its gas-fueled Class A motorhomes. The new 180,000-square-foot plant, located just north of Forest River’s headquarters on County Road 1, is a response to “super strong” demand for the Berkshire Hathaway division’s Georgetown and FR3 Class A’s and should ultimately yield... Read more

Larry Hughes: The Quintessential Fleetwood Guy

November 13, 2015 by · 4 Comments 

Larry Hughes, 71, a bigger-than-life character and one of the industry’s most recognizable individuals over the past 40 years – a guy some might consider the quintessential Fleetwood man – passed away early Thursday (Nov. 12) morning with his family at his side near his Whidbey Island, Wash., home. Known to friends and competitors alike as an executive for now-defunct Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. – the Southern California RV manufacturing giant that controlled about a third of the U.S. RV marketplace... Read more

Furrion Finalizes Elkhart Innovation Center Plans

October 30, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Artist’s rendering of planned Furrion Innovation Center Imagine, for a moment, a modernistic, 35,000-square-foot showcase facility located along the Indiana Toll Road just west of the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. – an eye-catching structure housing elaborate engineering offices, showrooms and a lounge for visitors that beckons curious Toll Road travelers and Hall of Fame visitors as well as business people and students intent on building careers in North America’s RV industry. Well,... Read more

Winnebago Debuting ‘Fuse’ Class C in Louisville

October 29, 2015 by · 4 Comments 

Winnebago Fuse Class C built on Ford Transit platform Although Winnebago Industries Inc. has already unveiled the bulk of its 2016 lineup, the Iowa-based motorhome builder appears to have kept its best for last with plans to debut a 24-foot Winnebago Fuse Class C built on a new-to-the-U.S. Ford Transit chassis at the Dec. 1-3 Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 52nd Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. “It’s a segment-buster because it’s a brand new look,” reported... Read more

Boys & Girls Clubs Seeking RV Industry Support

October 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A healthy representation of the Elkhart, Ind., area’s RV industry leadership sat down Wednesday morning (Sept. 28), coffee cups in hand, for a closed-door meeting at the RV/MH Hall of Fame to review the details of a charitable program they’re being asked to support in a significant way – expansion of the Elkhart and Goshen facilities of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. The Boys & Girls Clubs actually function in four locales, with Nappanee and Middlebury home to satellite programs.... Read more

OPINION: Insights from RVB’s ‘Top 50’ Panelists

October 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

EDITOR’S NOTE: As Phase 2 of the RV industry’s annual show season approaches, RVB Publisher Sherm Goldenberg highlights some timely insights related to the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards program. Coming out of the Hershey Show, the Elkhart RV Open House and other stops along the way, it’s often tough each fall to catch your breath, stay organized and sort through all of the important (and trivial) things you hear at shows, lunchrooms and hotel lounges. And the hits just keep on coming with... Read more

Turtle Top, FCCC Tailgate at ND-Clemson Game

October 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Representatives of New Paris, Ind.-based commercial vehicle builder Turtle Top and management personnel from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC), Gaffney, S.C., did some serious tailgating prior to last Saturday’s (Oct. 3) Notre Dame-Clemson NCAA football game – a game that, unfortunately, resulted in a 24-22 loss for northern Indiana’s revered Fighting Irish.“We’re standing in this picture in front of Turtle Top’s special Customer Appreciation Command Center, an amazing custom-designed... Read more

RVB Announces Top 50 Dealer Award Recipients

September 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

U.S. and Canadian recreational vehicle retailers named in late September as recipients of 2015 RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards tend to share some consistent traits, according to the panel of industry experts who annually select the winners — including a penchant for cutting-edge digital marketing, selfless charitable giving and a more open-minded approach to servicing all traveling RV owners, not just their own customers. The newest class of Top 50 dealers, including a slate of five exemplary... Read more

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