Opinion: Thor/Jayco Deal’s a Big Game Changer

July 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Wilbur and Derald Bontrager Tectonic plates moved in a sense within the North American RV industry on Thursday (June 30) when Thor Industries Inc. – one of the RV arena’s two manufacturing leaders – announced an agreement to acquire Jayco Corp., merging Thor’s 11,000 employees with Jayco’s 3,300 workers and consolidating 47.1% of the U.S. RV retail market share under the corporate umbrella of Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor. Certainly one of the industry’s worst kept secrets by the time the... Read more

Keystone Hosts Auto, RV Clients at Open House

June 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

George Lathouris, director of U.S. automotive sales for KAO, in front of “cannon tubes” used for shipping awnings and moldings (Photo by Shawn Spence) Exeter, Pa.-based Keystone Automotive Operations Inc. (KAO) had previously announced the opening of its sprawling, 360,000-square-foot Brownstown, Mich., warehouse, which has been shipping parts and accessories orders to independent automotive retailers and RV parts and accessories clients since last fall. (To view a slideshow scroll to... Read more

Go RVing Canada Touts ‘Wildhood’ Ad Response

June 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Chris Mahony Go RVing Canada, a marketing offshoot of the 19-year-old U.S.-based Go RVing Coalition’s national market expansion program, is exceeding the expectations of its founding board, comprised of members of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada and the Canadian RV Association (CRVA). Although it’s closely aligned with the U.S. program, Go RVing Canada was established to give Canada’s RV industry more creative independence in an effort to reach younger – and... Read more

Opinion: Indiana Beach Tragedy an ‘Act of God’

June 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Almost lost in the week’s daunting national news was the sad story of 10-year-old Blaike Glassburn, a Mishawaka, Ind., youth who lost his life early Tuesday (June 14) while tent-camping with his family at Indiana Beach Amusement Resort in Monticello, Ind. It was a one-in-a-million set of circumstances – some would call it an act of God — that took the youngster’s life when lightning from an ominous thunderstorm hit a tree above him, dropping a large branch onto his tent at the 90-year-old... Read more

EverGreen Official Confirms Company’s Closing

June 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment has confirmed rampant news reports of the Friday (June 10) closure of Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC, a 300-employee, Middlebury, Ind.-based towable RV manufacturer. “We have suspended the majority of our operations effective Friday, as we try to reorganize, sell assets and/or brands of EverGreen RV,” indicated an official for the company located north of Middlebury in eastern Elkhart County near the Indiana Toll Road. “As we’ve been transitioning, we’ve encouraged people,... Read more

Trailer Life Magazine Celebrating 75th Birthday

June 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s not often that a publication survives for 75 years, especially in an era in which newspaper and magazine publishing in general has faced so many challenges. But those receiving the July issue of Trailer Life, published monthly out of Oxnard, Calif., by GS Media & Events, a division of Good Sam Enterprises LLC, were reminded of the fact that Trailer Life is an exception to the rule as the magazine is marking its 75th birthday in publication. That’s the gist of Publisher Bob Livingston’s... Read more

The BUZZ: Donnelly Appreciates Obama’s Visit

June 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Donnelly makes his entrance before President Barak Obama’s speech in Elkhart (Photo by Tyler Klassen) President Barack Obama’s Wednesday (June 1) return to the RV manufacturing center of Elkhart, a northern Indiana city that he repeatedly visited during the recession because of its high unemployment rates, clearly cast a positive national spotlight on a resurgent area that today accounts for 85% of U.S. recreational vehicle shipments and tens of thousands of related jobs. Obama’s visit —... Read more

Jayco Surprises Execs with Milestone Trophy

May 25, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Wilbur and Derald Bontrager The bulk of Jayco Inc.’s senior management team surprised the Middlebury, Ind.-based RV manufacturer’s chief executives Wednesday morning (May 25) in the company’s executive conference room with a momento – a trophy – marking what in this industry is a remarkable feat by anyone’s estimation: the production of the RV builder’s one millionth unit. While Chairman Wilbur Bontrager and his brother, President & CEO Derald Bontrager, obviously couldn’t pinpoint... Read more

Ex-Auto Workers Could Land RV Jobs in Elkhart

May 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a good news-bad news story for the northern Indiana cities of Elkhart and Goshen and for the 500 workers being laid off by Diversified Machine, a manufacturer of automotive parts located in Bristol. A division of Chassix, a large Michigan-based parts supplier, Diversified announced in a WARN notice Friday that it was downsizing its Elkhart County facility as a result of the cancellation of a major contract. And while the first of those layoffs involving 272 hourly and salaried workers was... Read more

Saturday’s ‘Bids for Kids’ Auction Raises Bar

May 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Bids for Kids auction drew 730 to the Hall of Fame (Photo by Tyler Klassen) Saturday (May 7) night’s 8th Annual Bids for Kids Dinner & Auction, a crowd-pleasing fund-raiser organized by Elkhart, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen, raised the bar in most every respect from previous auctions and again served up a high profile social event for about 730 attendees, a majority of them from the RV industry. (To view a slideshow scroll to... Read more

RVIA Attracting 300-Plus for NHTSA Seminar

May 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Over 300 industry representative are in attendance today at the RV/MH Hall of Fame event covering NHTSA requirements The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) first full-blown effort to bring the RV industry’s manufacturers and suppliers up to speed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) latest safety-related requirements was well underway this morning (May 4) as a large crowd of RVIA members and non-members were in attendance for the all-day seminar... Read more

Cruz-Fiorina Campaign Rolls Into ‘RV Capital’

April 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Ted Cruz with Frank Lucchese (L) during Thursday’s campaign stop at Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant on the east side of Elkhart, Ind. (Photo by Roger Schneider) If Indiana is in fact “Ground Zero” for the national Republican presidential race, the very epicenter of the Hoosier State’s electoral race on the brink of next week’s primary election – at least for a couple of hours on Thursday (April 28) — was Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant on County Road 17 on the east side... Read more

The BUZZ: Go RVing is Anticipating Millennials

April 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Karen Redfern Time and again, the industry talks about the Millennials – people from their late teens to their early 30s with their authentically different views of our culture, products and society. They, like countless generations before them, audaciously challenge conventional wisdom on many levels as the industry works to develop products and parks to suit their intrinsic tastes. Authentically different? Among their quirks, the mass media tell us, is a need for quick answers. They’ll take... Read more

Priority Network has ‘Best Meeting in 18 Years’

April 13, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Judging by the attitudes and comments of the independent RV dealers who gathered Mar. 28-30 at the M Resort Spa & Casino Hotel in suburban Las Vegas for the 18th Annual Priority RV Network Meeting, the U.S. RV industry – barring the unforeseen – is in a position to post its seventh consecutive year of growth in 2016. That goes for Priority’s individual members, including a number of the country’s best known independent retailers, as well as for the Priority RV Network itself – a “dealer-run,... Read more

Q&A: Keller Is Expanding Its East Coast Reach

March 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The shifting tectonic plates in the RV parts and accessories aftermarket have actually accelerated the growth of some of North America’s so-called “regional” distributors – small-to-midsize operations like Port Trevorton, Pa.-based Keller Marine & RV. The 100-employee distributorship, a long-term player in the Mid-Atlantic and New England States launched in 1958 as a boat parts distributor by George and Margaret Keller, is run today by the Kellers’ son, President Mike Keller, and daughter,... Read more

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