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Thor Announces Major Expansion for Airstream

September 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

                         Thor Industries Inc. today (Sept. 29) announced a significant expansion of production and office capacity at the company’s Airstream Inc. subsidiary in Jackson Center, Ohio.  The project will add approximately 94,000 square feet to Airstream’s existing 134,000 square-foot travel trailer plant.

“With the recent strong growth in our markets, momentum and optimism among our dealers and positive outlook for future growth, this expansion will help us achieve our long-term growth objectives,” commented Bob Wheeler, Airstream president. “We are also pleased to make this $5.9 million investment in Jackson Center, where our manufacturing base has been located since 1952. Our commitment to the community matches our strong heritage here, as well as our vision of continued growth over the long term.”

In fiscal 2014, Airstream reached capacity production levels at its main travel trailer plant, highlighting the need to increase capacity to meet the growing demands for the iconic Airstream trailers. Once completed in May of 2015, the new addition to the production facilities will result in an increase in current production capacity of approximately 50% over current levels.

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Airstream Adding ‘Quietstream’ to Travel Trailers

September 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

airstream logoIn a message on its Facebook account, Airstream Inc., a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc., has announced the addition of ducted climate control to its iconic travel trailers. Officials previously had told RVBUSINESS.com that models with ducted climate control, dubbed “Quietstream,” would be on display at the upcoming Elkhart County RV Dealer Open House.
“Sleekly integrated ceiling vents throughout the travel trailer not only add to an already aesthetically pleasing interior, but the reduction in noise is phenomenal – all making your travel experience perfect,” the message stated.
Quietstream is standard on Flying Cloud, International Signature and Serenity, Eddie Bauer, Land Yacht and Classic models 25 feet and longer.
Quietstream at a glance:
  • Significantly reduced noise-level, thanks to an exterior-mounted heat pump/ cooling unit
  • Integrated venting for a sleek interior design aesthetic
  • Improved cooling efficiency to save money and energy
  • Improved heating performance, supplementing the standard LP gas furnace
  • Available on all 2015 models 25ft. and up
Airstream is based in Jackson Center, Ohio.
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Airstream Adding Grand Tour to Interstate Line

August 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

airstream logoJackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream Inc. announced the rollout of the Grand Tour in its popular Interstate Class B motorhome lineup. According to a press release, the Grand Tour will be available to dealers in early September.

Compared to the standard Interstate range, Airstream said the Grand Tour design includes a larger galley with additional counter and multifunctional storage space, a flexible workspace desk and an expanded bathroom area, oversized refrigerator and freezer, standard power awning and optional dual screen doors.

“The Interstate Grand Tour provides everything a couple needs for a comfortable and convenient life on the open road,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler. “For more than 80 years, Airstream travel trailers have enabled people to explore the romance of the world around them. The new Grand Tour embraces that spirit of adventure in a modern, perfectly sized, premium touring coach.”

Wheeler added, “Like our traditional Airstream travel trailers, the Interstate Grand Tour touring coach packs so much luxury and utility into a convenient package – office, bedroom, patio, the works. It brings the classic Airstream design aesthetic to life, with well thought-out features, exceptional fit and finish and attention to detail.”

The Interstate Grand Tour is based on the Interstate EXT and has an overall exterior length of 24 feet, 4 1/2 inches and an overall exterior height of 9 feet, 8 inches. With autolike handling and standard rear backup camera, the Grand tour is easy to “maneuver on the road, in campsites and in parking lots.”

Like all Airstream Interstate models, the Grand Tour is built on a proven, heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, providing exceptional fuel economy and driving range from its standard clean-diesel power plant. Safety and security features include six air bags, lane keeping and collision prevention systems and parking sensors.

Standard features include UltraLeather seating, convertible rear sofa/6-foot 10-inch double bed, Corian countertops, adjustable LED interior lighting, drawer microwave, refrigerator/freezer, large bathroom with shower, navigation system, Kenwood Multimedia Entertainment System with rear speakers, twin high-definition LED televisions and rear storage space. The interior is offered in a range of durable yet luxurious fabrics and colors.

The Interstate Grand Tour also includes Xenon headlights, forged aluminum-alloy wheels, hidden trailer hitch, power awning and power entry step.

For more information, visit www.airstream.com or call (877) 596-6111.

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Airstream Recognizes Colonial as No. 1 Retailer

August 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

 

Colonial Airstream's crew gathers with Airstream's Steve Hartman and Tim Maxwell.

Colonial Airstream’s crew gathers with Airstream’s Steve Hartman and Tim Maxwell.

Airstream, which bills itself as the most recognized RV manufacturer in North America, visited its No.1-ranked U.S. retailer – Colonial Airstream – last week to formally present the dealership with a special recognition award for its 1,500th trailer sold and delivered in April of this year. This milestone was met in just over 10 years since they took on the iconic Airstream product lines, Airstream announced Aug. 22..

“Like so many of our dedicated dealers, Colonial Airstream understands the importance of fostering a relationship with their customers so they’ll return again and again – for routine warranty service and for their next travel trailer or touring coach,” said President and CEO Bob Wheeler. 

Overall, Colonial leads Airstream retail sales in both the touring coach and travel trailer segments due in part to the 27 employees that provide exceptional service during the sales process and beyond.

“A little more than a decade ago, my brother John and I took on Airstream and never could have predicted just how far a small dealership in New Jersey could come in selling the most iconic RV in the world,” said Jim Lenzo, co-owner of Colonial Airstream. “Our success wouldn’t be possible without the great partnership between the wonderful people at Airstream and our entire staff. It takes a team effort to ensure success and my brother John and I would like to thank our entire organization for this award as it truly belongs to each and every one of our employees.”

Airstream, based in Jackson Center, Ohio, is a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc., based in Elkhart, Ind.

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Airstream Names Leading International Dealers

August 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Pictured above (L-R) Justin Humphreys, Airstream Vice President of Sales; Bob Wheeler, Airstream President and CEO; George Stayberg, Owner of Midtown RV; Mark Inkrote, Regional Director of Sales Touring Coaches - Western Region.

Pictured above (L-R) Justin Humphreys, Airstream Vice President of Sales; Bob Wheeler, Airstream President and CEO; George Stayberg, Owner of Midtown RV; Mark Inkrote, Regional Director of Sales Touring Coaches – Western Region.

Airstream Inc. announced its top international dealer rankings based on retail units sold between May 2013 and May 2014 during the company’s dealer meeting in Charleston, S.C., which hosted retailers from Canada, U.K., Germany, Japan, China, Thailand and Australia.

According to a press release, U.K.-based Airstream & Co., located in Penrith, Cumbria, just north of London, was awarded Airstream’s “Top International Dealer” award. The dealership, which serves on the annual Airstream Dealer Council, has been tailoring its service and sales experience to the needs of its customers since 2006 under the company name Airstream Europe. 2010 marked a successful year and it was changed to Airstream & Co. to signify their expansion and an additional southern U.K. location. Sales Director Michael Hold, who has been with the company since the beginning, accepted the award.

Airstream partners in Canada were also recognized for success in travel trailer and touring coach sales. Can-Am RV Centre in London, Ontario, a dealership known for their customer focus and expertise in towing systems, was named “Top Travel Trailer Dealer.” Midtown RV, a family owned dealership located in Penticton, British Columbia, was awarded the “Top Canadian Touring Coach Dealer.”

“Airstream has been steadily growing its international presence over the past few years,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “From Canada and the U.K. to our new partners in China, we’ve already seen how Airstream’s appeal can cross borders and oceans. Now we’re on our way to make this idea of camping a universal language that everyone can understand.”

In addition to the top international sales awards, Airstream also presented Airstream Japan with a 20-year service award.

“Airstream is honored to have such a great partner in Airstream Japan and the commitment they have shown us is an honor we take very seriously,” said Wheeler. “On behalf of 471 hard working families of Jackson Center, Ohio, we want to thank the employees of Airstream Japan for their continued support.”

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Airstream Inc. Announces List of Top Dealers

July 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

airstream logoAirstream Inc. announced its top U.S. dealer rankings based on retail units sold between May 2013 and May 2014 during the company’s dealer meeting in Charleston, S.C.

Airstream’s “Top Dealer” winner, Colonial Airstream, is a family owned dealership and leads retail sales in both the touring coach and travel trailer classes. Based in Lakewood, N.J., Colonial has dedicated sales staff for Airstream that provides industry leading sales support and exceptional service after the sale.

Airstream awarded the “Top Dealer Group” for multiple locations to Adventures Northwest, with locations in Boise, Idaho, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Seattle, Wash. Airstream Adventures Northwest is a an Airstream exclusive dealer offering both sales and service.

“We currently have the strongest dealer body we have had in many years from top to bottom,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler, “and it gives us great pleasure to honor these top performers. They epitomize what it takes to top the list: passion, focus, and a commitment to customer satisfaction.”

In the past three years, Airstream has taken a retail-focused approach to its dealer channel focusing on tools and training that will help make their dealer partners successful.

“This retail focus continues to drive success as the 10th largest retail dealer five years ago would only be the 26th largest dealer in this year’s ranking,” said Wheeler. “The success is a real tribute to the commitment Airstream dealers have made over the past three years.”

In early 2014, Wheeler attributed the brand’s committed dealer network to Airstream’s record-breaking 2013 sales, which placed production levels at a nearly all-time high. The demand for Airstream’s design-driven products led to the largest backlog the company experienced in more than 30 years.

Other recognized leaders include:

Top 10 Airstream dealers ranked by travel trailer retail units sold:

  • Colonial Airstream – Lakewood, N.J.
  • Bay Area Airstream Adventures – Fairfield, Calif.
  • Airstream Adventures Northwest – Gladstone, Ore.
  • Airstream Adventures Northwest – Covington, Calif.
  • Airstream Los Angeles – San Gabriel, Calif.
  • Camper Clinic II – Buda, Texas
  • Windish RV – Lakewood, Colo.
  • Airstream Orange County – Westminster, Calif.
  • Airstream Adventures Northwest- Nampa, Calif.
  • Toscano RV – Los Banos, Calif.

Top 10 Airstream Dealers ranked by touring coach retail units sold:

  • Colonial Airstream – Lakewood, N.J.
  • Camper Clinic II – Buda, Texas
  • Tied for 3rd - North Trail RV, Fort Myers, Fla., and Vogt RV, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Tied for 5th - Bay Area Airstream Adventures, Fairfield, Calif., and Schumacher, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Tied for 7th – Arbogast RV, Troy, Ohio, and Airstream Los Angeles – San Gabriel, Calif.
  • Airstream Adventures Northwest – Gladstone, Ore.
  • Tied for 10th – Airstream Adventures Northwest, Covington, Calif., and Airstream Orange County, Westminster, Calif.

In addition to the recognition of the top selling dealerships, Airstream also honored dealers for service and parts excellence, including:           

Service Excellence

Airstream Adventures Northwest – Gladstone, Ore.

Airstream of Spokane  

Top Parts Dealer

Out of doors Mart

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Airstream, Mercedes-Benz Club Form Alliance

June 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

 

New Sprinter-based Autobahn van

New Sprinter-based Autobahn van

Airstream Inc. and the Mercedes-Benz Club of America (MBCA) announced an exclusive multi-year partnership that will create a dedicated Airstream owners’ community, supported through partnership in MBCA club events and a variety of co-marketing programs.

Effective June 2014, Airstream will purchase a one-year MBCA membership for every customer who buys a new Airstream Interstate motorhome or Autobahn passenger van, both based on the award-winning Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. Airstream will also give current qualifying MBCA Members a $500 discount on the purchase of a new Interstate or Autobahn.

“The values shared by Airstream and Mercedes-Benz have always been clear, but aligning ourselves more closely with such a large and active owners’ group will yield great benefits for all parties. We look forward to bringing to life the full potential of this new relationship,” said Bob Wheeler, Airstream president and CEO, in a press release.

“We are thrilled to partner with Airstream as we welcome Interstate and Autobahn owners to the MBCA community. We look forward to seeing Interstate and Autobahn at events in the U.S. and Canada, which celebrate the heritage of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and we warmly anticipate the start of new and lasting friendships with their enthusiastic owners,” said Terry Kiwala, MBCA national president.

Airstream first began its partnership with Mercedes-Benz with the launch of the Airstream Interstate in 2004, which remains the top model in its class for the third year in a row and is built from a bespoke version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van chassis. Airstream’s new luxury VIP passenger van, the Autobahn, was launched in early June 2014 and is now available through select Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dealers. For more information visit www.airstreamautobahn.com.

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Airstream Generates 49% Growth in 3Q Sales

June 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

airstream logoJackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream Inc., a Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary, continues to roll along.

The Dayton Daily News reported that sales for the Shelby County RV maker were up 49% in its third quarter, ended April 30, compared to the same period last year.

Bob Wheeler, president and CEO of Airstream, said the third quarter success was partly a result of a seasonal uptick and a general sense of consumer confidence that seems to be driving the RV industry overall. In addition, the company has ramped up marketing efforts while some new dealers that opened in the last year are fully stocked and getting up to speed.

For the full story click here.

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Airstream’s Wheeler: Dealers Key to Success

May 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

001Serving as the centerpiece for his address at the May 14-16 Airstream Inc. Dealer Meeting, President and CEO Bob Wheeler applauded the company’s impressive sales growth in the past year while linking that success to the efforts – and loyalty – of its retail partners.

“This is a very select group. We’re very careful about who we choose to partner with,” Wheeler said during the gathering at the Embassy Suites North Charleston Airport/Hotel & Convention Center in Charleston, S.C. “The statement that really drives our business is ‘our success starts with yours.’ It’s not the other way around. There are many companies in this industry, and others, that have gotten that equation backwards.”

Wheeler noted that Airstream’s dealer base was again growing following the attrition that thinned the ranks during the heart of the recession. 

“Slowly, we’ve been building our dealer base since the recession,” he said. “I mean we really got hammered. We lost some great dealers, many of whom didn’t come back. It’s a regret that I have and it’s a shame. That said, we’ve added some fantastic dealerships in great points on the map, again very selectively.”

He added, “We have a commitment not to ‘over-dealer.’ We give strong territories and we will maintain the commitment in the future.”

That commitment paid strong dividends during the past year, as Wheeler reported that the Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary’s wholesale shipments increased 64% while retail sales grew 41%.

“With your help, it was another fantastic year,” he said. “It’s been a phenomenal run, well beyond what the market has done. We’ve really been able to outstrip the market with your help. Again, you’re the critical link in this chain.”

Other highlights from Wheeler’s address:

Facilities expansion: “If you haven’t been to Jackson Center (Ohio) in a while, you’re going to see some big changes, including a major renovation of our motorhome facility,” Wheeler said. “The expansion will double Airstream’s production capability for motorhomes and we think we’ll need every bit of that in the next year, year and a half.” The company is also planning a major expansion for its travel trailer plant that will add about 30% more production space. Wheeler said there is also additional office space planned.  

Workforce Strength: “We got down to 181 people five years ago,” Wheeler said. “We’re very proud to say that we’re up to 458 employees, the highest level of employment this company has ever seen.” He also emphasized the number of long-term workers, noting, “We’ve got employees working at our company longer than any other RV company has been in business currently, which is pretty remarkable.”

Partnerships Grow Brand: “We are getting more and more companies calling to ask about partnerships,” Wheeler stated. “We say no a lot more than we say yes, but it’s interesting how when your brand is hot, the phone just continues to ring.” Wheeler said the company’s product was being featured in ads by a wide scope of high-profile companies looking to leverage Airstream’s brand recognition with consumers. “They want to use our product for their purposes because they know our brand is hot,” he said. “We use their marketing power to help get our message out and drive people to your dealerships.” 

Global Presence: Wheeler said that Airstream had dealers represented in the U.K., Germany, Japan, China, Australia, South Korea and Italy while recently gaining a presence in Norway and Thailand. “We’ve got longer-term opportunities as well that we’ll pursue at some point, once it makes sense,” Wheeler said. “Again this is a global brand. There’s as much passion and desire for Airstream in many of those countries that I mentioned as there is here in the U.S.  It’s one of the great pleasures to talk to somebody that may not speak your language, but they’ve got their Airstream tee-shirt on. It’s a lot of fun to know that we cut across these cultures.” 

Airstream Vice President of Marketing Mollie Hansen and Vice President of Sales Justin Humphreys also presented during the meeting along with Thor Industries Inc. President and CEO Bob Martin, RVDA President Phil Ingrassia and RVIA Vice President of Communications and Marketing James Ashurst.  

In addition, Airstream recognized its top dealers, including:

Travel Trailer- Top 10

 COLONIAL AIRSTREAM – LAKEWOOD, N.J.

 BAY AREA AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES – FAIRFIELD, CALIF.

 AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES NORTHWEST – GLADSTONE, ORE.

 AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES NORTHWEST – COVINGTON, CALIF.

 AIRSTREAM LOS ANGELES  - SAN GABRIEL, CALIF.

 CAMPER CLINIC II – BUDA, TEXAS

 WINDISH RV – LAKEWOOD, COLO.

 AIRSTREAM ORANGE COUNTY – WESTMINSTER, CALIF.

 AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES NORTHWEST- NAMPA, CALIF.

 TOSCANO RV – LOS BANOS, CALIF.

 #1 Travel Trailer Dealer- Canada

 CAN-AM TRAILERS- LONDON, ONTARIO

 Touring Coaches

 COLONIAL AIRSTREAM – LAKEWOOD, N.J.

 CAMPER CLINIC II – BUDA, TEXAS

 NORTH TRAIL RV  - FORT MYERS, FLA.

 VOGT RV – FORT WORTH, TEXAS

 BAY AREA AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES – FAIRFIELD, CALIF.

 SCHUMACHER – PHOENIX, ARIZ.

 ARBOGAST RV – TROY, OHIO

 AIRSTREAM LOS ANGELES  - SAN GABRIEL, CALIF.

 AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES NORTHWEST – GLADSTONE, ORE.

 AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES NORTHWEST – COVINGTON, CALIF.

 AIRSTREAM ORANGE COUNTY – WESTMINSTER, CALIF.

 #1 Touring Coach Dealer- Canada

 MIDTOWN RV- PENTICTION, ONTARIO

 #1 Dealer All Products- Single Location

 COLONIAL AIRSTREAM- LAKEWOOD, N.J.

 #1 Dealer Group All Products

 AIRSTREAM ADVENTURES NORTHWEST

 #1 International Dealer

 AIRSTREAM & COMPANY- CUMBRIA, U.K.

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Airstream’s British Distributor Grows Operations

April 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Airstream Inc. is expanding operations in the U.K. and European markets, according to a report by Caravan Times.

The iconic American brand has enjoyed a surge in demand in both the U.K. and European markets, and British distributor Airstream & Co. is now expanding its team in its Cumbrian headquarters as well as its outlet in Andoversford, Gloucestershire.

Since the company brought the brand to the U.K. in 2006, it has seen hugely positive results with the popularity of its models soaring.

Michael Hold, sales director, noted, “This is fantastic news for the British market as it means that here we will have the space, time and freedom to concentrate on further increasing sales and offering a better service and repairs facility.”

For the full story click here.

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