Airstream Inc. was named as the winner of the 2013 Readers’ Choice Award by About.com in the RV or camper category.
According to About.com’s website, the Jackson Center, Ohio-based trailer and motorhome builder rated as the readers’ top choice followed by Keystone RV Co. and Forest River Inc. Runners-up included Leisure Travel Vans, a division of Triple E RV Ltd., and Cruiser RV LLC.
Starting in mid-January, About.com began accepting reader nominations for hundreds of award categories. Based on those nominations, About.com experts chose up to five finalists per award category for readers to vote on.
To view other winners in the camping category click here.
Editor’s Note: The following is a story published by the Wall Street Journal on Airstream Inc.’s Land Yacht prototype, designed by Mauro Micheli, and the use of luxury, cutting-edge appointments in the travel trailer segment.
Mauro Micheli has earned international renown over the last two decades as a designer of multimillion-dollar superyachts. His elegant designs for the Italian Riva line have reinvigorated a brand that has catered to celebrities such as George Clooney and Sean Connery.
One of his latest projects applies his spare, modernist aesthetic and taste for luxurious materials to a more prosaic pleasure craft: the camper trailer.
The U.S. recreational vehicle industry is bouncing back after being hammered by the recession, in part due to a bump in demand for live-aboard vehicles with high-design interiors.
As in many industries, it’s the luxury end of the RV world that is driving the recovery, industry executives and analysts say. But beyond the rarefied realm of six- and seven-figure bus-like motor coaches, the high-design strategy has also begun to infiltrate the market for more moderately priced tow-along trailers. Micheli’s design for the posh, 28-foot “Land Yacht” trailer, unveiled at the end of 2012, was commissioned by Airstream, one of the oldest names in the RV business, which is aggressively repositioning its line of signature aluminum trailers to appeal to affluent, style-conscious adventurers.
The Land Yacht’s floors are covered in contrasting bands of teak and white wood, an understated pattern seen in some Riva yachts. Expanses of blond-wood cabinetry, with a bare minimum of hardware and accented by dots of LED lighting, create a spare, elegant look.
Many interior elements can be elegantly hidden away: The sink and stove can be covered by a folding counter, a two-way mirror hides the television and a table in the front of the trailer rests on a telescoping pedestal that drops down to allow for more seating or sleeping space.
Bruce Bannister, Airstream’s vice president for product development, says the Land Yacht concept grew out of discussions with dealers about a new, top-of-the line model. “References to yachts kept coming up,” he says.
Airstream won’t say if it is ready to build the new Land Yacht. But in 2011, the company started showing a prototype design for a model called the Sterling, the latest in a series of Airstreams with interiors designed by Sausalito, Calif., industrial designer and architect Christopher C. Deam, a design-industry luminary who has worked with companies such as furniture maker Herman Miller and retailers Design Within Reach and Target.
The Sterling went into production last year with bright aluminum walls on the inside (traditional Airstreams have floor-to-ceiling paneling), stainless-steel appliances and brightly colored flooring in either “Arctic Dijon” green or “obsidian violet.” Big windows in the front offer a wide view of the outdoors, a feature seen in Deam’s house designs.
To read the entire article and view photos click here.
Columbus, Ohio-based Haydocy Automotive is hooking up with Airstream Inc., according to a report by Columbus Business First. The company plans to open Haydocy Airstream and RV Center next to its Buick and GMC dealership by April.
“We built our Oldsmobile dealership in 2000. A month later, (General Motors) announced they were phasing it out,” owner Chris Haydocy said. “We’ve sat with an empty showroom for years.”
The 15,000-square-foot building, and the five acres it sits on, will become a dealership for Jackson Center-based Airstream’s travel trailers and touring coaches. Haydocy said the fit is ideal given a natural overlap with GMC buyers. He said Holman Motors in Batavia, Ohio, has proven that, rating as one of the top dealerships in the state for both RVs and GMC trucks.
Also, there’s room in the Columbus market for a dealership. According to 2012 sales data from Statistical Surveys Inc., only three of the top 20 dealers in the state are in Central Ohio – Specialty Auto Sales in Lancaster, RCD Sales Co. in Hebron and Tom Raper Inc. in London – and none of those cracked the top 10.
“Columbus is a starved market,” Haydocy said. “People in Franklin County buy, so there’s a huge pent-up demand for sales, service, parts.”
Airstream’s line of travel trailers and touring coaches runs from $35,000 to $139,000.
Haydocy said the investment will be several million dollars between the improvements and inventory. He expects to add 20 jobs and is taking applications.
Columbus Business First reported that the new dealership has been in the works for more than two years.
“We had to wait for the right timing and frankly, that was Oct. 8, 2012,” he said, referring to the opening date for the nearby Hollywood Casino Columbus. “There wasn’t a compelling reason to come to the West side before that.”
Haydocy said there is a natural fit with the casino since both RV dealerships and casinos are destination draws, pulling visitors from other counties and states.
Airstream Inc. announced that 2012 was the best year for sales in the company’s 81-year history, according to a news release.
Airstream, which manufactures travel trailers and Class B motorhomes, saw sales climb 16% year-over-year, outperforming the RV industry which reports approximately 11% growth for the same period.
Airstream’s travel trailer business was up 7% in 2012, while the company’s Class B motorhome sales jumped 28% over 2011.
Airstream attributed the increase to:
• An expanded product offering including Airstream’s Class B Interstate model, which appeals to luxury buyers along with the traditional RV customer.
• An expanded dealer network, which includes 17 new retailers – 12 for the B-Van business and seven new travel trailer retailers.
• Prominent marketing partnerships in 2012 targeting younger consumers, which exposed Airstream to a group of first-time RVers.
“We are pleased to report 2012 was Airstream’s most successful year, and not only are we still in business after 81 years, we’re doing better than ever,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler. “We anticipate a very active 2013 in both North America and abroad as Airstream continues its expansion into new global markets.”
Airstream recently unveiled the Land Yacht Concept Trailer at the National RV Show in Louisville and will announce a decision on production in the months ahead. The company is forecasting 15% growth in its business for 2013.
Airstream Inc. announced it has appointed new dealers in China, South Korea and Australia as part of the company’s global expansion strategy.
According to a press release, Airstream will manufacture and assemble the trailers at the company’s factory in Jackson Center, Ohio, but redesign the units to “fit the unique specifications of each country.” Once completed, the units will be shipped abroad to independent dealers in each market.
Airstream said its three new dealers in China, located in Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, will service a “burgeoning population of consumers that are discovering the RV lifestyle.” As China continues to grow its campground infrastructure, Airstream expects to be a brand in demand by both traditional RVers and collectors because of its iconic American design.
Airstream’s retail expansion into South Korea and Australia allows the brand to “tap into existing RV markets and reach outdoor adventure enthusiasts looking for a well-built RV that represents the highest of quality and design.”
Airstream is already established in the UK, continental Europe and Japan, and is evaluating interest from other markets including South America, South Africa and Russia.
“The addition of these five dealers to Airstream’s global network is a key part of the company’s long-term strategy that we anticipate will generate a new group of passionate Airstreamers abroad,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler. “Advancing Airstream’s international business with the right partners is the key to our success in foreign markets, and through the highly selective process I feel we have found great representatives in these new countries.”
In China, Airstream will operate under the name Flying Cloud by Airstream Inc., USA, and produce units no larger than 23 feet and 2.5 meters wide in accordance with regulations set by China’s department of transportation. By early 2013, each dealer across China, South Korea and Australia will have product inventory available including the Sport, Flying Cloud and International models.
Additional information on the new dealers includes:
• Shanghai, China: Ameritrade Trading Ltd. will represent Airstream in Shanghai. The dealership owner has a deep fondness for the brand, so much so that he named his son Wally after Airstream founder Wally Byam. As former president of the Harley Owners Group in Shanghai, the dealer has a unique understanding of how to market American products to the Chinese.
• Beijing, China: LanDE currently has a network of Jaguar/Land Rover dealerships and has an outstanding reputation for attention to detail and customer service in the luxury automobile sector. The Beijing retailer brings a blend of successful business background with knowledge and passion for Airstream and the lifestyle it represents.
• Xiamen, China: Smart Hero, based in the picturesque city of Xiamen, has a diversified portfolio of unique dealership businesses. They are the authorized Chinese dealer of recreational products such as Cessna aircraft, John Deere utility vehicles, and Sea Ray Yachts. The addition of Airstream travel trailers to their current lineup of these well-known brands is intended to establish Smart Hero as the marquis dealer of high-end recreational products.
• Bateman’s Bay, Australia: A&A Industries will operate Airstream Australia and specializes in providing recreational vehicles to high-end luxury travelers who want to experience long term travel on the open roads. Wheeler recently attended the grand opening of Airstream Australia as the brand’s official launch in the market.
• Seoul, South Korea: Bluebird RV is a full-service RV dealership in Seoul that retains the experience and manpower to make Airstream a key competitor in the market. The dealership’s location provides access to more than 400 commercial campgrounds and national parks.
Airstream Inc. is displaying its expanded product line-up of travel trailers and touring coach models during the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show underway this week in Louisville, Ky.
Airstream’s show debuts include the much-anticipated Land Yacht Concept Trailer, designed in conjunction with the design studio of Officinia Italiana Design and Technoform S.p.A., maker of fine cabinetry, according to a news release.
Airstream also unveiled a 30FB Flying Cloud Bunk floorplan which offers two permanent sleeping locations with privacy for both. To support the company’s growing Class B motorhome business, Airstream modified its popular Interstate, which now features a 9-seat option for both regular and EXT models.
“Airstream’s new products are a direct response to what we’re hearing from our customers,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler “As we expand our product range to include different decors, sizes and amenities, we’re creating an opportunity for more people to answer the call of the open road.”
Airstream’s towable division accepted the Quality Circle Award from the National RV Dealers Association (RVDA) during this year’s show. The award is based upon dealer responses to the 19th Annual Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey, which measures dealer attitudes in key policy, product and procedure areas that dealers say are the most important elements in their business partnerships with manufacturers.
Land Yacht Concept
The Airstream Land Yacht’s contemporary look was created by Tecnoform’s engineering department in partnership with Mauro Micheli, long-time designer for Riva Yachts. Its unique floorplan has a number of carefully placed design elements that create an overall sleek and sophisticated look in the cabin. The unit, capable of sleeping up to five people, has a bedroom in the front, a bathroom amidships and a rear social space, which includes a galley that can be hidden when not in use. The Land Yacht’s powered bed lift reveals access to hidden storage.
Also, the unit features three power awnings with remote control. The ducted air system provides quiet, powerful air conditioning to meet internal climate preferences. The 28-foot Airstream Land Yacht Concept trailer is crafted with quality materials and equipment throughout, including high-luster teak and white wood inlay boat deck flooring, LED panel lighting elements, Corian solid surfaces and plush Ultraleather.
Flying Cloud Bunk
Perfect for families with children or couples that like to entertain the 30FB Flying Cloud bunk floorplan sleeps up to eight people comfortably. The new model features a front main bedroom that has a north-south walk-around queen bed, TV/Blu-Ray player and wardrobe storage. The rear bedroom includes a lower double bed and bunk overhead, something Airstream has not offered in recent years. The 8,800 lb-GVWR Flying Cloud Bunk sports a spacious social space incorporating a new full-size U dinette and a full-size sofa. Its kitchen features a gas oven, microwave and an 8 cubic-foot refrigerator. Additionally, the Flying Cloud Bunk contains generous tank capacities.
Airstream’s Class B motorhome lineup includes a 9-seat floorplan option for both regular and EXT models. The new floorplan option is in response to customers wanting more seating positions without losing the standard amenities. The Interstate is built on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Chassis and is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel engine.
Jackson Center Ohio-based Airstream Inc. announced that its Interstate Class B motorhome model will be available in Canada beginning in the spring 2013. The Airstream Interstate, built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, claimed the spot of No. 1 selling B-van model in the U.S. for 2011 and through September 2012 according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
The Interstate boasts over 50 best-in-class features that distinguish it in the marketplace, according to a press release. As a result, the Interstate has experienced tremendous growth in the US market, commanding 17% market share through the first nine months of 2012. Interstate sales are up 72% year-over-year in the United States, leading Airstream to discuss opportunities for expansion in Canada.
“The Interstate offers a unique blend of luxury, design and performance that we are confident will do well in the Canadian marketplace,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “We see tremendous possibility in this region and look forward to a very active spring, when our Canadian customers can hit the open road in the Interstate for the first time.”
Airstream plans to meet with potential Canadian dealers at the 50th annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 27-29. At the show, the company will also debut a new nine-seat option for the Interstate, at the request of many dealers.
“As a result of our success in the United States, we have had several inquiries from both dealer and retail customers from Canada,” said Airstream General Manager Tim Garner. “We believe the combination of best in class product with progressive dealer programs will drive similar success in Canada and we look forward to discussing these opportunities with Canadian dealers in Louisville.”
For more information and dealership locations in Canada visit www.airstream.com .
Jackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream Inc. will display its expanded product lineup of travel trailers and touring coach models during the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show Louisville, Ky.
Included in the display will be the launch of the Land Yacht concept trailer featuring:
• Crafted with quality materials and equipment throughout, including high-luster teak and white wood inlay boat deck flooring, LED panel lighting elements, Corian® solid surfaces and plush Ultraleather.
• The contemporary look was created by Tecnoform’s engineering department in partnership with Mauro Micheli, the long-time designer for Riva Yachts.
• Features include a bedroom up Front, a bathroom amidships and a rear social space including a galley that can be hidden when not in use.
Other new models from Airstream include:
• 30FB Flying Cloud – This new model features a main bedroom with a north-south walk-around queen bed and a rear bedroom with a lower double bed and an additional bunk overhead.
• International Series Signature – New interior options for all new models include a Mojave color scheme that comes with premium fabrics by Sunbrella.
• Interstate and Interstate EXT – Now available in a new floor plan that seats up to nine adults. A new black Ultraleather option is available for the Onyx and Camel décors.
Airstream Inc. today (Nov. 9) announced the promotion of Marion Slater to director of manufacturing, effective Nov. 1.
According to a press release, Slater will oversee all aspects of Airstream’s motorhome and trailer production operations, adhering to “Airstream’s established goals and objectives relating to quality, safety, schedule, cost and efficiency, while maintaining the facilities cleanliness and organization.”
Slater began his career with Airstream in 2006 as a manufacturing engineer and was promoted to production department manager in September 2010. bachelor’s in industrial management systems engineering from the University of South Florida.
“For the past six years Marion’s hard work and commitment to the Airstream family has made him a vital addition to our team,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “His understanding of the Airstream brand makes Marion the ideal candidate for director of manufacturing and we look forward to his continued growth within the company.”
Slater will report directly to Mark Wahl, senior vice president of operations.
Airstream Inc. announced the brand’s popular Airstream Interstate was once again the No. 1 selling Class B motorhome model in the U.S. for the first seven months of 2012, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
The Jackson Center, Ohio-based company said in a press release that from January through July, Airstream grew its market share in the touring coach segment by 45%, surpassing the reported growth of 27% for Class B vans for the same time period.
Airstream Interstate unit sales for the first seven months of 2012 increased nearly 85% over 2011, a year that Airstream also claimed top-selling honors. The company attributes its continued achievement to a slight uptick in the economy as well as customer demand for the quality and design found in the Interstate’s Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis.
“The ongoing momentum and interest in the Interstate has been driven by our premium take on product design,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler. “While we may be most famous for our travel trailers, the same principles of design, quality and innovation make the Interstate stand out from the crowd.