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 the introduction of the stylish Airstream International Sterling Edition travel trailer during the Jackson Center, Ohio, company’s annual meeting attended by 34 dealers May 20-21 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.
The 2013 Sterling, designed by noted architect Christopher C. Deam, was first shown as a prototype at last year’s Louisville Show and is set to go into production in late June. It will be available in 25- and 27-foot lengths with striking “fabric-look” yellow and violet vinyl floors.
The modernistic Sterling has anodized-aluminum interior sidewalls accented by aluminum cabinets, LED lighting and white ultraleather furniture. It’s the third Deam interior commissioned by Airstream in the past decade.
In addition, Airstream for 2013 ”tweaked” its travel trailer and Class B motorhome lineups, Airstream President Bob Wheeler told RVBUSINESS.com. The builder also outlined a variety of matters addressed by the 12-member Airstream Dealer Council during a May 21 awards dinner.
”We talked about our focusing on increasing our support of the dealer and dealer operations,” Wheeler said. ”We are going to increase lead generation and provide point-of-purchase display options to allow the dealer to create an Airstream boutique in their dealerships.”
To that end, Wheeler reported that Airstream is in the midst of establishing a Customer Relations Management (CRM) system to provide and track higher quality leads for Airstream dealers.
”We generate a tremendous number of leads through airstream.com,” Wheeler said. ”We are trying to make those leads the highest quality possible.”
Check out the next issue of RVBusiness magazine for expanded coverage.
In the 1950s, the Airstream trailer was the King of the Road.
They began hitting American roads in the mid-’30s, after founder Wally Byam bought out Hawley Bowlus’ bankrupt company. Bowlus had been the chief designer of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis,” and as a result, his trailers were sleek, silvery and aerodynamic, according to The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Calif.
The years following World War II through the 1960s were the most popular for Airstream. In was an era when the family vacation was just taking off in earnest.
“(The trailers) were the way to travel and bring all the comforts of home with you,” said Bob Wheeler, president of Airstream Inc. of Jackson Center, Ohio.
Which is why the Vintage Airstream and Trailers Show, scheduled for Feb. 19-21 at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, is such a great addition to Modernism Week, said Cindy Eugenis, a member of the Modernism Week board of directors.
Eugenis was the instigator in bringing the travel trailer show to this year’s event.
“We were doubling the number of events this year and brainstorming what we could add to the schedule that would be fun and fit in,” she said.
There was a fairly strict criteria for the four Airstreams and four other Modernism-era travel trailers to be admitted to the show.
“They had to be authentic,” Eugenis said. “We realized that parts wear out, or furnishings that needed to be reupholstered, but they had to be from the original design.”
Those vintage trailers are as popular as the modern Airstreams, Wheeler said.
“We get calls all the time from people who just bought a vintage Airstream, or they inherited a 1958 model that was originally bought by their grandfather and passed down through the family. They want to bring it in to be restored because they want it to look the way it did when it was new.”
Because Jackson Center is a very small town, Airstream’s 26-bay shop is staffed with employees who have been with the company for as long as 50 years, according to Wheeler.
And that’s a good thing. “There isn’t a lot of documentation on the older trailers and these are the guys who probably built them,” he said. They are the company’s living institutional memory. “Which is why we take a lot of digital photos of the each of the restorations we do.”
While the exteriors of all the trailers will be available for free viewing Feb. 19-21, the interiors will be only be on display Feb. 20. Tours are slated for 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Cost is $10.
In addition to the interior tours, the day is also packed with other trailer-related events at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs.
There will also be a small vendor area, “probably by the pool,” Eugenis said, with booths about trailer life from Just Fabulous, including a book signing with Bruce Littlefield, author of “Airstream Living” and “Garage Sale America,” and editor Russ Banham (“Wanderlust: Airstream at 75”).
The day’s events will be capped with a screening of “The Long, Long Trailer,” the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz flick about how not to start a marriage, complete with vintage cocktails, TV dinners and s’mores.
“We wanted to have something fun,” Eugenis said. “Hopefully this will grow into a yearly part of Modernism Week.”