Despite a dip in attendance and a few hours of light rain at the outset of the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 91st Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Redmond, Ore., Cincinnati-based FMCA spokesmen reported a successful event with packed seminars, crowded social activities and solid sales for both indoor and outdoor exhibitors at the event, which ran Aug. 13-16.
“I can’t say whether the numbers were down a bit because of the distance of travel or whether it’s because of timing as school seems to keep starting earlier and earlier, so those may have been contributing factors,” said FMCA Executive Director Jerry Yeatts. “On the positive side, we had over 25% of the members who were first-timers. The comments I have are overwhelmingly positive.”
The official coach count was 1,876, with 402 of those commercial coaches. This was the fifth time the event had been held at Redmond, the last in 2010 when the coach count was 2,282.
Even though there may have been fewer attendees, however, Yeatts said that several of the reports he heard from dealers and suppliers indicated that sales were brisk.
“While we don’t actively measure sales, the word that we’ve heard from dealers is that it was a very good show for sales,” Yeatts said. “One dealer in particular had at least 18 coaches sold in the first two days and we heard similar stories from other dealers. On the supplier side, we had a couple of suppliers say that they’ve had the best show here that they’ve had in years.”
Along with the manufacturers covered in our previous postings, RVBUSINESS.com also touched bases with several other exhibitors – most of whom spoke well of the Redmond confab, which took place at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center near the Deschutes National Forest in Central Oregon.
Among them was the Allied Recreation Group (ARG), which had a couple of new Class A motorhome floorplans to show rally attendees.
“There were more people in the display (on Friday) than in the first two days, and the weekend was good as well,” said Suzy Fletcher, marketing coordinator for the ARG, parent firm of Fleetwood RV, based in Decatur, Ind. “New floorplans are always a big attraction at the show and the new 34T Bounder has been popular as well as the Discovery 37R.”
The new Bounder layout, sporting a base MSRP of $140,840, features a triple slide and separate bath and water closet at its midpoint, while the Discovery, carrying $281,710 base MSRP, offers four slideouts, a 40-inch LED TV, freestanding dinette and a recliner facing a 78-inch sofa bed in the living area.
Elsewhere, Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Chassis partnered with the Jayco Motorhome Group, manufacturer of the Entegra Coach Class A line, in a ride-and-drive program.
“Overall, our ride-and-drives went really well, with very satisfied customers,” said Eric West, business development director for Spartan. West added that one of the goals for the program is not only education, but encouraging consumers who really want a Spartan chassis to make their preferences known to manufacturers.
“There are [manufacturers] today that we are in discussions with, and they’re going to be releasing new platforms with Spartan chassis,” West said. “Foretravel Motorcoach until recently had built all their own chassis, and they’re now using a Spartan chassis. If you look at Newmar, Tiffin, Entegra and Foretravel, they’re all luxury brands, and they all have their flagships on Spartans.”
Also manning a Redmond display, of course, was Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. of Gaffney, S.C., which will be pushing the envelope this year in the resurgent Class A motorhome arena in terms of engine power.
“For the 2015 model year, there will be five coaches on our chassis at 600 horsepower,” said Bob Harbin, CEO and president of FCCC. “That’s up from zero last year. We’ll also have two chassis at 500 horsepower, so, overall, we’re growing a lot. Market share is growing, we’re over 75% in Class A diesels now and we expect that to continue to inch forward.”
Freightliner personnel also unveiled a new 24/7 Direct App to help consumers find service locations, and they had representatives on hand to gather customer input for future generation changes or additions.
The next national-scale FMCA reunion is planned for March 26-29, 2015, at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. — the seventh FMCA get-together taking place at that venue.
RVBusiness freelance contributor Ty Adams wrote this story.
Allied Recreation Group (ARG) has expanded its West Coast service center in Coburg, Ore., to provide owners greater access to factory service. ARG consists of the industry-leading brands of American Coach, Beaver, Fleetwood RV, Holiday Rambler, Monaco, Royale Coach and Safari.
According to a press release, ARG invested in additional equipment and technician training as well as increased the number of expert, factory-trained technicians at the facility “to provide owners with a superior level of service.”
The service center in Coburg is capable of performing major and minor body work, insurance and collision repairs, remodeling, furniture and cabinetry upgrades, chassis maintenance and repairs, chassis alignment as well as major and minor RV service work. ARG also has a factory service center in Decatur, Ind.
“We understand how important factory parts and service are to our customers and dealers,” said Steve Heim, vice president, customer experience. “Allied Recreation Group is pleased to add the Coburg location as our second industry-leading factory service center. Both locations now offer service for all our iconic brands and offer a wider array of services to our customers.”
Motorhome builder Allied Recreation Group (ARG) has partnered with South Adams High School in Berne, Ind., participating in CANstruction 2014 which supports the Community Harvest Food Bank (CHFB).
According to a press release, CANstruction pairs local high school students with business sponsors and engineering mentors to design and build structures based on this year’s theme, “Great Travel Destinations.” The structures are all built using only cans of food, which are then donated to Community Harvest Food Bank for distribution throughout the nine counties which it serves.
On exhibit from March 14-23 at Fort Wayne’s Glenbrook Mall, South Adams will participate along with 15 other area schools in this year’s CANstruction event.
“This is our third year of sponsorship with the CANstruction program and we’re extremely pleased to be able to sponsor South Adams High School in this worthwhile cause,” said Doug Hormann, director of human resources at Allied Recreation Group. “Allied Recreation Group’s commitment to this program supports our continuing efforts of giving back to the community while providing the ability for South Adams students to showcase their design and do their part in the fight against hunger.”
For more information on Allied Recreation Group’s products visit website alliedrecreationgroup.com.
The Decatur, Ind., manufacturing facility for Allied Recreation Group (ARG) was recently awarded recognition from Ford Motor Co.’s Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) Program. According to a press release, ARG is comprised of leading RV brands, including Fleetwood, American Coach, Monaco and Holiday Rambler.
QVM is Ford’s quality recognition awarded to manufacturer’s that meet “best practices” guidelines. The guidelines are based on an assessment of a modifier’s engineering capability, design and build process controls, management commitment and quality control procedures. Ford developed the QVM Program to assist manufacturers in achieving greater levels of customer satisfaction and product acceptance through the manufacturing of high-quality conversion vehicles. Specifically, the QVM Program requires the following from converters:
• Compliance with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
• Conformance with all Ford industry guidelines for vehicle conversions.
• Annual facility inspection and review of converter’s processes.
• A commitment to continuous improvement
According to Ford, the purpose of this program is to assure vehicle modifiers have the capability and processes in place to complete the vehicle in a repeatable manner – maintaining the integrity of the Ford chassis system while meeting federal and other compliance standards in place at the time of the build, and providing end-users with a quality-built vehicle that meets their expectations.
“Our continued commitment to the quality and safety of our products is a driving force behind the products we deliver to our customers,” stated John Lowry, COO for ARG. “Investments in engineering technology and lean manufacturing have helped us achieve excellence in Ford’s Motor Home Quality Vehicle Modifier Program.”
For more information visit www.fleetwoodrv.com.