Matching distinctive product design with a heightened focus on dealer relations, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC continues to harness market share in 2013 as two of its key fifth-wheel brands stood as January sales leaders according to data compiled by Statistical Surveys Inc.
Following up on a No. 3 overall ranking for 2012, Heartland’s high-profile Bighorn line for the first time finished as the market leader among all fifth-wheel brands for the month. According to a press release, the company’s Cyclone also posted strong sales, recognized as the top brand in the growing toy hauler segment while holding the No. 5 spot in fifth-wheel retail registrations.
“January’s performance is testament to our team’s ability to combine best-in-class quality with attractive pricing, backed by the strong support from our dealer partners across the U.S.,” said Chris Hermon, president of the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder. “I have charged every area of the company to step up our commitment to working closely with dealers, ensuring that we bring product to market that is firmly in step with consumer trends while representing a true value in the marketplace. We are seeing the results of that partnership with market share gains in some of the most competitive pockets of the industry.”
Bighorn, a consistent sales leader for Heartland, gained serious momentum following the 2012 Elkhart County Open House when two major marketing initiatives were introduced – the rebranding of the line as a fully-laminated, four seasons coach and the launch of the mid-priced Silverado by Bighorn series.
“We made a huge push with Bighorn and Silverado at the show,” said Coley Brady, vice president of sales. “Those moves in product development and increased eye appeal are paying big dividends as we move into spring.”
He added, “Bighorn is targeting the hot-button segments in the marketplace while providing logical, salable step-ups for our dealers. As more Baby Boomers retire, they are looking for the durability, quality and homelike features of an extended stay coach. If cost is a challenge, Silverado meets their needs with upper-end amenities at an aggressive price point.”
Cyclone, which has added five models over the last six months, has seen particular success with these “fresh, innovative floorplans,” according to Brady. Featuring painted front caps, optional washer/dryer and a large shower area in some models, Cyclone represents the shift in the toy hauler market from a no-frills toter for motorcycles and ATVs to one of the industry’s most versatile RVs.
“The Cyclone offers a mix of floorplans that address today’s wide-ranging interests from toy hauler buyers,” Brady said. “Our dealer body has been doing a tremendous job selling the unique features of the Cyclone brand.”
While the industry’s performance for fifth-wheel sales was essentially flat last November, towable builder Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC posted noteworthy year-over-year gains in unit sales and overall market share, according to a news release from the Elkhart, Ind.-based manufacturer.
“Heartland continued to show strong growth in a marketplace that was still in a recovery phase,” said Tim Hoffman, Heartland vice president of sales. “We have consistently outperformed the industry, which was again reflected in November’s retail numbers.”
Fifth-wheel sales industrywide were down 7.2% in November from a year ago and 31.5% for the first 11 months, according to the latest report from Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI). In contrast, Heartland’s sales jumped 57 units for the month, while market share rose from 10.1% to 13.4%. Year-to-date, the builder recorded a 19.6% improvement in overall market share to earn the No. 3 ranking among all manufacturers.
“Heartland’s growth is the result of a team effort with our dealer body,” Hoffman noted. “Even when fifth-wheel sales were down, we were focused on building new product that reflected changes in consumer buying trends. Our dealers recognize Heartland’s proactive approach to research and development, and have done an exceptional job of selling our product in a very competitive environment.”
The Bighorn luxury fifth-wheel line continued to be the company’s leading brand in November. Unit sales were up nearly 20% as the Bighorn was the No. 3 best-selling fifth-wheel in November. Accordingly, Heartland responded by increasing production and adding several new features to the Bighorn lineup in December.
“Everything is in place for Heartland to have a tremendous 2010,” said Hoffman.