Middlebury, Ind.-based Grand Design RV Co. announced today (Oct. 15) the delivery of its 1,000th fifth-wheel to Camp-Land RV in Burns Harbor, Ind.
The company also reported that in around 30 days it will be opening a third production line that will add 130 jobs.
“We are very pleased to announce that, in less than one year from our company’s beginning, Grand Design’s first production line has produced and shipped over 1,000 luxury, extended-stay fifth-wheels,” Don Clark, president and co-owner of Grand Design RV, said in a press release. “According to Statistical Surveys, Grand Design has already climbed the rankings and has now become the 13th largest producer of fifth-wheels in the entire industry. We credit this accomplishment to our incredible work force and the pride and care they take in building our products, leading product designs and our dealer body comprised of the ‘who’s who’ of the finest dealers in the business.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Camp-Land RV,” continued Clark. “Camp-Land and Grand Design share similar business philosophies such as ‘do what’s right,’ ‘take proper care of your retail customers’ and ‘be personally involved as owners in the day-to-day oversight of your business.’ Being in business for 52 years, it is obvious that Camp-Land has been doing something right for a long, long time.”
Marc Hauser, Grand Design’s general manager of the Solitude and Momentum brands, added, “In celebration of the delivery of our 1,000th unit, Camp-Land RV graciously hosted an open house on Oct. 12. Don Clark, Bill Fenech and Ron Fenech (owners of Grand Design) along with Grand Design Regional Sales Managers Rob Groover and Jeremiah Gruber were there to personally present the keys of the 1,000th fifth-wheel produced by Grand Design to the ownership and management team of Camp-Land.”
Burns Harbor, Ind.-based Camp-Land RV has donated a brand new 2010 Livin’ Lite Quicksilver 2.0 Motorcycle Camper to be raffled off to benefit All About Kids, the early intervention program of Opportunity Enterprises.
“Camp-Land RV is very pleased to continue our long-standing support of Opportunity Enterprises with this donation,” David Paschen, vice president, said in a press release. “Opportunity Enterprises’ early intervention program, All About Kids, will be able to further their mission with the proceeds from this raffle. We encourage everyone to support this very important cause.”
Tickets for the raffle are $20, and are available at the following locations: Opportunity Enterprises, 2801 Evans Avenue in Valparaiso, Camp-Land RV, 1171 Lions Drive in Burns Harbor, Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso, 1151 US Highway 30 in Valparaiso, and B & E Honda, 1006 US Highway 30 in Valparaiso, and the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce, 220 Broadway in Chesterton.
The winner will be drawn at the Porter County Ultimate Bike Show on June 18, running 9 a.m–6 p.m at Sunset Hill County Farm in Valparaiso. Proceeds from the raffle will also be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous donor. The winner need not be present to win.
The Livin’ Lite Quicksilver camper is ultra lightweight, and designed to be pulled by motorcycles and small cars. Constructed of sturdy aluminum and composites, the camper features a 12-volt electrical system with an overhead fan/light, outlet to power a TV, radio or charge a laptop, a top rack offering exceptional storage space, and a cooler rack. Sleek rear LED taillights will last for years and provide increased safety.
Editor’s Note: The following story aired Saturday (Oct. 16) on National Public Radio. To hear the broadcast, click here.
The RV industry, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, has had a bumpy road lately, but now it may be turning the corner.
Winnebago Industries Inc., one of the top manufacturers of recreational vehicles, posted stronger than expected quarterly profits Thursday (Oct. 14). The company said its results were lifted by increased motorhome deliveries, “particularly in the Class A category,” which can sell for as much as $300,000 each.
The last few years have been among the most difficult ever for the RV industry because of high gas prices and the recession: Manufacturers closed plants and laid off thousands of workers. But at Camp-Land RV in Burns Harbor, Ind., about 40 miles southeast of downtown Chicago, owner Al Paschen says business is picking up.
“We never had a losing year through all of this,” he says, “and this year is turning out to be one of the better years we’ve ever had.”
Paschen says sales are up 20%. That’s partly due to the fact that several nearby competitors have gone out of business, leaving Paschen’s Camp-Land as one of the few RV dealerships left in northwest Indiana.
But Paschen also says he thinks consumers are finally starting to feel more optimistic about the economy. And, he says, buyers are getting younger.
“During the summer, we always see a lot of families, but we’re seeing younger couples, too, people in their 30s, 40s,” he says. “The retirees have sort of been absent here for a few years.”
The Vista, a small, 26-foot-long Winnebago motorhome. With more buyers seeking smaller, lighter RVs, the Vista has become Al Paschen’s best-selling motorhome this year.
Paschen says the hit many retirees took to their savings is keeping some of them out of new RVs. Among those who are buying, trading and and trading up, he says, tastes are changing.
“Now we see them upgrading but not getting bigger,” he says. “In fact, we see some are getting smaller.”
He points to the Earthbound model, a small, but expensive travel trailer. “This one is, some people would say radical,” he says. “It’s modernistic.”
The travel trailer is made of lightweight aluminum and composite materials.
“Even the doors on the cabinets are made of composites instead of wood,” he says. “This whole thing is very light.”
Sleek and curvy travel trailers like the Earthbound are getting smaller and lighter so they can be pulled by cars that are getting smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient.
Outside the showroom, on his 6-acre lot of more than 200 RVs, Paschen says even motorhomes are shrinking.
“This is a really small Winnebago as Winnebagos go,” he says, pointing at the 26-foot Vista model. “It’s the best-selling Winnebago on our lot right now.”
But as RVs get smaller, they are getting a lot nicer, too.
The R-Pod, one of the smallest of the new, lightweight campers and travel travelers that are helping revive the slumping RV market.
Glossy finishes on the cabinets and other high-end and high-tech features such as flat-screen TVs show that many consumers are demanding more luxurious road trips and camping trips.
Compartments that slide out on both motorhomes and travel trailers create more living space inside. That’s exactly what Harold and Georgia Phillips of Valparaiso, Ind., are looking for.
“We’re spending a lot more time in it now that he’s retired; we went to Alaska last year,” Georgia Phillips says. “And, it’s a matter of tripping over each other and we just thought this one would be more comfortable for us.”
The Phillipses are a little disappointed they won’t be able to hit the open road in their new RV for another month or so: The model they want is on back order, a sign RVs are selling better than they have in years.