2014 Winnebago Journey, Meridian Offer Luxury

September 5, 2013 by · Comments Off on 2014 Winnebago Journey, Meridian Offer Luxury 

Interior of Winnebago Journey 42E motorhome

Winnebago Industries Inc. has blended luxury and comfort in its new 2014 Winnebago Journey and Itasca Meridian Class A motorhome lines.

According to a press release, the coaches offer Corian solid-surface countertops and backsplashes, coffee-glazed hardwood cabinetry, Ultraleather furniture, and top-of-the-line entertainment features. Built on the Freightliner Maxum chassis, the new editions offer up to 246 cubic feet of storage and are available in four floorplans, including:

34B floorplan
Attractive features such as a full-wall slideout, an extendable sectional Comfort sofa sleeper and an extendable dining table with buffet are included in this elegant floorplan. The spacious bedroom features a queen bed or available king bed, large wardrobe, chest of drawers and available stackable washer and dryer.
36 M floorplan
The 36M features three slideouts, including a full-wall slide on the passenger’s side that offers two Ultraleather sofas, a pullout island and a Glide and Dine dining table with buffet. The Glide and Dine is a Winnebago-designed dining table that allows horizontal adjustment of the table to any of the numerous locking positions, as well as expansion of the length of the table to accommodate additional seating positions.  The master bedroom has lots of storage with a large wardrobe and chest of drawers flanking the queen-size bed.
40U floorplan
The 40U is a quad-slide floorplan that provides a true residential feel with a spacious lounge, complete with an Ultraleather Rest Easy extendable sectional sofa, a Euro recliner with a pullout table and an optional fireplace.  The full-featured galley with four-door refrigerator or optional residential refrigerator also features an extendable dining table and chairs with buffet. The split bath features the “BIG Shower” and provides the privacy and freedom for two people to get ready at the same time. The bedroom features a queen bed or king bed with a large wardrobe and a chest of drawers, as well as optional stackable washer and dryer.
42E floorplan
The 42E features 43-feet- 7-inches of luxury with three distinct living areas. The front lounge features an Ultraleather Rest Easy extendable sectional sofa and Euro recliner with a pullout table, an HDTV with hidden storage behind, available fireplace, and the front Ultraleather cab seats swivel to provide additional seating.  The full-featured galley offers a pullout island, four-door refrigerator or available residential refrigerator, and extendable dining table and chairs with buffet.  The half bath provides additional convenience for company or for two people to get ready at the same time.  The rear private master bath features the “BIG Shower,” storage, and available stackable washer and dryer. The bedroom features a powered queen bed or available powered king bed and large wardrobe.

Other highlights include

* TrueAir® maximum comfort A/C.

MCD Duo solar/blackout roller shades throughout coach.

* PowerLine energy management system.

* Premier clearcoat automotive finish.

* LED ceiling lights that reduce energy consumption by up to 70%.

* Power mirrors with defrost and integrated side-view color cameras.

* Powered patio awning with metal wrap and integrated LED patio lighting.

* New convenient exterior LPG accessory connection near patio area.

* Automatic hydraulic leveling jacks with three-position controls.

* Freightliner Maxum Chassis boasting a 29,410-pound GVWR, 340-hp 6.7L Cummins ISB diesel engine (34B); 32,350-pound GVWR, 360-hp 6.7L Cummins ISB XT diesel engine (36M); increased GVWR of 37,320 pounds with 380-hp 8.9L Cummins ISL diesel engine (40U); 44,320-pound GVWR, 400-hp 8.9L Cummins ISL diesel engine, tag axle (42E).

* Allison 3,000 MH six-speed automatic transmission.

* 10,000-pound hitch (34B, 36M, and 40U); 15,000-pound hitch (42E).

* Stylized aluminum wheels.

* 55-degree wheel cut for maneuverability.

* TRW tilt and telescope steering column with foot-actuated pedal for driving comfort.

* New Infotainment Center with AM/FM, CD/DVD player, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, iPod/iPhoneaudio integration, outside temperature, compass, color rearview camera, side-view camera, 10.4-inch color touch-screen monitor with split-screen function, second passenger side monitor, and Rand McNally RV GPS safe and easy routing, amenities and tools, trips and content, and turn-by-turn voice guidance.

* Six beautiful full-body paint styles and three great choices of interior decor and coffee-glazed cabinet finish, including the new coffee-glazed honey cherry and forest cherry

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Jayco Introducing Precept Gas Class A Coach

April 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on Jayco Introducing Precept Gas Class A Coach 

Jayco Precept motorhome

Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco Inc. announced that it is entering the gasoline-powered Class A motorhome market with the launch of a new product line called Precept.  According to a press release, the popularly priced Precept Class A motorhome will initially be available in two models, 29 feet and 31 feet, and will be sold through authorized Jayco motorhome dealers worldwide.

“The new Precept motorhome raises the bar for on-road handling and customer appealing features,” said John Ganyard, vice president and general manager of the Jayco Motorhome Group.  “We have received numerous requests from both consumers and dealers about the need for a Jayco gasoline Class A motorhome. Our product management team has developed an exciting new product series that complements our Class C motorhome products.”

The Precept comes with several “must have” items for cross-country travel, including 6-way powered driver and passenger seats, ergonomically-designed cockpit dash with burl-wood accents and passenger computer work station, large pass-through exterior storage compartments, hydraulic leveling jacks, Onan 4,000-watt Micro Quiet generator and exterior entertainment center with built-in 40-inch LED TV. In addition, the Precept boasts Jayco’s exclusive JRide ride and handling system, which features state-of-the-art shocks and suspensions systems designed to make the Precept the best handling, smoothest riding gasoline powered Class A motorhome available.

The Precept features tastefully decorated, expansive interior layouts along with LED lighting throughout, spacious bathrooms with extra-large showers, day/night solar screens in the living room, bathroom and bedroom, solid-surface countertops and Washington Glazed Maple residential cabinetry.

Built on the Ford F53, 18,000-pound GVWR chassis, the Precept boasts a powerful 6.8-liter Triton V-10 engine with 5-speed TorqShift automatic overdrive transmission, offering confidence and reliability on the road. In addition, the Precept offers excellent turning radius, cruise control and antilock front and rear disc brakes.

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Fleetwood to Hold 5th National Rally in Colorado

January 28, 2013 by · Comments Off on Fleetwood to Hold 5th National Rally in Colorado 

Fleetwood RV Inc. announced the 5th Annual Fleetwood RV National Rally, “Rocky Mountain High,” will be held at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Aug. 2-6, according to a press release.

“We’re excited and looking forward to our 5th Annual National Rally in Colorado,” stated John Draheim, president and CEO of the Decatur, Ind.-based motorhome builder. “This event is open to all Fleetwood RV and American Coach owners – regardless of brand – and is a great opportunity for fostering open dialogue regarding their insights and product needs while cultivating deeper bonds with our customers. We recognize the value of listening to our customers and meeting their needs through our innovative products and services.”

Event highlights include:

• Musical entertainment from Ted Vigil (a tribute to John Denver) joining John Denver’s original lead guitarist Steve Weisberg.

• Daily driving seminars conducted by Gary Lewis from RV Basic Training LLC.

For more information about the “Rocky Mountain High” national rally or to register, visit

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Newmar Set to Motor on Two-Week Road Show

October 24, 2012 by · Comments Off on Newmar Set to Motor on Two-Week Road Show 

Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. will be embarking on its GoNewmar Road Show on Oct. 29., showcasing the company’s new King Aire, Dutch Star and Ventana Class A motorhomes.

According to a press release, the two-week tour will be stopping at Newmar dealers and campgrounds along the East Coast, highlighted by an extended stop for the Good Sam Rally at Daytona Motor Speedway Oct. 31 through Nov. 4.

For the third year, Newmar’s leadership team will be driving the coaches, including President Matt Miller accompanied by his wife Pam, CEO/Chairman Richard Parks accompanied by his wife Candace, and Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Sammut accompanied by his wife Margaret.

The schedule includes:

• Oct. 29 — Knoxville, Tenn.

• Oct. 30 — Campers Inn of North Carolina in Mocksville, N.C.

• Oct. 31 — Daytona Beach, Fla.

• Nov. 1 to 4 — Good Sam Rally at Daytona Motor Speedway

• Nov. 5 — RV Connections in Panama City, Fla.

• Nov. 6 — Berryland RV in Ponchatoula, La., and RV Shop in Baton Rouge, La.

• Nov. 7 — Holiday World of Houston in Katy, Texas

• Nov. 8 — Ancira RV in Bourne, Texas

• Nov. 9 – Ancira Travel Villa in Alvarado, Texas, and Professional Sales in Colleyville, Texas

• Nov. 10 — Texarkana, Texas

• Nov. 11 — Crain RV in Little Rock, Ark.

• Nov. 12 — Franklin, Tenn.

• Nov. 13 — Cummins Inc., in Columbus, Ind.


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TMC Debuts Open-Concept Challenger A-Body

August 14, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Challenger 37GT dining area

Thor Motor Coach announces the launch of the 37GT to its Challenger line of premium gas-powered Class A motorhomes featuring an innovative, spacious kitchen design.

According to a press release, the 2013 Challenger 37GT model offers consumers an island kitchen with “massive countertop spaces.” Continuing the trend of modern design, the overhead storage throughout the kitchen is multi-functional with a wine rack that includes hanging glass storage.

The 38-foot Challenger 37GT has an elongated sofa with kick-up footrest along with swiveling captain’s chairs, all offering a great view of the hide-away, retractable 32-inch LCD TV. The free-standing buffet dinette provides a view of the campsite under the patio awning, while keeping the “open concept” throughout the coach.

Other features include:

• Hidden trash receptacle in island.

• Large sofa & recliner combo with hide-a-bed.

Challenger 37GT island kitchen

• Large walkthrough all-in-one bathroom.

• Dual vanities and full length mirror in bathroom.

• Large panoramic window across from kitchen.

Storage space is also the primary focus in the bath and bedroom areas that also offer his-and-her vanities, a full length “dressing” mirror and stackable washer/dryer prep as standards.

“The size of the kitchen sets this floorplan apart. It feels big and if you like to entertain, this is the coach for you,” said Joel Grimm, national sales manager for gas motorhomes.




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Newmar Debuts 2013 Line at Consumer Rallies

July 11, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Newmar's 2013 Dutch Star Class A

Newmar Corp. rolled out its 2013 product lineup to consumers during the recently completed Good Sam Rally in Louisville, Ky., and at the Newmar Kountry Klub Rally in Gillette, Wyo.

According to a press release, the Nappanee, Ind.-based builder placed a design emphasis on bolder colors and more eye appeal in the new product line.

Highlighting the product change was the total life-cycle redesign of the Dutch Star Class A motorhome. One of Newmar’s best known brands, the Dutch Star features a new front cap with stainless steel grill and LED accent lighting, a new hood design with hidden hinges and a heavier duty windshield wiper system with more coverage area.

The rear cap has also been redesigned and features new automotive taillights with LED accents. Four distinct, exterior graphics choices allow customers to choose from a variety of colors and each graphic includes five different colors with blended paint “fades.”

Interior improvements include three wood choices, hidden hinges on all cabinetry and new designer mitered cabinet doors with glazing. Other amenities setting off the interior are polished porcelain tile with glass inserts, solid surface countertops and a new backsplash design with cut-glass.

Additional interior upgrades include a feature ceiling added to the bedroom of all floorplans and a soffit with standard halogen lighting added to the full-wall slide floorplan. Several former options were made standard for the 2013 model year such as auto gen start, Weather Pro electric patio awning, Oasis power entry door awning and side-view cameras.

The Dutch Star is offered in 10 floorplans in lengths of 37, 40 and 43 feet. The 37-footer is powered by a 400 ISL Cummins on a Freightliner chassis, while the 40-foot and 43-foot models are equipped with a 450 ISL Cummins on the Freightliner platform.

Other features on several floorplans include a Flexsteel L-shaped Extenda-Flex sofa and a 46-inch Sony television on an electronic powered mechanism that raises or lowers the television from behind a sofa or a fireplace.

“Prior to these rallies, all of us at Newmar were very excited about the all new 2013 Dutch Star,” said Pat Terveer, director of luxury sales, product planning and design for Newmar. “The results indicated our excitement was spot-on, as dealers and customers alike have shared their acceptance of the major changes. We expect Dutch Star to experience a significant growth in sales based on early results.”

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German-Based Dethleffs Unveils Class A Concept

February 22, 2012 by · Comments Off on German-Based Dethleffs Unveils Class A Concept 

Dethleff's Evan Class A concept

German motorhome manufacturer Dethleff has revealed the first pictures and details of its new concept Class A, the Evan.

According to Out&About Live, the concept motorhome, which is likely to form the basis of a production Class A motorcaravan for the 2013 model year, is just under 19-feet long but still offers six travel seats and two double fixed beds. It also comes with two wide conversion doors – one at the side and one at the rear.

Motorhome designer, Michael Studer, said he wanted to create a motorhome that is “compact, flexible, ideal for daily use.” Studer added, “I’ve been following the idea for some time and now it is time for a new vehicle concept. A flexible, compact one which combines the advantages of various motorhome concepts.”

At first sight the Evan looks like a large van with its bi-color exterior. It has unusually short over-hangs and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Up to six passengers can be carried – four in the rear using single seats with lateral support and individually adjustable back rest inclination. The seats can be moved lengthwise or crossways and the rear locker can be equipped with a folding rack for more luggage pieces when being away on holidays.

For the night, the large pull-down bed can be used, which disappears under the cab roof during the day. A further double bed is in the elevating roof with bed, which is equipped with large air inlets and a large panorama window.

The kitchen features a sink, two mobile gas cartridge cookers, an ample working area and a refrigerator. The variable bathroom comes with a removable Porta Porti, wash bowl and small shower. When it is cold outside the under-floor diesel heating will warm up the interior.


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Tiffin Ups Market Share, Leads ’11 Class A Sales

February 16, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Tiffin Allegro Breeze

Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. finished 2011 as the nation’s leader for unit sales of Class A motorhomes, according to the latest report from Statistical Surveys Inc.

The Red Bay, Ala.-based builder held the No. 1 position for the year, holding a 21.1% market share, just edging out Winnebago with a 20.2% share. Thor was No. 3, owning a 17.3% market share. That was up from Tiffin’s 17.9 percent share in 2010.

“We appreciate the collaborative effort of our dealers and manufacturing team, and our loyal following from the Tiffin Motorhomes family of coach owners,” said General Manager Tim Tiffin in a press release. “As we look ahead to 2012, we’ll continue our commitment to customer service, supporting our dealers and doing what’s right for our customers.”

A family-owned business, Tiffin is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Its brands include the Allegro, Allegro RED, Allegro Breeze, Phaeton, Allegro Bus and Zephyr, available through a network of dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to the No. 1 overall position, Tiffin’s Phaeton ranked as the top-selling diesel pusher for the sixth consecutive year.

For more information, visit



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Newmar Introducing Bay Star Sport in Louisville

November 17, 2011 by · Comments Off on Newmar Introducing Bay Star Sport in Louisville 

Newmar's Bay Star Sport

Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. will introduce the all-new Bay Star Sport Class A gas motorhome at the 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., set to run Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC).

According to a press release, the entry-level Bay Star Sport represents “the best value in a Class A gas motorhome since Newmar’s introduction of the Bay Star in 2006.”

The Bay Star Sport will be offered in four models ranging from 27 to 33 feet in length, built on Ford F-53 chassis and powered by the Ford Triton V-10 engine. Newmar said it plans to build the Bay Star Sport utilizing “the same construction, air conditioning system and slideout mechanism the company uses on all of its other products, while still offering the entry-level gas product at an affordable price.”

“The success Newmar has had with the 2012 Ventana LE since its introduction at last year’s show in Louisville, prompted our company to take similar approach in developing a lower cost version of our Bay Star gas motorhome,” said John Sammut, Newmar’s vice president of sales. “We feel that the price at which we are offering this well-valued product will render our company added business without taking sales away from Newmar’s best-selling brand, the Bay Star.”

The line starts with a base MSRP of $93,450 for the dual-slide 2702 model. Standard features include gel-coated fiberglass sidewalls with vinyl graphics, Dometic six cubic-foot refrigerator, 32-inch LCD TV in the front living area, Dometic patio awning and one piece tinted windshield. Optional equipment includes partial exterior paint treatment, hydraulic leveling system, slideout awnings and a 600-watt inverter. The Sport will be available in two stylish interior packages along with two wood finishes.

For more information about Newmar products, visit


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Fleetwood Touts New Storm as ‘Crossover’ Coach

August 29, 2011 by · Comments Off on Fleetwood Touts New Storm as ‘Crossover’ Coach 

Fleetwood RV Inc. unveiled its 2012 Class A gas-powered Storm during the company’s 2011 National Dealer Meeting last week at the Grand Wayne Center in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Touted as a “crossover” motorhome, Fleetwood said the Storm features the sleeping capacity and value of a Class C coach along with the roominess and storage capacity of a Class A.

“It’s a coach that is loaded with standard features, and offered at a value that appeals to a wide range of RVers,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of the two-year-old, Decatur, Ind.-based builder.

The 2012 Storm is available in five floorplans, ranging in size from 28 to 32 feet. The dual-slide 32BH offers either standard bunk beds or the optional “Bunk Bed-n-Breakfast” space-saving two-person dinette with convertible bunk beds while the dual-slide 32V features a 30-inch deep living area slideroom.

The Hide-a-Loft option, featuring a queen-sized, electronic drop-down bed with air mattress located above the driver/passenger captain’s chairs, is available on all models.

Standard features on the 2012 Storm include one-piece windshield 82-inch interior height; Soft Touch Flexsteel driver/passenger captain’s chairs; high-gloss fiberglass sidewalls; pass-through storage; and a full basement exterior with enclosed, heated holding tanks and luggage compartments.

Also standard are an Onan 4.0 kw MicroQuiet generator;15,000-BTU ducted air conditioner; patio awning; rear vision camera with monitor built in to the dash radio; dual deep cycle auxiliary batteries; and whole coach water filtration. Base MSRP is around $82,000.


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Planning Continues for New Chinese Coach

September 2, 2010 by · Comments Off on Planning Continues for New Chinese Coach 

Bill Horvath

Bill Horvath

Domestic U.S. RV industry suppliers apparently have worked through any concerns they may have had over working with a new Chinese motorhome manufacturer, according to Bill Horvath, project manager for the motorhome division of Yutong Bus Co. Ltd., which plans to enter the U.S. market by next spring with the En Route Class A motorhome.

More than 50 vendors, including three chassis manufacturers, have submitted quotes, reports Horvath, who hosted a breakfast meeting in Elkhart, Ind., six weeks ago to help kick off the venture.

“I am very pleased by the vendor turnout, interest in our project and their support,” Horvath tells “Elkhart County has the best suppliers for our industry and their interest and willingness to work with Yutong Bus is terrific.”

Horvath’s business plan calls for mostly U.S.-made components for the En Route, which will be assembled in China and then shipped back to the U.S., entering this country at Portland, Ore. The U.S. distribution site will be near Eugene, Ore.

Nailing down a chassis supplier is a major concern at this point. In his original presentation, Horvath said the fiberglass-and-aluminum En Route would be available in 28- to 30-foot lengths on a 22,000-pound GVWR chassis equipped with 250/280 hp Cummins or Navistar rear diesel engines.

While he received three chassis bids, only two are “close to the platform definition” he was looking for.

“We continue to work with the chassis manufacturers and are very close to having final specifications completed,” he noted. “I need this information in order to move forward. The chassis specifications are not yet confirmed and our chassis wish list may be slightly different based upon available designs and engines.”

Horvath hopes to have the chassis contract signed, with delivery to Yutong’s factory in Zhengzhou by October and, best case scenario, production beginning in November.

Horvath, meanwhile, is now able to provide some price targets for the En Route.

“Our targeted dealer cost for a fully loaded coach — including equipment and features not usually found on this size and price point — delivered to the West Coast is under $140,000,” Horvath informed in an e-mail. “My estimated bill of material will need to be confirmed after prototyping, and final pricing will be set at that time. It is critical that retail pricing be held to under $200,000 for a fully loaded version.

“At this point our specifications, equipment and features, and standards and option list have remained intact, except for possible chassis details,” he continued. “Until final chassis information is completed later this month, I will safely say we are 80% there with our wish list.”

Horvath is attending the Caravan Salon RV show, which runs through Sept. 5 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

“The Europeans are the best at creating and using every square inch (or centimeter if you will) of space,” wrote Horvath. “Their motorhomes are considerably smaller, but they have everything one needs to travel and camp in comfort. I believe their style of product is in the future for the U.S.A.”

Horvath, by the same token, said he envisions the “En Route” as a less boxy line with simplified feature selections and exterior paint jobs and fewer slideouts. Interiors will be soft on the eye and feature plenty of radius touches.

One part of a 4.5 million-square-foot complex Yutong Bus is to begin building this fall will dedicated to En Route manufacturing.

“We will move into our new facilities sometime in 2012,” added Horvath. “Initial production will start in what we refer to as the ‘old complex’ where specialty products are currently being built.”

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Lodge Builder Eying Resorts/Class A Owners

January 11, 2010 by · Comments Off on Lodge Builder Eying Resorts/Class A Owners 

Exterior of Discovery Home cottage

Exterior of Distinct Discovery Homes cottage

Distinct Discovery Homes Inc., Greenville, Mich., is marketing small, custom-built ”Country Cottages” to high-end resorts and individual motorhome owners.

These structures are bigger than park models and generally come with up to 1,000 square feet of space in one- or two-story floorplans.

“They are designed to become an adjunct to an RV lifestyle, much like a cabana or a casita might be,” said Michael Sokol, Distinct Discovery president. “Whenever the kids come to the resort, they have to get a hotel. We are trying to capture that trend.”

These wood-built cottages — in 12- and 16-foot widths and 20- to 36-foot lengths — are designed with cathedral ceilings, Ponderosa pine interiors, stone fireplaces, entertainment centers with flat-screen TVs, lap cedar siding and wraparound porches.

Notably, since they are homes built to meet local codes, they likely will appreciate in value, Sokol said. “These are built the same way a high-end home would be built,” he said. “There is appeal to both campgrounds and individuals.”

To reach this new market, Distinct Discovery displayed its Country Cottage at the 2009 Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, Fla., and at last summer’s Family Motor Home Association’s (FMCA) international convention in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The cottages — that also have been built on owners’ property in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee — come in kits and are built on-site by Distinct Discovery crews. They retail in the $119,000 range, which includes assembly.

Discovery Home interior

Distinct Discovery Homes interior

The first park to install a Distinct Discovery Country Cottage was Valley River RV Resort, a 270-site Class A-only motorhome resort scheduled to open next summer in Murphy, N.C., where they are intended to be sold along with lots.

“The little homes are amenities,” said Dale Witting, president of Appalachian Land Co., developer of Valley River. “We probably will have a dozen of them up for owners before the summer is out.”

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Virginia Candidates Stump in Class A Motorhomes

August 28, 2009 by · Comments Off on Virginia Candidates Stump in Class A Motorhomes 

This summer, both the Republican and Democratic candidates in the hotly contested race for governor of Virginia embarked on RV tours of the state, employing motorhomes to reach as many towns — and voters — as possible before the election in November, according to RVIA Today Express

The Deeds RV

The Deeds RV

Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds kicked off his month-long “Deeds Country” tour of Virginia’s rural regions in early August, saying “I need to get as many votes as I can from the rural parts of the state.” Deeds and his staff are traveling to Virginia’s rural communities in a Class A motorhome affixed with “Deeds Country” campaign signs.

Shortly after Deeds’ RV tour began, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell embarked on his own month-long tour of the state, traveling in a Class A motorhome customized with McDonnell’s “New Jobs, New Opportunities” campaign materials. The McDonnell campaign has also adopted the song “Me and My RV” by professor Marty Music ( as the theme song for their RV tour.

The McDonnell RV

The McDonnell RV

The RV tours are garnering significant media attention for the candidates, who both noted that the RVs attract the interest of families who spot them on the road.

Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon said, “It’s great to see that, increasingly, political candidates of all persuasions are learning what America’s 30 million RVers have known all along: that traveling in an RV is the best way to see America.”

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Reorganized MCI Emerges from Ch. 11 ‘Well Prepared’

June 19, 2009 by · Comments Off on Reorganized MCI Emerges from Ch. 11 ‘Well Prepared’ 

Bus manufacturer Motor Coach Industries (MCI) is stable and “well prepared” with sufficient cash following its recent emergence from bankruptcy which saw the company reorganized with a new majority stockholder, according to President and CEO Tom Sorrells.

National Bus Trader magazine reported that the No. 1 manufacturer of buses in the U.S. emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.

“The completion of our financial restructuring is a major milestone in the 76-year- history of MCI,” Sorrells said. “I am particularly pleased that, given a very challenging economic backdrop and tight credit markets, we were able to complete the process in just seven months.”.

MCI, with headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill, is a leading manufacturer of intercity coaches. MCI bus shells also are converted into high-end Class A motorhomes.

An investment fund managed by Franklin Mutual Advisers LLC has become the company’s majority shareholder through the conversion of third-lien secured debt into common stock and the issuance of $200 million in preferred stock, according to the magazine.

The company was at one time owned by Greyhound Corp., and most of MCI’s $420 million in debt that was wiped out in the pre-negotiated bankruptcy was accumulated in a spinoff from Dial Corp., which acquired MCI from Greyhound in the mid-1990s. Because bus sales were on the increase, debt payments were taken from operating revenue until MCI’s bankruptcy.

MCI emerged from bankruptcy with $230 million in financing through $75 million in revolving credit arranged by GE Capital and $155 million in a second-lien loan through a group of lenders.

”We have secured a strong new financing package … to enhance the company’s post-emergence capital structure,” Sorrells said. ”With a strengthened financial base, we are well positioned to take greater advantage of the market opportunity and further grow our business.”

Even as overall bus sales declined while MCI Was in bankruptcy, a few days after emerging from bankruptcy, MCI was reported to have increased its market share to 60.2% of the bus market, according to National Bus Trader.

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Canadian Group Plans $30M Florida RV Resort

May 8, 2009 by · Comments Off on Canadian Group Plans $30M Florida RV Resort 

The former site of a mobile home park in Margate, Fla., may be transformed into a $30 million community for 646 luxury RVs, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

A group of 10 French-Canadian investors, calling themselves Aztec RV Resort Inc., hopes to buy the 106-acre plot south of Southgate Boulevard and east of State Road 7 for $15 million.

Another $15 million would go into making improvements to the site, such as a new clubhouse and landscaping, the group’s attorney, Louis St. Laurent. told the Margate City Commission Wednesday (May 6).

The investment group needs to secure adequate zoning that requires several changes, St. Laurent said.

The commission directed city staffers to put the plans on the agenda for the next Development Review Committee meeting in July.

The luxury RVs (Class A motorhomes) cost between $200,000 and $1 million, said Jack Tobin, who spoke on behalf of the investors at Wednesday’s meeting.

So far, Tobin said, the developer has been contacted by about 40 people who are interested in buying the lots based on word-of-mouth alone. He said most residents would be part-time residents from other states and Canada.

Commissioner Pam Donovon expressed skepticism.

“I don’t believe these are going to be selling like hotcakes like they say they will,” Donovan said.

“I don’t like that this is all transients. I don’t like that there are 646 lots and only about 40 of them are sold. I have a real problem with this.”

Other commissioners, however, said it did not matter that the RV residents would be in the area for only a few months a year.

“Many who buy condos only stay for four months,” said Commissioner Joe Varsallone. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

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