In less than four months from its introduction, Voltage luxury toy haulers from Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. have entered the top 25 retail sales for fifth-wheels in the United States, the company reported in a news release.
Voltage is ranked No. 24 according to the January 2011 Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) Market report.
Tom Walworth, SSI’s general manager, commented, “This accomplishment is unprecedented in the history of luxury toy haulers. Retail sales are showing a significant increase in the $50,000 plus prince point. Voltage is performing very well in this segment.”
Nate Goldenberg, general manager of Dutchmen RV’s Denali, Voltage and Rubicon product lines, credits the success of the brand to the innovative product design and the quality of dealers Voltage has attracted to Dutchmen.
“When we developed Voltage, we knew that the product had to be simply better than the competition,” he said. “There are a lot of “cookie cutter” toy haulers in the market today. Voltage had to offer unique product advantages and offer the most features and value in the toy hauler segment.”
“Since Voltage was an entirely new product line to Dutchmen, we had a clean slate when it came to selecting dealers to market the brand. We identified the best “A-Dealers” in each of the major markets and targeted them to sell the product line. We showed these dealers the prototypes and included their feedback and suggestions into the design before Voltage was launched.”
Voltage currently offers four 102-inch wide high profile fifth-wheel floorplans from 35 feet to 42 feet and retails for $54,000 to $68,000. Floorplans feature 7-foot, 6-inch tall super slides in the main living area, innovative side aisle bathrooms, and exclusive bedroom designs with either a huge wardrobe slide or a king bed slide with a front walk in closet. Voltage offers floorplans with garages from 10 feet to 14 feet feet and is available in five different exterior paint packages.
Don Clark, president of Dutchmen RV, said, “One of Mr. Goldenberg’s goals, when coming to Dutchmen, was to cut his own path and create something meaningful for the industry. I’m pleased to say that Nate and his sales team have accomplished this with Voltage.”
Goldenberg said, “We are very pleased with the enthusiastic response we have received from retail consumers on the product line. It’s the hit of the shows. At many dealerships Voltage is retailing as soon as it is received on the lot. With more floorplans coming soon, we are looking forward to a successful spring and summer selling season and for Voltage to continue to climb up the retail rankings.
Dutchmen RV is a division of Thor industries Inc. Dutchmen RV produces several brands of towable recreational vehicles that are sold throughout the United States and Canada. Dutchmen RV brands include the Denali, Komfort, Infinity, Aspen Trail, Kodiak, Voltage, Rubicon, Aerolite, Coleman and Dutchmen brands. For more information on Dutchmen RV and its brands visit www.dutchmen.com or call (574) 537-0600.
Gary Stanley has been appointed to represent Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.’s Denali, Voltage and Rubicon products in the Midwestern U.S., according to Nate Goldenberg, general manager of those three product lines for the Goshen, Ind.-based RV manufacturer.
Stanley, an 18-year veteran of the RV industry, most recently served as national sales manager for another RV manufacturer before joining Dutchmen, a division of Thor Industries Inc. Previously, he was the general manager for one of the largest RV dealerships in Oklahoma.
“We are very excited about having Gary join our team,” said Goldenberg. “His experience in both the wholesale and retail side of our business will prove to be invaluable to his dealers. He understands the complexities of running a retail RV dealership. This experience in the wholesale and retail sides of the business will allow him to partner with his dealers and create a relationship that extends well past the point of delivery.”
Stanley is a resident of Elkhart, Ind. His office is located at Dutchmen’s offices in Goshen.
Stanley said, “I am looking forward to helping my dealers be very successful with the products and helping Dutchmen continue its incredible growth in the market. The Denali, Voltage and Rubicon product lines are the best in the industry. I am honored to be given the opportunity to become a part of the ‘New’ Dutchmen.”
Gary Stanley can be contacted by calling his office (574) 537-0600, cell (574) 538-7265 or by e-mailing email@example.com
Dutchmen RV produces several brands of towable recreational vehicles that are sold throughout the United States and Canada. Dutchmen RV brands include the Denali, Komfort, Infinity, Aspen Trail, Kodiak, Voltage, Rubicon, Aerolite, Coleman and Dutchmen brands. For more information on Dutchmen RV and its brands visit www.dutchmen.com or call (574) 537-0600.
Rob Groover, general manager of Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.’s Komfort and Infinity divisions, announced today (Jan. 19) that General RV Center of Akron, Ohio, received delivery of the first Komfort fifth-wheel produced in Indiana.
The unit arrived earlier this month and was debuted at the recent Cleveland RV show.
According to Groover, “We are extremely excited to welcome General RV to the Komfort dealer group. General RV Center is one of the nation’s premier RV dealerships. We are honored to be able to present the Komfort line to their generations of loyal customers.”
Loren Baidas, president of General RV Center, said, “After reviewing the all new Komfort travel trailer and fifth-wheel product at the Louisville RV show, we were so confident that Dutchmen nailed it with Komfort, we added the line at all 10 of our dealerships. We were impressed with the contemporary design of the product, the beautiful decors and innovative floor plans. There is nothing like it in the marketplace. The product is priced right and will be a terrific addition to the product lines we represent.”
Baidas added, “We took our first 38-foot bunk house unit to the Cleveland show and were very pleased with response from customers. We sold 10 coaches with only one floorplan in the show. We knew the Komfort brand was going to do well, but these results exceeded our expectations.”
According to Groover, “The Komfort name is known for quality, innovation, and customer service. We are proud to play a role in growing this highly respected brand name. We look forward to serving the current Komfort dealers and new dealers across North America.
Dutchmen RV is a division of Thor industries. Dutchmen RV produces several brands of towable recreational vehicles that are sold throughout the United States and Canada. Dutchmen RV brands include the Denali, Komfort, Grand Junction, Aspen Trail, Kodiak, Voltage, Rubicon, Aerolite, Coleman and Dutchmen brands. For more information on Dutchmen RV and its brands visit www.dutchmen.com or 574-537-0600.
It’s going to be a good year for recreational vehicle sales, say RV dealers and manufacturers and the RV trade organization.
“We had an excellent year in RV sales in 2010. We feel that 2011 is going to be the best year we have ever seen in the RV industry,” Gary Miller, owner of Wana RV in Shipshewana, Ind., told The Goshen (Ind.) News.
Miller’s expectations are for his growing RV sales business. As a whole, the industry is expecting an increase of 3.9%. That number is based on a consumer survey by Richard Curtain of the University of Michigan. Curtain has been an analyst from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) for many years.
After three years of declines, the RV industry rebounded in 2010 with a 47.7% gain in shipments. As of November, the year’s total shipments reached 224,000 units.
This month, retail shows are beginning across the country and manufacturers and dealers are trying to gauge if Curtain’s prediction for another year of gains will come true.
“… If I can go by my two days of sales, we are up compared to last year,” said Joe Weider, operations manager for General RV Center in North Canton, Ohio. Weider’s sales staff was at the RV show in Cleveland, the biggest indoor sales event in the country. “My crystal ball says we should have a pretty good year.”
Weider said his sales center is the largest motorhome dealership in Ohio and also sells fifth-wheels and travel trailers. They have added some new manufacturers and products this year. But Weider said the sales year is too young to gauge if there will be any trends this year.
Phil Sarvari, executive vice president of Gulf Stream Coach Inc. in Nappanee, Ind., said the year’s sales will depend on consumers’s attitudes.
“As long as people feel good and they know they are going to have jobs, they will be willing to spend,” Sarvari said.
Americans have embraced RVs, he said, and want to continue camping and using that outdoor experience to bond with their family and friends. “It is a way of life. It is relaxing. They support each other, they tell stories and play games. You know, that is important,” Sarvari said.
At Jayco Inc. in Middlebury, the storage lots have many newly made units ready to be shipped.
“We’ve garnered a lot of momentum with the introduction of new products,” said Jim Jacobs, a vice president at Jayco.
Jacobs said the company has added new products and new price points to generate business. “That is what is going to carry our momentum. You have to be innovative to survive in this industry,” he said.
Motorhome sales dipped drastically when the recession began, and since it has ended the RV segment has continued to struggle. In 2010, Class A luxury motorcoaches averaged around 1,000 units shipped each month. The Class C motorhomes averaged even less.
But if manufacturers offer a quality product, Jacobs said there are buyers wanting them.
“In the Class A line, we have been extremely happy with the performance of the Entegra line,” Jacobs said. “Not only from the response from the dealer network, but the response from the consumer network. There are a lot of consumers out there still buying high-end diesel products. That customer is still there.”
To the east of Jayco’s Middlebury complex, Miller is getting ready for the upcoming RV show at the Century Center in South Bend. He plans to take 24 units and his son Justin will help with sales.
Miller has added units from Forest River Inc.’s Rockwood line made in Millersburg. He also has Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. and CrossRoads RV products.
He expects a good show in South Bend as financing is more available for buyers this year.
“As far as retail financing RVs, it definitely has gotten better than it was a year ago,” Miller said. But financing has changed. He said two years ago buyers could make a purchase without a down payment. Now a 10% down payment is standard practice.
“It really is a good thing because people will pay that 10% so when they are ready to sell it or trade it in they are not upside down on the unit. They don’t feel like they are taking such a loss,” Miller said.
Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. has announced the introduction of the Lakewood destination travel trailer. The Lakewood brand was introduced to dealers at the recent National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
Lakewood will offer innovative models featuring a 102-inch wide body with 8-foot interior ceiling heights. According to a news release from Steve Paul, vice president and general manager of Dutchmen RV, “Lakewood is sure to be a hit with destination trailer customers. We’ve combined an upgraded residential furniture package with stunning cherry decors and a long list of standard catering to the needs of the destination trailer customer.”
Paul added, “Lakewood features bay windows with a residential soffit, removable hitch, and comes standard with 15,000 BTU ducted A/C, a 16-gallon gas/electric DSI water heater and six stabilizer jacks. The interior features a hide-a-bed residential sofa, washer/dryer prep, a 17-cubic-foot 110V refrigerator with ice maker and a four-burner, free-standing oven with range. Lakewood is configured for permanent site use with a residential toilet and PVC waste water lines. For customers who need it, we offer a traditional RV fresh and waste water system option.”
“The initial response from dealers at Louisville was terrific. Lakewood had a great show and we received a significant amount of orders for the new product line.” said Paul.
For more information on Lakewood and dealership opportunities, contact Dutchmen sales at (574) 537-0600 or visit www.Lakewood-rv.com.
Dutchmen RV is a division of Thor industries Inc. Dutchmen RV produces several brands of towable recreational vehicles that are sold throughout the United States and Canada. Dutchmen RV brands include the Denali, Komfort, Grand Junction, Aspen Trail, Kodiak, Voltage, Rubicon, Aerolite, Coleman and Dutchmen brands.
There were plenty of innovative new RVs on display at RVIA’s 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., and that’s no surprise because tough economic times tend to bring out the best in many companies as they turn up the R&D focus to better compete for market share in a tight market.
Among the most eye-catching were Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC’s starkly different Element travel trailer, Fleetwood RV Inc.’s innovative rear-slide Tioga and Jamboree Class C, Monaco RV LLC’s futuristic Holiday Rambler Trip Class A, Earthbound RV’s chic new travel trailer, Airstream Inc.’s classy Eddie Bauer Edition Airstream, Open Range RV Inc.’s patio-equipped fifth-wheel, Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.’s new high-end Voltage toyhauler and Winnebago Industries Inc.’s redesigned Winnebago Tour/Itasca Ellipse Class A.
But the RVBusiness staff’s unanimous choice for “Best of Show” was Thor Motor Coach’s A.C.E. Class A motorhome.
“In our view, the A.C.E. – an acronym for “Class A & C Evolution” – is a prime example of a post-recessionary motorhome that addresses the changing tastes – and wallets – of American consumers yet retains in the process a degree of style, dignity and even a touch of class,” stated RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg.
Bottom line, the A.C.E., designed on a 16,000-pound GVWR, gas-fueled Ford chassis to combine the best attributes of Class A and C motorhomes, is a sharp-looking, kid-friendly, entry-level coach with full body paint, electric jacks, rear-view camera, kitchen slides, optimal storage, pet-friendly accoutrements and an electric drop-down cockpit bed that retails for under $80,000.
“You’ll see show specials for $69,995,” said Thor Motor Coach President and CEO Bill Fenech, “which will be a great deal for the customer, and the dealer should be very happy with his margin on that. We want our dealers to make money, but we want our customers to be able to get into the coach. They are going to get into it for not much more than a Class C price point.”
“The ACE is a real neat project,” added Fenech. “It started out as an entry-level motorhome. We wanted to get into that price segment even more than we were. We wanted to be aggressive. So, instead of just coming out with a price piece that is just another me-too motorhome, we looked at the market a little differently. We looked at the Class A and Class C markets, and there are some advantages to both products for the buyer. We looked at the two, hence the name A.C.E. – A & C Evolution.”
Floorplan, eye appeal and price are the key ingredients that appeal to the retail buyers, said Fenech, and the A.C.E. was designed with those three priorities in mind.
Consistent with a market that in some cases has consumers looking for smaller vehicles, the A.C.E. is a relatively short 29 feet, 7 inches, in length – shorter than some Class C motorhomes – yet it offers 84-inch headroom.
The cockpit tends to appeal to more of a Class C buyer, with a moderate exterior eyebrow in a front cap that houses an overhead front bunk and smaller windshield with an integrated visor that, according to Fenech, limits distracting direct sunlight and heat. “Women are saying that this doesn’t feel as overwhelming as a big bus,” says Fenech.
In addition, drivers can check out the coach’s passenger side with a uniquely placed floor line window while a large conversation mirror above the driver’s seat affords a good view of the living space.
Storage capacities, on the other hand, lean more toward the traditional Class A, with exterior “mega-storage” including a relatively huge rear curb-side compartment.
Major passenger-side basement storage compartments are located under the patio awning, while noisy heat-generating appliances are located on the driver’s side of the coach away from the activities. Campsite hookups are situated on the driver’s side rear of the coach.
Incorporated in the entry step is a storage drawer and toolbox for keeping tools, gloves and other RV gear without having to track through the coach, and there’s a broom and coat closet at the entry door in addition to a “Motorhome Mud Room” at the main entrance door for dirty shoes and gear.
In the final analysis, however, the fact that the A.C.E. is inordinately pet-friendly – with an “integrated tiedown” for dogs outside plus an inside “Kibble Station” for feeding pets – was the icing on the cake in opting to name Thor’s A.C.E. “Best of Show.”
“We tried to do a price leader coach before,” added Fenech, “but we could never get it right. Everything we put in this coach, we did for a reason. Every single dollar we spent or dollar we took out, we did it for a reason.”
American families are ready to hitch up their trailers and tow the RV industry out of its worst stretch in nearly two decades, the Associated Press reported.
The industry was driven into the ditch last year by the recession. Sales plunged, plants closed and thousands of jobs were cut as orders for recreational vehicles dropped to their worse level since 1991.
Now, RV makers such as Winnebago Industries Inc. are starting to turn profits and have begun to hire. And dealers are ordering more RVs for their showrooms.
This year, shipments of RVs ranging from entry-level pop-ups to spacious motorhomes are expected to hit their highest level since 2007, when the economic downturn began.
The upswing is a sign that somewhat looser credit, stable fuel prices and improved consumer confidence are inspiring Americans to buy more RVs.
“Things are starting to look up,” says Tim O’Brien, president of an RV dealership in Lapeer, Mich., where sales are up 55% from a year ago. “People are ready to get out from underneath the frugality of the last couple of years and go out and have some fun and recreation,” he says.
Typical RV buyers are people between 35 and 54 with disposable income. They’re starting to buy again, say industry leaders and dealers who convened at a trade show in Louisville this week. But a growing share of RV sales come from families choosing less expensive towable RVs, including folding camping trailers, or pop-ups. Those towables are smaller and cost a fraction of the price of amenity-filled motor homes favored by older travelers.
Before the recession hit, towables accounted for eight out of every 10 new RV shipments. Now they make up about nine out of 10 RVs shipped to dealers.
Towables, attached to pickups or hitched to the back of another vehicle, cost between $4,000 and $100,000, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Stand-alone motorhomes can start at about $41,000 for van-like RVs, according to the industry group, while spacious, bus-like vehicles can run as much as $400,000 for top-of-the-line models. And that’s before the cost of gas. Big RVs can get as little as 8 mpg.
Bob Olson, CEO of RV manufacturer Winnebago Industries Inc., says a trend of families buying cheaper towables is encouraging. “They have to start somewhere. And one thing about this lifestyle, you get hooked on it and you want to upgrade.”
Winnebago recently signaled its intention to move back into the towables by signing a letter of intent to buy SunnyBrook RV, which makes those type of RVs. Winnebago last built travel trailers in 1983.
The industry is looking for a recovery across all RV models.
It expects shipments from manufacturers to dealers to hit 236,700 in 2010, up 43% from last year’s nearly 20-year low of 165,700. Through October, shipments have risen nearly 53% from the same period in 2009, according to RVIA. In 2011, shipments are forecast to reach 246,000.
Higher shipments mean dealers expect retail sales to rise. While the two don’t always correlate, there are signs that sales will, in fact, grow in the mid-single digits in 2011 “with a bias toward cheaper units,” says Bret Jordan, who follows RV companies for Avondale Partners.
“It correlates pretty well with consumer confidence and economic improvement,” he says.
Profits are returning to the industry. Winnebago, which closed two plants during the recession, posted net income of $4.9 million in the fourth quarter ending Aug. 28, compared with a loss of $50.2 million a year earlier. That marked its second straight profitable quarter. Revenue more than doubled to $449.5 million for its full fiscal year.
The results follow the company’s biggest loss of $78.8 million in fiscal 2009. Its profit peaked at $70.6 million in fiscal 2004.
Jobs are also starting to come back. Jayco, which makes towables and motor homes, has hired about 500 more workers this year. Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., a division of Thor Industries Inc. and a maker of towables, has nearly doubled its work force from about 400 during the worst of the recession to about 770 now. Winnebago shed about half its work force, roughly 1,670 workers, but has since added back about 400 employees.
The recovery is becoming evident at Kevin Stone’s RV dealership in Berlin, N.J. Stone had to offer discounts to entice people to his lot in 2008 and 2009. But his dealership just had its best sales year ending in October, he says.
“It’s just pent up demand,” Stone says. Customers don’t feel things are going to get any worse than they’ve been, he says.
Still, this year’s pace of shipments remains far below the 2006 level of 390,560 — the high-water mark for a quarter century.
And speed bumps remain. Many consumers remain wary of big-ticket purchases and many RV owners have delayed trading in older models for bigger ones. Credit isn’t as nearly free flowing as in pre-recessionary times.
Still, a recovery seems to be taking hold.
Winnebago’s Olson, who became CEO just before the RV industry tanked in 2008, says “It’s kind of nice to sit here and see that things are improving.”
Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. has announced it will introduce the Aspen Trail line of travel trailers at the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 in Louisville, Ky.
Aspen Trail is an entirely new line of conventional construction travel trailers and will eventually include 15 floorplans ranging from 19 feet to 38 feet feet and will retail between $13,990 and $29,990, according to a news release. The product line is available from Dutchmen RV’s Indiana and West Coast production facilities.
According to Ryan Thwaits, product manager for Dutchmen RV, “Aspen Trail has a few twists to it that are new to the ’stick and tin’ market. It includes innovative features at a terrific value. Aspen Trail has an aerodynamic fiberglass front, heated and enclosed underbelly, mega pass through storage, convertible dinettes, 60-inch-by-80-inch beds and full extension roller-bearing drawer guides just to name a few. Plus our contemporary interior décor is absolutely stunning. The dealers love the cherry glazed cabinets, wood plank ‘beau-flor’ flooring and the radius cabinetry.”
Thwaits added, “Dealers have been begging for an entry-level piece that has the look and features of products with a significantly higher price tag. We have achieved this with Aspen Trail and hit a price point that will lead the market.”
The Aspen Trail product line as can be seen at the Dutchmen display, South Wing Booth 1101 at the show. For more information contact the Aspen Trail sales team at (574) 537-0600.
Dutchmen RV is a division of Thor industries Inc. Dutchmen RV produces several brands of towable recreational vehicles that are sold throughout the United States and Canada. Dutchmen RV brands include the Denali, Infinity, Grand Junction, Aerolite, Kodiak, Voltage, Rubicon, Aspen Trail, Aerolite and Dutchmen brands. For more information on Dutchmen RV and its brands visit www.dutchmen.com.
Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., Goshen, Ind., has added the Infinity — a full-profile fifth-wheel and travel trailer series — to its brand lineup. ”The interior has a more contemporary, residential feel, but not too far over the edge,” said Rob Groover, general manager of Dutchmen’s Grand Junction and Infinity divisions. The Infinity will be available in 10 travel trailer and four fifth-wheel floorplans. Dutchmen will introduce additional layouts by early spring. Featuring platinum exteriors and front caps, travel trailer floorplans have crowned roofs, while the upper decks on the fifth-wheels also are crowned. Amenities include wood blinds with wrought iron window treatments, solid-surface countertops, dark maple cabinets and sculptured carpet throughout. Travel trailer MSRPs start in the upper $20,000s; fifth-wheels in the low $40,000s.
Don Clark, president of Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., today (Nov. 5) announced that Nate Goldenberg has been promoted to general manager for the company’s Denali, Voltage and Rubicon division. Goldenberg previous held the position of product manager for the division.
“Over the past year, Nate has shown a tremendous amount of leadership within our company,” Clark stated in a news release. “He has made huge strides with our Denali laminated mid-profile fifth-wheel and travel trailer product lines and as a result, we have seen a significant increase in market share for the brand.”
In addition to his responsibilities with the Denali line, Goldenberg has been working to develop Dutchmen’s all new toy hauler product lines — the Voltage luxury fifth-wheel and the Rubicon travel trailers. According to Clark, they have been the most successful product launches the company has ever had. “Both products have been enthusiastically received by dealers and retail customers and are already becoming major factors in the toy hauler segment,” he added.
Denali, Voltage and Rubicon will be featured in Dutchmen’s display at the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 30 through Dec. 2. The display is located in the South Wing Booth 1101.
Dutchmen RV is a division of Thor industries. Dutchmen RV produces several brands of towable recreational vehicles that are sold throughout the United States and Canada. Dutchmen RV brands include the Denali, Four Winds, Grand Junction, Aerolite, Kodiak, Voltage, Rubicon and Dutchmen brands. Goldenberg can be reached at Dutchmen by phone at (574) 537-0600 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the Denali, Voltage and Rubicon product lines can be found on www.dutchmen.com