Middlebury, Ind.-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is adding the new Ascend lightweight travel trailer to its existing towable brands, which include Ever-Lite, Ever-Lite Select, Element and i-Go.
According to a press release, the Ascend is EverGreen’s most affordable, lightweight towable targeting the entry-level RV buyer. With six versatile floorplans, the Ascend features vacuum-laminated, aluminum-framed composite walls and floor. Composites lighten the coach, making the Ascend easier to tow even with smaller tow vehicles like mid-sized SUVs or sedans.
The roof is built with a single seamless piece of fiberglass running the entire length of the Ascend, offering an attractive look and added strength. The roof’s glossy finish also is less prone to leaks because it has fewer seams. In conjunction with the composite walls and floor, the fiberglass reinforced exterior skin of the Ascend is designed to be tougher and weigh less than other towable RVs of similar size. In addition, the underside of the Ascend is built with composites to better protect the coach from the elements.
Standard features on the Ascend include a kitchen skylight, aluminum-framed pass-through storage and bed base, dual gas struts under the bed for easier storage access, an inner-spring mattress, large deep tinted windows with safety glass, a 4-point gear driven slide system, 6-gallon gas/electric DSI water heater and a large double-door refrigerator freezer.
The Ascend also is equipped with a fresh water tank placed directly over the axle to reduce tongue weight and increase storage, as well as Beauflor padded enhanced flooring, adjustable axle hangers to lower or raise the unit height, up to a 15,000 BTU roof air conditioning unit, a three-year structural warranty and one-year of roadside assistance.
For more information visit http://www.goevergreenrv.com.
The story of the demise of fifth-wheel RV maker Carriage Inc. has all the makings of a typical news story on a factory being shut down.
As reported by the South Bend Tribune, nearly 200 knowledgeable, hardworking employees were battling to keep their 42-year-old Millersburg, Ind., company afloat during the recession and its aftermath, only to come into work Oct. 17, 2011, and learn Carriage was closing.
It might have ended there.
But the management team of Carriage opted to make a pitch to EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC of Middlebury, Ind., maker of light, eco-friendly travel trailers.
“Basically they made a presentation that really fits the mold of what we’re trying to do with EverGreen, with the quality, with the green (segment) and the integrity, and had some good product design activities,” said EverGreen CEO Michael Schoeffler. “And they were in the high-end fifth wheel, and it matched our strategic plan.”
But not perfectly.
Launching a fifth-wheel brand in 2012 was about 12 to 18 months ahead of EverGreen’s schedule. However, the opportunity was too good to pass up.
“As we sat and met with these people,” Schoeffler said, “and looked at what was available in this county, we said, ‘you know, we can’t pass on an opportunity all the time, because it might not be there 12 to 15 months from now.’”
And so in November, EverGreen agreed to launch its own fifth-wheel brand, Lifestyle Luxury RV, with the aid of the former Carriage personnel.
It was the right thing to do, Schoeffler noted, “because these people have a good, long history of building high-end fifth wheels that we wanted to be in.”
In mid-November, EverGreen hired 15 people from the former Carriage Inc.
Another 60 to 85 workers from Carriage are expected to be added later this year as production of the new Lifestyle Luxury RV fifth-wheels begins in March.
More could be hired in the future, too, Schoeffler said.
“This is a product and market that is much different than what we’re in today,” Schoeffler said. “And the consumer is much different. These people have just years and years of experience of high-end luxury fifth wheels, and those customers. That’s what was so attractive.”
For Greg Kitson and his former co-workers from Carriage, getting back in their old business in a nearby location was quite a break.
“We are thrilled it was able to come together so quickly,” said Kitson, director of engineering and product development for Lifestyle Luxury RV. “We are thrilled to be able to come to look towards tomorrow to be able to put great people back to work.
“That’s where the thrill and the passion come from. The other part of the passion is building a great product.”
Officially, Lifestyle Luxury RV is a stand-alone company that is a division of EverGreen, Kitson said.
“What EverGreen did is that they’ve taken their expertise out there and put themselves out there and really tried to separate themselves from the marketplace,” he said. “Lifestyle will do the same thing.
“We’re at different price points and different products with different techniques, but all in all it still comes down to the people involved and how you take care of dealers, customers, suppliers and employees. It’s a great opportunity for all who are involved in this.”
To watch an accompanying video on this story click here.
About 200 people lost their jobs when Carriage Inc. shut down, but there is good news as many of those workers have joined forces to form a new company.
WSBT, South Bend, reported that work is currently under way in Middlebury, Ind., to open a new company known as Lifestyle Luxury RV. It aims to make high-end fifth wheel travel trailers at a vacant factory. The driving force behind the new company is a good number of people who used to work at Carriage in Millersburg, including Greg Kitson who worked at the company for nearly 20 years.
“We have a lot of people on board that have a lot of years of service, a lot of expertise in what they do and great people,” said Kitson. “They are the most loyal people.”
Kitson, along with other former Carriage employees, developed an idea to keep that workforce together and help develop a new company.
“We had a plan and a vision,” he said.
As a group, they approached Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC, which has been in business for three years and makes towable RVs. They proposed teaming up with Evergreen to create a new division, to make high-end fifth wheels. Evergreen already had plans to get into luxury fifth-wheels within the next 18 months.
“We were impressed with their cohesiveness,” said Michael Schoeffler, CEO of Evergreen RV. “They had the same values, the same type of business principles that we have as a company, and then they approached us within a week’s time. We put together a plan, hired them, and kicked the program off.”
Lifestyle Luxury RV will be a separate division, operated by mostly former Carriage employees under Evergreen.
For the former Carriage employees and Evergreen, it is a win-win situation. They will have a new product line and a new beginning for some with high hopes for the future.
“Carriage was a great place to work and a great bunch of people,” said Dana Everage, a former Carriage employee. “I am sure we can make this even better.”
They recently purchased 100,000 square foot vacant factory and will spend upwards of $2.5 million on improving the plant.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC has added two new twin-axle floorplans to its Element travel trailer series, designed for “larger families and more camping comfort,” according to a news release.
The two new, twin axle 26-foot Element models include the ET26 SRK rear kitchen and the ET26 SRL rear lounge floorplans. EverGreen said the sleeping capacity in both new floorplans increases by one adult. Highlights include:
• ET 26 SRK: The floorplan features a rear kitchen configuration with two lounge seating areas facing each other across the living area. The roadside slideout lounge area has a dining table that converts into a full-sized bed that sleeps two. The lounge curbside converts to sleep one adult. The larger bath features a private enclosure shower with seat, commode and sink. A front bedroom with a 60-inch by 8-inch queen-sized bed is surrounded by headboard and wardrobe storage.
• ET 26 SRL: This rear lounge floor plan has a modified U-shaped lounge/dinette that converts to a full-sized bed. An adjacent chaise next to the entertainment center converts to a single bed to sleep one additional adult. The full kitchen slideout on the roadside is mid-coach. Across from the kitchen, a larger bath features a private enclosure shower with seat, commode and sink
• New Twin Axles: The new 26-foot series Element’s twin 3,500 pound axles increase the GVWR of the camper to 7,000 pounds. EverGreen’s Advanced Fulcrum Tracking (AFT) axle system provides balanced stability and true tracking by placing the axle system further to the rear of the coach. The use of lightweight composites and aluminum forward of the axle help reduce the tongue weight.
• Still Lightweight for Easy Towing: The extension from 25 feet, eight inches to 28 feet, two inches, only increases the tongue weight of the new twin axle series Element by less than 100 pounds. Both floorplans have a dry weight of approximately 4,900 pounds, fully equipped, including options.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is building its original all-composite Ever-Lite travel trailers in all seven of its popular deep-slide models and two additional floorplans for 2012 – the 27RB and the 29FK – which are showcased at this week’s 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, limiting production of the original Ever-Lite brand makes it the only EverGreen product “built for discriminating buyers looking for an all-composite, more durable, longer lasting, sustainable travel trailer.”
EverGreen said that its exclusive ComposiTek construction makes it 20% lighter than competing brands. The all-composite walls, floor and roof are lighter and stronger than wood products while also resisting rot, mold and mildew. The ComposiTek manufacturing process replaces 50 sheets of lauan plywood in each trailer and thus yields a camper with virtually no harmful VOC off-gassing air — especially noticeable to people with allergies or eye sensitivity to formaldehyde.
Other improvements for all 2012 Ever-Lite models include:
• Redesigned upholstered furniture styling.
• New interior valance designs.
• Skylights and sprayer faucets.
• New planked wood Beauflor laminate flooring.
• Campfire kitchenette (three models).
• Wardrobe slideout (three models).
• Entertainment center.
• New Corian countertops.
• New full front two-tone cap.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is showing its line of 2012 i-Go Lite travel trailers and fifth-wheels during the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, the i-Go Lite targets “economy-conscious camping families the opportunity to own a lightweight, quality-built EverGreen at a very affordable price.” The 2012 i-Go Lite is available in eight floorplans, including six travel trailers less than 30 feet in length and weighing from 4,600 to just over 5,000 pounds.
Evergreen said that the i-Go Lite is crafted with the same aluminum-framed, vacuum-laminated processes and 100-point quality control systems as all EverGreen products. By limiting the amount of composite materials to a lightweight composite inner shell, and producing a narrower, 7 foot six inch trailer, EverGreen was able to dramatically reduce the price on the new i-Go Lite series of trailers.
Travel trailer floorplans include:
• The new i-Go Lite floorplans G220RB and G236RBK are both rear bath models with roadside, center deep slides with mid-kitchens and front bedrooms. The over-sized dinette/sleeper in the slide out measures 84″ by 42″ to sleep two adults comfortably and has under-seat storage. Sofa models have storage underneath. In addition, the slightly larger G236RBK features a kitchen table inside and EverGreen’s popular Campfire Kitchenette-a full service outside kitchen with cooktop, refrigerator and food storage curbside.
• The G239BH sleeps six with a queen bed, large dinette that converts to a full sized bed and an additional twin “bunk house” in the rear of the camper.
• The model G249RB features a more open floorplan designed for entertaining with a large sofa bed in the slideout facing a dinette and a galley L-shaped kitchen with expanded counter space and kitchen storage.
• The G256BH features a large dinette and sofa slideout opposite the kitchen. Perfect for families with lots of kids, this floorplan sleeps up to eight with twin bunks tucked into the curbside, aft corner.
• The largest of the i-Go Lite travel trailers, the G269FK, features EverGreen’s popular front, L-shaped kitchen floorplan with loads of storage. A slideout jack knife sofa is opposite a dinette. Access the bedroom through the bath into in the rear of the coach.
EverGreen said that two new i-Go Lite fifth-wheels are designed for towing by half-ton trucks, including:
• The G27RK-5 features a rear kitchen configuration with counter space and overhead storage across the entire rear of the coach. The large combo dinette and sofa slideout is opposite the kitchen. Access to the front bedroom is through a private bath on both fifth wheels.
• The G27RL-5 is a rear lounge floor plan perfect for entertaining with the slide out sofa and easy chairs aft. A dinette is opposite the galley style kitchen curbside.
Florida-based Dick Gore’s RV World has taken on the eco-friendly Element trailer line by EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC at the dealership’s St. Augustine, Fla., location, according to a press release.
“Dick Gore’s RV World is beyond excited to introduce the Element travel trailers to the Florida market area,” said Joe Andrick, general manager of Dick Gore’s RV World of St. Augustine. “We are very happy to carry the innovative Element. It is the ultimate green trailer. We are thoroughly impressed with the construction and longevity of this product.”
“The most noticeable feature of the Element is the unique styling and colors on both the outside and the inside,” added Doug Lantz, president and COO of EverGreen RV. “The Element is available in four color schemes over a unitized-body built of lightweight, all-composite materials. Panelized components are fused and fastened to form a one-piece outer perimeter shell that is stronger and more aerodynamic than conventionally built trailers. The result is a great looking trailer that will far outlast the competition.”
EverGreen said that there is virtually no wood in the structural components of an Element which means far less chance for rot, mold or mildew. “We are thrilled to have Dick Gore’s RV World carrying the Element brand,” said Ron Wiseman, Element product sales manager. “Gore’s has been in business for 26 years. They have big town inventory and small town service. The team is outstanding and really understands the product line and takes great care of their customers.”
Dick Gore’s RV World will be celebrating its one-year anniversary event beginning Oct. 30 through the month of November at the St. Augustine location. The company also has outlets in Jacksonville, Fla., and Richmond Hill, Ga.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC has added two 26-foot dual-axle floorplans to its innovative, eco-friendly, Euro-styled Element travel trailer. With dry weights of around 5,000 pound, these longer new single-slide floorplans include dry baths — unlike the original Element shown at last year’s Louisville Show — while the Element continues to raise the bar in terms of styling in today’s popular small-trailer market.
”(The market) says it wanted them bigger and they wanted dry baths, said Doug Lantz, president of the Middlebury, Ind., towable manufacturer.The wood-free Element, designed for towing behind SUVs and small pickups, garnered attention when it debuted in late 2010 with what Lantz terms ”nouveau-retro” styling.
”It’s got retro appeal to it, but it’s got the new technology and a new styling design with a lot of European influence,” Lantz said. ”We put our Americanized touches on it.
”Originally, the concept was the Element would be a more basic unit because if you left some of the options off, you could lower the weight. That’s still a good concept for the international market. But the U.S. market wants all the equipment and with that equipment comes the weight, so you have to make your unit a little bigger.”
Lantz said EverGreen will continue to offer the Element in two 24-foot single-axle floorplans equipped with cassette toilets. MSRPs for the dual-axle 26SRL floorplan: $44,900.
Also for 2012 EverGreen has introduced the more compact, lightweight, 7 1/2-foot wide i-Go Lite travel trailer series with a reinforced fiberglass exterior on an aluminum superstructure and composite interior walls. Four floorplans in 25- to 27-foot lengths are available with a base MSRP of $22,492.
Today’s Video No. 2 comes from Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC featuring NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.
The football legend and three-time Emmy winning co-host of FOX NFL Sunday Terry Bradshaw continues as spokesman for EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC with a new video shot on his Oklahoma ranch.
“It was a lot of fun showing off my new fifth-wheel and talking about all the attributes of an Ever-Lite RV,” Bradshaw stated in a news release. “It is a pleasure to represent a company of EverGreen’s quality and the cutting edge, eco-friendly products they produce.”
The video is a comprehensive look at the amenities, construction materials and practices that make the all-composite Ever-Lite an RV that is designed to last a lifetime. According to Bradshaw, “It’s built tougher to outlast the competition.”
A few of the topics covered are how the seamless ComposiTek roof, walls and floor are vacuum laminated and secured to a double-welded aluminum frame. EverGreen’s exclusive ComposiTek construction is four times stronger than wood and resists rot, mold and mildew. In addition, there is virtually no harmful VOC out-gassing making it an RV that is as healthy for your family as it is for the environment. The Ever-Lite is the first RV to earn the prestigious Emerald Green rating from TRA Certification.
An Ever-Lite is 1,000 pounds or 20% lighter than competing brands making it easier to tow, more fuel efficient and lasts years longer than the competition. Ever-Lite does not skimp on amenities with models that include the exclusive Campfire Kitchenette outdoor kitchen and Deep Slide models with 42-inch slide-outs — giving campers more room than competing 36-inch slides.
The relationship between Terry Bradshaw and EverGreen began July 15 when Bradshaw took possession of his Ever-Lite fifth-wheel at the EverGreen plant in Middlebury, Ind. Bradshaw’s personal RV is featured in the video. He and his family use the camper while traveling the quarter horse circuit.
“EverGreen has set the ‘Green Standard’ with its Ever-Lite brands,” Bradshaw continues. “I am proud to be the spokesman for a company that is so young and yet is pushing so hard to introduce products that are not only eco-friendly, but look fantastic and are built with best-in-class quality to last a lifetime.”
Click here to watch a vide courtesy of KEZI-TV, Eugene, Ore., about the following story from KEZI.
Oregon RV manufacturers and dealers say sales continue to rise since the recession. Perhaps the biggest indicator of that is the activity at the Oregon RV Show and Sale which concluded on Sunday (March 6) at the Lane County Fairgrounds.
Dealers say the big improvements this year are lighter RVs that are also more fuel-efficient. Sutton RV General Manager Eric Benson says last year was basically the kickoff for lightweight sales. He says a small, silver RV is his top seller right now, and says he’s never before seen more sales in this line of lightweights.
Last year, he says they increased by 40%. So this year, he brought in four different lines.
“Right now, we’re on pace to do another 30% increase this year even with the gas prices the way they are. So lightweight is the key to the market right now.”
“It’s growing across the nation. Every show we’ve talked to has had more and more people coming this year than last year so we are expecting an increase as people gain confidence,” said Dave Weinkauf, Oregon Show Promotions.
Weinkauf ran the RV show, and he says everything, not just the lightweights, is now more fuel-efficient, even the motorhomes.
And with that, Benson says most models have been redesigned since the recession to be more affordable. He says some cost 20% to 30% less than a few years ago.
While you might not be able to tell from the outside that some models have become more fuel-efficient, one surely sticks out.
The Element by Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC made its first appearance at an Oregon RV show this past weekend.
Designer Dan Rodabaugh says the streamline shape and that fact that it runs on a single axle, instead of a duel axle, helps it save on gas.
As for the shape, Rodabaugh says he was inspired by boats.
He calls the Element a yacht on wheels because most of the materials come from the marine industry. They’re waterproof and rotproof.
“I’ve always been in the marine lifestyle and so when I got into the RV industry I noticed there was maybe a little bit of a lack of styling and detail,” Rodabaugh said.
The Element runs for $47,860 and is now available at Sutton RV in Eugene.