Middlebury, Ind.-based towable builder EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC announced that its Sun Valley line of travel trailers now offers a new bunkhouse model, targeting extended families or large groups of campers.
According to a press release, the Sun Valley S300BHSL travel trailer features a walk-around queen bed in the front of the coach with a side-aisle bath separating the sleeping quarters from the main living and dining areas of the coach. A spacious kitchen slideout sits opposite a deep-slide dinette and couch, with plenty of storage overhead.
EverGreen said the two slideouts provide ample room for entertaining around a kitchen island with a full-sized residential sink. The rear bunkhouse features a door next to a large kitchen pantry, revealing a hideaway for children or adult guests, while plenty of sleeping and lounging space is provided by double bunks and a third flip-down bunk. Underneath the flip-up bunk are cube gaming chairs designed for lounging or viewing a flat screen TV on the rear wall, complete with drink holders.
Sun Valley also offers a dozen other versatile floor plans with standard features such as a fiberglass front cap with LED lights, screwed and glued cabinetry, and a gear driven four-point slide system.
All Sun Valley travel trailers are built with EverGreen’s industry-leading vacuum lamination process in the sidewalls, roof and floors with a fiberglass reinforced exterior and a durable walk-on, reflective white TPO roof wrapped around a sturdy welded aluminum cage. Every unit is put through a rigorous 101-point inspection including a rain booth test before leaving the factory floor.
Middlebury, Ind.-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLS has re-engineered its line of Ever-Lite travel trailers, providing “economy-minded and entry-level campers with EverGreen quality at a very affordable price,” according to a news release.
The company said that the new Ever-Lite Select line is now the largest brand in the EverGreen lineup with 15 floorplans available. Based on the original Ever-Lite series, there are eight lightweight travel trailers and seven deep-slide models ranging in lengths from 25 to 36 feet. The original Ever-Lite brand with full ComposiTek construction is still available in nine floorplans.
To lower the cost of the new Ever-Lite Select travel trailers, EverGreen replaced composite materials with more affordable components, including:
• Satin finished exterior gel-coat: Built to be more affordable, the entire Ever-Lite Select line has a satin finished exterior gel coat that replaces the high-gloss composite exterior. Evergreen replaced additional composites with conventional materials throughout the coach to further reduce the cost.
• Composite inner shell: EverGreen has retained its lightweight composite inner shell on the Ever-Lite select that resist rot, mold and mildew inside. The shell also lowers off-gassing of VOCs for a healthier camping experience.
• Vacuum laminated construction: EverGreen’s vacuum laminated construction is bonded onto a fully welded and reinforced aluminum frame. The combination of the composite inner shell, high-density block foam and vacuum lamination result in added durability and higher R-values.
• Deep-slide models: Deeper, 42-inch slideouts are above the wheel well to provide higher ground clearance on seven deep-slide models in the Ever-Lite Select series. Six-inches deeper than traditional slides, deep slides provide residential living space. Slides are driven in all four corners with EverGreen’s quality, four-point, gear-driven system to provide smoother operation and a tighter seal.
The company said that the Ever-Lite Select still incorporates high-tech composites, vacuum-laminated to a welded aluminum frame in a seamless, one-piece system that eliminates flex and vibration.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC will be holding a daily cash prize drawing Sept. 19-22 at the company’s manufacturing headquarters in Middlebury, Ind., during its Dealer Open House. The event is running in conjunction with next week’s Elkhart County 4th Annual RV Open House.
According to a press release, a name will be drawn at 3 p.m. from that day’s visitors to EverGreen’s display area. All attending dealers can register to win $1,000 in cash. The winner will be notified via cell phone and be required to return to EverGreen to claim the prize. The display will be open 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.
During the Open House, EverGreen will be showing its lines of composite-built, eco-friendly trailers including:
• New EverGreen i-Go Lite: The new lightweight line of i-Go Lite travel trailers and fifth-wheels is lighter weight and easier to tow because of its narrower 7-foot, 6-inch width. The line is priced to sell while retaining EverGreen’s exclusive composite inner shell wrapped into a vacuum laminated camper.
• New Tandem Axel Element 26 Series: The line features a fully equipped bath, new convenience features and a larger 26-foot floorplan with heavier capacity tandem axles. The Element is gaining momentum with its fusion of styles between classic American automotive design and the latest in aerodynamic, European-inspired camping trailers.
EverGreen said there will also be a variety of new floorplans in the company’s Ever-Lite brand.
“You can’t stay static in our industry. If you’re not moving ahead, you are falling behind,” said Doug Lantz, president and COO for EverGreen RV. “Join us to walk through all these new Ever-Lite floorplans and new EverGreen Element and i-Go Lite products.”
Middlebury, Ind.-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC’s new line of i-Go Lite travel trailers and fifth-wheels offers families a lightweight, easy towing trailer that provides an affordable introduction into EverGreen’s eco-friendly towables.
“The concept of the i-Go Lite travel trailers and fifth-wheels is to provide economy-conscious camping families the opportunity to own a lightweight, quality-built EverGreen at a very affordable price,” said Doug Lantz, president and COO of EverGreen, in a press release. “The i-Go is still crafted with the same aluminum-framed, vacuum-laminated processes and 100-point quality control systems as all our EverGreen products.”
Lantz said that by limiting the amount of composite materials to a lightweight inner shell, EverGreen was able to reduce the price on the new i-Go Lite series of trailers.
“Now everyone can own a quality EverGreen product,” concludes Lantz.
Features of the innovative i-Go include:
• i-Go is lighter weight and easier to tow because of its narrower, 7-foot-6-inch width. With less wind resistance, the i-Go tracks smoothly behind smaller tow vehicles such as half-ton pickups or mid-sized SUVs. The entire i-Go Lite series trailers are less than 30 feet in length and weigh less than 5,000 pounds.
• Built better, yet more affordable with a fiberglass reinforced exterior skin, the i-Go still features EverGreen’s innovative, lightweight composite inner shell to reduce rot, mold and mildew. Composites also lower off-gassing of VOCs inside for a healthier camping experience.
• EverGreen’s vacuum laminated composite construction is bonded onto a fully welded and reinforced aluminum frame. The combination of composite materials and vacuum lamination result in added durability and higher R-values. The i-Go is a true EverGreen at a more affordable price.
• Deeper, 42-inch slideouts are above the wheel well to provide higher ground clearance. Six-inches deeper than the competition, i-Go Lite slides provide the living space of an eight-foot trailer yet retain the towability of a 7 1/2-foot wide trailer. Slides are driven in all four corners with EverGreen’s quality, four-point, gear-driven system to provide smoother operation and a tighter seal.
Four travel trailer floorplans are now available in the i-Go Lite series. All four are less than 27 feet and weigh less than 5,000 pounds.
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 inches by 42 inches to sleep two adults comfortably and has under-drawer storage. 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 “bunkhouse” 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.
EverGreen eventually plans to offer five travel trailers and two fifth-wheel floor plans in the i-Go camper series.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC, a leading innovator in lightweight, eco-friendly, sustainable, composite travel trailers and fifth-wheels, will be holding a dealer open house at its manufacturing headquarters in Middlebury, Ind.
As part of the Elkhart County 4th Annual RV Open House, Evergreen will be hosting its new product showcase display Sept. 19-23, running 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.
Products showcased in the display include:
• New EverGreen i-Go Lite: The exciting new lightweight line of i-Go Lite travel trailers and fifth-wheels is easier to tow because of its narrower seven-foot six-inch width. The line is priced right to sell but still retains EverGreen’s exclusive composite inner shell, all wrapped into a quality, vacuum laminated camper.
• New Tandem Axel Element 26 Series: The line features a fully equipped bath, new convenience features and a larger 26-foot floor plan with heavier capacity tandem axles. The Element is gaining momentum with its fusion of styles between classic American automotive design and the latest in aerodynamic, European-inspired camping trailers. The company said there will also be a variety of Ever-Lite floorplans.
Most of the nation’s recreational vehicle makers, whose factories are clustered in northern Indiana, crashed in the recession. But not Thor Industries Inc., owner of Four Winds, Airstream, Dutchmen and seven other units that sell nearly 50 RV brands in all, according to the Wall Street Journal.
After months of slashing jobs and closing factories, Thor is hiring again, and it expects to open two new factories before the end of the year. “The nadir in this industry is definitely behind us,” says Richard Riegel, chief operating officer of Thor, the nation’s biggest RV maker by sales.
Fierce, fast cost-cutting and a structure dominated by many small factories that were easy to open and close almost overnight helped Thor avoid the financial disasters that led to bankruptcy filings by its two big rivals. Those companies — Fleetwood Enterprises and Monaco Coach Corp. — had accounted for half of the industry’s preslump shipments.
Thor’s turnaround is helping to resuscitate the region, where unemployment reached 20%, making it a favorite destination of President Barack Obama as he pushed for economic-stimulus dollars. More than a dozen RV start-ups have emerged — most of them rising from the ruins of companies that went under — in northern Indiana, where about 70% of U.S. RVs are made and the RV Hall of Fame and Museum is housed.
Sales of RVs — ranging from simple, tow-behind trailers to land yachts outfitted with flat screens and full kitchens — peaked at more than 390,000 units in 2006, aided partly by a surge in hurricane-related sales. But they started to stall even before the recession because of $4-a-gallon gasoline. The industry’s problems quickly snowballed as consumer confidence evaporated and banks stopped lending for big-ticket purchases, including RVs.
Riegel recalls driving along Elkhart County’s back roads in the predawn cold last winter. “It’d be dark, it’d be nasty, and I’d see these fathers standing at the end of driveways with their kids waiting for the school bus,” he says. “I knew many of them were our workers” who were suddenly jobless.
This year, analysts predict sales will be 150,000, a 60% decline. But business is looking up as credit loosens and dealers restock inventory-drained showrooms. Shipments of RVs have increased in the last two months, and analysts now expect them to be up 25% next year.
That has helped Thor, as well as the new ventures that have emerged. Truck maker Navistar International Corp. bought parts of Monaco, creating a new RV division. Portions of Fleetwood were bought by New York-based American Industrial Partners Capital Fund IV LP, a private-equity group.
Evergreen RV, in Middlebury, Ind., is a start-up that took over a factory formerly owned by Coachmen Industries Inc., which sold its RV business to Forest River Inc., a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., in late 2008. Evergreen, which touts an “eco-friendly” trailer made of recycled and light-weight materials, now has 60 workers.
Doug Lantz, Evergreen’s chief operating officer, says that when word of the factory reopening spread, job seekers lined up. “We had hundreds showing up and blocking the doors and the parking lot,” says Lantz, who posted a sign on the road saying applications weren’t yet being accepted.
For Thor, which is based in Jackson Center, Ohio, hardship created opportunity. Ron Fenech, president of Thor’s Keystone division, which is based in Goshen, figures he gained at least 1.5 percentage points of market share as competitors faltered, giving his division more than 22% of the market.
“There were six months when the whole industry was in lockdown,” he says. But Keystone, which shed nearly 30% of its 3,000 workers in the last year, has hired back 400 since the summer.
The company, which makes towed trailers, is opening four production lines in its two new factories in Goshen. Trailers are generally less expensive than motorhomes, and sales in the segment have revived faster.
Thor’s secret is speed. The company is willing to expand or contract rapidly, lengthening or trimming shifts daily. Two factors have made that possible: the relatively small size of its factories and the production incentive offered to its workers. By contrast, its failed rivals took on debt, and some built sprawling, expensive plants.
In Goshen, Keystone operates a network of 16 factories, most of them no larger than 75,000 square feet, which is somewhat smaller than 1½ football fields.
The process uses a basic platform bought from an outside supplier that is pushed on a dolly to groups of skilled craftsmen. At different stations, plumbers, electricians and carpenters install pipes, wiring and cabinets.
Many employees are Amish craftsmen who ride bikes to work or are transported from nearby farms by hired drivers.
The workers are paid slightly more than minimum wage, but they still covet the jobs and the productivity bonus. It’s not unusual for RV workers to earn as much as $60,000 a year, Fenech says.