California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law legislation backed by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) that “brings clarity to the state vehicle code and will allow longer fifth-wheel travel trailers in the state,” according to a press release.
RVIA, working closely with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the California Highway Patrol (CHP), and the RV Dealers Association of California, was able to get legislation enacted that permits fifth-wheel trailers to be up to 48 feet in overall length, provided the kingpin to rear axle length is 40 feet or less for a fifth-wheel with two or more axles. If there is only one axle, the kingpin to axle length may not exceed 38 feet.
The legislation clarifies an ambiguity in the law that arose in late 2012 by instituting a uniform process to measure fifth-wheels. The issue surfaced last October when the California DMV issued a “Vehicle Industry News” bulletin to its field offices instructing that a registration application form for a fifth-wheel trailer must include its length and width in inches, and that any unit exceeding 40 feet in length from the “foremost point of the trailer hitch to the rear extremity of the trailer body” would not be considered a vehicle.
At that time there was no measurement standard for fifth-wheel trailers included in any California statute or regulation, and the new DMV enforcement position created problems for the RV industry because models in excess of 40 feet – measured according to the method in the DMV bulletin – could no longer be titled or registered as a vehicle with DMV.
As part of the new law, a manufacturer of a fifth-wheel trailer of any size must include in the delivery documents to the dealer the information necessary to register that fifth-wheel travel trailer, including the vehicle’s overall length and a declaration that the vehicle is in compliance with the kingpin to rear axle length provision. An RV dealer would have the right to refuse acceptance of the trailer if this information is not provided.
“Officially, the law takes effect on January 1, 2014,” said Director of Government Affairs Mike Ochs, who led the effort for RVIA. “However, since we worked closely with DMV and CHP in crafting this bill, it is not likely that a DMV field office will refuse to register or title a fifth wheel that falls within the new length requirements prior to the effective date.”
Middlebury, Ind-based Grand Design RV Co. announced today (June 26) the opening of an additional production line for Reflection, a new luxury, high-value, easy-to-tow fifth-wheel brand.
“Reflection is being introduced on the heels of the company’s extremely successful Solitude extended stay fifth-wheel,” Don Clark, president and co-owner, said in a press release. “Reflections General Manager Micah Staley and his team were strategic in selecting this very important segment as Grand Design’s next entry into the marketplace. Reflection will enable our dealers to expand their reach into the high-volume, smaller fifth-wheel market.”
Staley added, “A large portion of our dealers have voiced the need for an innovative, smaller, easily-towed fifth-wheel and Reflection fits these requests perfectly. Grand Design has quickly earned the reputation for unique, distinct styling and the Reflection is no exception. Reflection’s interior living space, residential eye appeal and unique layouts will raise expectations in the marketplace.”
The company plans to begin shipping Reflection mid-sized fifth-wheels to dealers in mid July.
Middlebury, Ind.-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC reported positive dealer input for its new Bay fifth-wheel during last week’s RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas
According to a press release, EverGreen has five Bay Hill floorplans currently slated for production. In addition to the model that was built for the Elkhart RV Open House in September and the Las Vegas show, EverGreen is working on additional floorplans to display at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 27-29.
The 365RL floor plan was the first that dealers were able to tour. This rear living floorplan features residential construction furniture with both a home theater seating lounge and a full sofa for plenty of seating, along with a side-aisle bath with a walk-in shower and master suite bedroom.
“Dealer feedback surrounding the Bay Hill has been very positive so far,” said EverGreen President Mark Boessler. “We set out to build a fifth-wheel product that has all of the features and amenities that dealers and consumers have been asking for, and I feel that we’ve achieved that goal.”
Adam Smith of Smith RV in Monroe, Indiana, previewed the new product at the show and noted, “With all the features and amenities, along with the fresh new look, the Bay Hill is a tremendous value.”
Shasta RV, a division of Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc., announced the launch of its all-new Phoenix mid-profile and “super-mid profile” fifth-wheels during the recently completed Elkhart County RV Open House. According to a press release, Shasta is securing a 55,000 square-foot production facility to meet demand for the product and anticipates the hiring of 75 new employees by year’s end.
“The Phoenix is a uniquely constructed, value-added-fifth wheel,” said Product Manager Chadd Johnson, previously of CrossRoads RV who is overseeing sales in Canada for the Phoenix brand. “We have instilled a creative thinking process in our team, and have invested the extra effort to be inventive and attentive to details.”
Johnson noted that Daric Fail will handle sales in the southern U.S. while Kris Lash covers the northwestern states. The Phoenix will also be on display during this week’s the Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association’s (RVDA) Convention/Expo in Las Vegas.
“The response to the product at the Open House was unbelievable,” reported Mark Lucas, president of Shasta RV. “We had dealers standing three and four deep just to get inside. Dealers made positive comments and complimented the overall unique look and feel, as well as the commitment to our value added design and construction method.”
The Phoenix utilizes a mechanically-fastened, 16-inch on center, six-sided aluminum cage for its construction. Tongue-and-groove plywood covers the floor structure, while a rolled-edge roof caps off the modern colored, hung fiberglass exterior. “This product will compete directly with the current mid-profile products on the market, but we’ve integrated features and eye appeal normally found at much higher price points,” said Lucas.
Standard features include wide-body construction, unique wall treatments, leather-style furniture and a “designer-inspired” bathroom. Phoenix fifth-wheels will range from 27- to 34-feet in length with MSRP’s starting around $30,000.
“Most people inherently want to feel they have something unique and special. We deliver that wish, and then some, without asking them to pay $60,000 to do so,” said Johnson. “Most products in the mid-profile segment all look the same and are all built the same. We instead, invest time and expense in the best possible construction, and pair that with a contemporary interior and class-leading exterior design. This Phoenix fifth-wheel is sure to have a broad appeal.”
For more information, available territories or details on the Phoenix, call (574) 825-7178.
Shipshewana, Ind.-based towable builder KZRV LP has redefined its Stoneridge luxury fifth-wheel line with the introduction of new innovative features, interiors and exterior options.
According to a press release, the redesigned StoneRidge will make its debut during next week’s Elkhart County RV Open House at the company’s display at the corner of County Road 6 and County Road 15 in Elkhart.
The new StoneRidge fifth-wheel features a bold exterior that offers one standard exterior graphic package, two partial paint exteriors choices and two full-body paint options. Eight models range from 38 to 40 feet in length.
Nicely appointed with an MSRP around $61,295, StoneRidge fifth-wheels are also equipped with many standard features that other RV manufacturers offer only as options, including: true six-sided aluminum frame; fireplace; premium bedding package; 40- to 46-inch LCD TVs; ottoman; washer/dryer prep; 30-inch OTR microwave; 16-inch aluminum wheels; Corian counter tops and slam latch luggage doors.
Offering new floorplans and other industry-first features, the new StoneRidge has been “innovatively re-engineered to create a more home-like appearance,” according to KZ.
“‘As KZ’s luxury product, StoneRidge has always brought unmatched craftsmanship and functionality to their customers. Our team has created a high level of value to the new StoneRidge, designed for the experienced RVer that knows what they want from a luxury fifth-wheel,” said Product Manager Marlene Snyder .
The StoneRidge is covered by KZ RV’s two-year limited warranty. Also included is a one-year free membership in Coach-Net that provides 24/7 roadside assistance throughout the United States and Canada.
Riding the success of its Sundance mid-profile fifth-wheel brand, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC will extend the lineup, rolling out a full-featured, lightweight laminated travel trailer to dealers during the Sept. 18-21 Elkhart County RV Open House.
“The Sundance travel trailer is an extremely important product to our company’s growth plans,” stated Heartland President Chris Hermon in a press release. “With MSRP’s ranging from the low- to mid-$30,000’s, the Sundance trailer fits into that sweet spot of the marketplace while targeting the extremely popular half-ton pickup market.”
Applying the same formula that pushed Sundance to the No. 7 spot among all fifth-wheel brands in June, the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder is bringing the Sundance travel trailer to market sharply priced and featuring several “industry firsts” for the high-volume segment.
“We performed a lot of research on how we could bring more value at this price point,” said Hermon. “During our product design process we came up with several innovative and interesting ideas. Many times you have to step back and challenge yourself to think differently.”
Heartland will debut two 31-foot models at the Open House – a double-slide bunkhouse and rear entertainment floorplan – that will be equipped with hydraulic slideouts and four-point hydraulic leveling jacks. General Manager Jim Hickey noted, “Customers have to step up to a fifth-wheel to get hydraulics. These are features that are really going to distinguish Sundance in the lightweight laminated trailer market.”
Also included as standard are high-gloss fiberglass sidewalls, LG True solid-surface countertops, painted fiberglass caps, aluminum wheels and electric awnings. Hermon noted, “This travel trailer looks awesome inside and out. People are going to be talking a lot about the Sundance brand.”
Hermon said that more models are planned for the Sundance trailer line, all designed to eliminate overlap and intelligently segment the market. “We continue to find that dealers don’t want a lot of floorplans,” he said. “What they want are proven layouts they can stock deeply and turn quickly. That is exactly what the Sundance travel trailer is all about.”
Heartland will be showing product at the Open House as part of parent Thor Industries Inc.’s massive display area at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. For additional information on the Sundance contact Hickey at (574) 303-9200 or email@example.com.
Things are going very well for CrossRoads RV, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.
And further evidence of that became evident Monday when the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. in conjunction with the town of Topeka and CrossRoads RV announced the construction of a new 22,000-square-foot corporate headquarters building at the company’s 45-acre campus in Topeka, Ind.
The headquarters will be constructed near the company’s plant. The project will result in up to 10 new positions.
“We are in a growth mode here,” said Alexandria Trusov, marketing director for CrossRoads RV. “And we have expanded beyond our current capacity and needed more space.”
Currently more than 500 people work at the campus, which includes four plants, a customer service center and the current corporate headquarters.
This does not count the estimated 250 people expected to be added by 2014 when a 93,000-square-foot facility will be completed at a cost of $3.9 million.
CrossRoads RV, a division of Thor Industries, manufactures a wide variety of recreational vehicles, including toy haulers, travel trailers and destination trailers. Some of its better known brands include Zinger, Z-1, Rushmore and Sunset Trail Ultra-Lite.
CrossRoads RV is also a sister company to Redwood RV in Syracuse.
Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC has bolstered its ElkRidge full-profile fifth-wheel lineup with the addition of the five-slide 36FLPS floorplan, designed to address a new market segment while extending the brand’s “value-driven” strategy that has generated strong sales in 2012.
“The ElkRidge is one of the fastest growing fifth-wheels on the market,” said Bryan Walczak, general manager for the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder, in a news release. “Through the first five months, the brand saw a 12.2% increase in market share and a 16.4% rise in units sold. We expect the 36FLPS to have the same success, hitting a mid-profile price point in a full-profile fifth-wheel.”
Walczak said that the 39-foot “PentaSlide” is full-featured, offering refined interior amenities set off by a front living room with theater-style seating that showcases a 40-inch TV, along with two sliderooms. Other key standard features include wireless remote control, washer/dryer prep, freestanding dinette, king bed, ample storage and multiple entrance doors.
Walczak noted that with base MSRP’s starting at $48,749, the aluminum-framed, laminated “Penta-Slide” retails at “thousands less than the competition’s comparably equipped fifth-wheels.”
“We went into production in July and we just sold our first unit at Bent’s RV outside of New Orleans,” said Walczak. “Brian Bent, the owner, told me that customers love the floorplan, especially when they see that it retails for the same price as other mid-profile coaches. We are looking for the 36FLPS to perform in line with our other ElkRidge models, where dealers are able to see an exceptional return on their investment.”
The 36FLPS will make its consumer debut on the show circuit in September at America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa. It will also be on display for dealers during Elkhart’s Thor All-Star dealer open house, set to run Sept. 17-21 in the industry’s manufacturing hub.
“Judging by early feedback, we think the 36FLPS will really generate sales with our dealers during the Open House event,” Walczak said.
With the addition of the “PentaSlide,” the ElkRidge now features seven floorplans, ranging in length from 29 to 42 feet, with five additional floorplans in the entry-level, ultra-affordable Elkridge Express line.
Built in a dedicated facility, the ElkRidge features integrated remote control systems, full-profile ceiling slideouts, solid-surface countertops, universal docking center, European-style hidden hinges, true slam baggage doors, roller bearing drawer glides and camp kitchens. Packaged with rich, cherry interiors, ElkRidge also offers an 88-degree turning radius designed to accommodate short-bed pickup trucks.
Offering consumers an attractive price point and a variety of functional floorplans, Heartland Recreational Vehicle LLC’s full-profile Bighorn fifth-wheel line continues to build market share, garnering the No. 3 overall brand ranking in the May report from Statistical Surveys Inc.
“Our Bighorn line generated impressive sales during the first five months of 2012,” said Coley Brady, vice president of sales for the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder, noting that Bighorn was the No. 1 selling fifth-wheel through May in the hotbed states of Texas, Florida and Alabama and the top full-profile line in Canada. “It confirms that we are building product that consumers recognize as a discernible value in the high end of the fifth-wheel marketplace with the right combination of residential-style amenities backed by superior fit and finish.”
According to a press release, a key factor driving sales is Heartland’s decision to market the Bighorn as a full-time coach. Eleven models, with base MSRP’s starting at $59,900, feature laminated roof, sidewall and floor construction that reduces noise while providing the structural integrity and thermal insulation required for four-seasons RVing.
“Our use of seamless laminated construction really sets us apart from the competition at the price point that we’re hitting with the Bighorn,” said General Manager Kary Katzenberger. “It meets the demands of a growing full-time demographic, which is mushrooming with the influx of Baby Boomers and people that are using their RV as a mobile office.”
Katzenberger reported that Heartland would be debuting three new configurations in the Bighorn line at this year’s Elkhart County RV Open House set to run Sept. 17-21.
Of equal importance to Bighorn’s early 2012 success was the addition of the Silverado by Bighorn series that was unveiled to dealers during last September’s Open House.
“The Silverado addresses a key segment in the marketplace,” said Katzenberger, noting that base MSRP’s start at $44,900. “It provides the upscale interior amenities of the Bighorn at an aggressive price point while also offering extended stay, three-seasons construction. We are not only selling to seasoned RVers looking to upgrade, but also first-timers that want to enjoy the benefits of a full-profile fifth-wheel.”
Silverado, which includes four couples coaches, also addresses large families with two bunkbed floorplans.
The Bighorn and the Silverado share several key features, including stackable washer/dryer hookups, Heartland’s industry-first 88-degree turning radius and a universal docking center. Lengths for the Bighorn range from 35 to 40 feet while Silverado models run 33 to 40 feet.
CrossRoads RV has added fifth-wheel models to its popular Cruiser Aire line, marking the first time the Topeka, Ind.-based company has offered an ultra-lightweight fifth-wheel. The Cruiser Aire fifth-wheel currently features three floorplans with two additional configurations planned. The Cruiser Aire line is designed for use with 1/2-ton trucks and weighs in at less than 7,000 pounds. Amenities include dual sliderooms to expand the interior space, while kitchens feature an island and 8-cubic-foot refrigerator. “The Cruiser line has been popular for over 10 years. With the Cruiser Aire, we’ve taken the Cruiser history of creating family-friendly floorplans and produced the ultimate, take-anywhere, lightweight RV,” said Rudy Boals, product manager for the Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary. “Our new fifth-wheel floorplans offer the improved towability that fifth-wheels are famous for, but with more livable space than other lightweights. ”