Fledgling towable manufacturer Grand Design RV Co., Middlebury, Ind., will debut its first model — the 38-foot triple-slide Solitude fifth-wheel — at the 28th Annual Florida RV SuperShow next week at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
An industry preview of some 1,100 units will be Tuesday (Jan. 15) followed by a five-day retail show sponsored by the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA).
The Solitude, retailing in the low- to high-$60,000s, depending on equipment, is a product of a new company launched by former Thor executives Don Clark, and co-owner brothers Ron and Bill Fenech, respectively the former president of Thor Industries Inc., and Thor Motor Coach.
Two Grand Design Solitude fifth-wheels will be on display in Louisville with the company expecting ”to start shipping in earnest in February,” Grand Design President Clark told RVBUSINESS.com.
The high-profile, extended-stay Solitude features high-gloss beige fiberglass sidewalls with a painted brown front cap and is equipped with 7-foot-tall slideouts. ”The floorplan has a very spacious feel,” Clark said.
Solitude features include a large amount of pass-through storage with slam-latch doors, hydraulic 6-point leveling system, frameless windows, LED puck lighting throughout, solid-surface countertops, two recliner sofas and a 40-inch HD TV sitting atop a radius fireplace.
Two other floorplans will be available by late February, Clark reported.
Also at the Florida SuperShow for the first time: Germany-based HYMER AG, Europe’s largest RV manufacturer, will display its European-built product as it gauges the North American market. Additionally at the show, Ohio-based startup Advanced RV will display its first Class B motorhome, Ocean One, as will Augusta RV, a new company that opened last year in Bristol, Ind., which will exhibit its Flex-brand travel trailer and fifth-wheel series for the first time.
LIFESTYLE Luxury RV, a Middlebury, Ind.-based luxury fifth-wheel manufacturer, announced the appointment of Todd Hahn as regional sales manager for the South/Southeast region.
Hahn, a Nappanee, Ind., native and graduate of Purdue University brings 22 years of industry experience, including serving as an account manager at Keystone RV Co. and Travel Supreme Inc.
“I am extremely happy to have Todd on board with the LIFESTYLE team,” stated Elliott Bond, national sales manager for EverGreen Recreation Vehicles LLC division. “He will thrive in the high-end fifth-wheel segment because he understands the importance of quality, construction, innovation, and integrity. These key attributes are the cornerstone for what LIFESTYLE Luxury RV stands for.”
“When I first interviewed for this position, I quickly realized that this company has a genuine attitude of doing what is right, and that is very important to me” Hahn stated. “I have always felt this industry is driven by innovation, and LIFESTYLE Luxury RV has innovation, extensive engineering, and true craftsmanship. I am ecstatic to be a part of the LIFESTYLE family and start diligently working with my dealer partners.”
Hahn can be contacted at (574) 361-8166 or thahn@LifestyleLRV.com. For information on LIFESTYLE Luxury RV visit www.LifestyleLRV.com.
Gulf Stream Coach Inc. reported that the Nappanee, Ind.-based builder’s towable offerings were resonating with consumers during the early round of shows.
“Figures from Statistical Surveys Inc. for the key indicator month of February show Gulf Stream retail sales up more than 29% over last year,” said Gulf Stream Executive Vice President Phil Sarvari in a press release. “We’re excited by the success of Gulf Stream Coach dealers at this year’s shows, and we are working hard to help our dealers take advantage of the trends that will extend the strong results of the season through the year.”
According to Gulf Stream, brands that were well received at RV shows and on dealer lots include:
• The VISA “super-lightweight” travel trailer, built with a distinctive one-piece laminated fiberglass roof that stretches in an aerodynamic arc from the front hitch to the rear bumper. The series provides the benefits of both advanced composites and handcrafted hardwoods while offering spacious, full-function floorplans.
• Gulf Stream’s new StreamLite/Gulf Breeze Champagne Series 30DBS, featuring a champagne-colored laminated exterior and high-gloss fiberglass front cap. Gulf Stream said that floorplans attracted the attention of both first-timers and veteran trailer campers.
• Gulf Stream affiliate Yellowstone RV’s Canyon Trail fifth-wheels, set off by a cherry stained interior option, feature a variety of floorplans and chassis technologies, including the SB-1500 floorplan built specifically for half-ton crew-cab pickups with extra-short cargo beds.
Randy Baskerville, general manager for the lightweight Ameri-Lite trailer noted, “Our Ameri-Lite 14RBC can give young families years of unforgettable camping experiences in the great outdoors for less than the price of a back yard hot-tub. That’s exactly what people are looking for at RV shows – unforgettable experiences and true value.”
For additional information contact Paul Campbell, Gulf Stream director of marketing, at (574)-773-7761, ext 5178 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
CrossRoads RV broke ground this morning on a new 93,000 square-foot manufacturing facility with 5,000 square feet of office space adjacent to the company’s existing 45-acre campus in Topeka, Ind.
According to a press release, the new production facility will house the company’s line of Cruiser towables. Construction is slated for completion in August.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered CrossRoads RV tax credits and training grants based on the company’s job creation plans while the town of Topeka granted a tax phase-in for the project. An additional 250 jobs will be created by this expansion.
“Indiana entered the recession making about half of all RVs. Now, we’re making more than four out of five,” noted Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “That’s what happens when businesses in a tough economy look hard to see which state has the best economic climate.”
CrossRoads RV, a division of Thor Industries Inc., is one of the nation’s fastest growing recreational vehicle manufacturers. CrossRoads builds a variety of fifth-wheels and travel trailers, including the Cruiser, which has been one of the company’s most popular products since its debut 10 years ago.
According to Don Emahiser, president of CrossRoads RV, “We’re pleased to be able to expand our facilities in Topeka. The new Cruiser facility’s design adds flexibility to how we manufacture and keep up with demand.”
Nuway Construction, a design/build general contractor located in Goshen, Ind., was chosen for the project. “This facility has been specifically designed to meet CrossRoads RV’s lean manufacturing needs,” said Randy Huffman, president of Nuway Construction.
LIFESTYLE Luxury RV, a newly formed luxury fifth-wheel manufacturer based in Middlebury, Ind., has released a series of 3D renderings in advance of the launch of the company’s first model.
“Our team has been working around the clock for a product debut that will have an immediate impact on the industry,” said Greg Kitson, lead design engineer for LIFESTYLE, who is among several key employees that previously worked for now defunct Carriage Inc. “We’re excited about the opportunity to share just a small part of what our team has been developing for the 2013 model year.”
Kitson said the absence of Carriage product has left a void in the luxury-fifth wheel segment, adding, “LIFESTYLE’s new product line will fill this void and raise expectations for this segment.” The company is a division of Middlebury-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC.
In addition to the unit renderings, an initial list of features and benefits can be seen at www.LifestyleLRV.com. The company said that those familiar with the luxury fifth-wheel segment will quickly recognize several design and construction amenities, including double-stacked box steel tube frames, the dual-floor basement and full-wall slide with an above-the-frame slideout system. Initial production is scheduled for March 2012.
“This is just the beginning,” stated Elliott Bond, LIFESTYLE national sales manager. “We’re very happy with the progress we’ve made to date. We’ve not deviated from our core principle to offer the premiere luxury fifth wheel in the market with high-quality, year-round construction. Several innovative enhancements to the product have been made that we feel will bring immediate value to our dealers and retail customers.”
Syracuse, Ind.-based Redwood RV launched its Flat Freight program for dealers during last week’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., according to a press release.
“It’s a bold move,” said Tom Montague, general manager for Redwood RV. “We see Flat Freight as an investment in our dealers. We believe our dealers are the best in the business at what they do – selling high-end fifth-wheels. As a responsible manufacturer we wanted to do something to help make their job easier. We also felt it was important to reward our current Redwood dealers for a successful first year in business.”
The program provides U.S. and Canadian dealers handling the company’s Blackwood fifth-wheel – also introduced in Louisville – a $400 flat freight fee. Redwood said that it is also offering several other dealer programs, including level pricing, large territories, zoned freight, “No Internet Dealers” and MSRP only advertising policy.
“We’ve taken every possible step to help promote local shopping,” said Montague. “When dealers form lasting relationships with customers, everybody wins. Flat Freight is yet another tool to help our dealers set themselves apart from the competition.”
Forest River Inc. has hired industry veteran Larry Meredith to oversee sales in the West Coast region for its Cardinal and Blue Ridge fifth-wheel division.
The Elkhart, Ind.-based company said in a press release that Meredith would be charged with “rebuilding and developing” the fifth-wheel lines.
Meredith joins Forest River with 35-plus years of RV sales and management experience. “We are excited to use his experience to develop Cardinal and Blue Ridge fifth-wheels on the West Coast and bring it back to the prominence it once had,” the release stated.
For additional information contact National Sales Manager Jay Cavitt at 574-389-3227 or Larry Meredith, West Coast sales, at 909-335-8337.
Starcraft RV will debut its all-new Travel Star fifth-wheel at the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., offering a lightweight design capable of being hauled by half-ton tow vehicles.
According to a press release, the fully-loaded Travel Star fifth-wheel completes Starcraft’s towable lineup with two 27-foot floorplans and two more to follow.
Models feature a 30-inch by 72-inch entry door, four inches taller than normal, along with a STARMAXX drop frame front basement storage area with light and tool hooks and 75 cubic feet of storage – 25% more than other basement storage areas. Also included is the Arctic Package which offers an insulated, enclosed and heated underbelly. Dark tinted windows, 10-gallon DSI water heater, radial tires and an amber light at the entry step are other notable exterior features.
Inside, the standards include in-floor ducted heat with thermostat controlled heating, decorative lighting package, radius corner shower, multi-media sound system with AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 input jack and a 60-inch by 80-inch queen-size Evergreen mattress, which is 30% lighter than a comparable innerspring mattress.
Kitchens in the Travel Star fifth-wheel are designed with a three-burner range, 21-inch oven, deep oversized kitchen sink, residential faucet with pull-out sprayer and sink covers, deep storage drawers and under-booth dinette seats. The dinette area is set off by a large picture window.
Other upgrades include slam latch pass-through storage doors, deluxe graphics package, solid-surface countertops with under mounted sink and reflective foil insulation in the roof, floor and front wall. Starcraft is also offering its Galaxy Package for Travel Star fifth-wheels featuring 17 convenient upgrades, including a colored front fiberglass cap, electric awning, rear power stabilizer jacks and a 32-inch LCD TV with DVD player. A key fob remote is also part of the package, which controls the patio awning, porch light, security light, front and rear jacks and slideout room.
Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. has released a pair of mid-profile fifth-wheel units by its new Winnebago Towables division.
While the company has debuted other fifth-wheel units following its purchase of SunnyBrook RV Inc. late last December, the Lite Five is the first fifth-wheel to carry the Winnebago brand.
“It’s an entry-level mid-profile fifth-wheel catered toward the half-ton customer, yet offers a lot of higher-end features,” said Fred Hershberger, national sales manager for Winnebago Towables. “It features a gel-coat fiberglass exterior to create that ‘glass-like’ finish, a chamfered front end for better turning radius, heated and enclosed underbelly, laminated walls and floors and aluminum roof trusses to remove weight out of the coach — we’re really focused on reducing weight with all Winnebago Towables products.”
Built at its Winnebago of Indiana facility in Middlebury, Ind., the Lite Five is initially available in two 32-foot floorplans, depending upon sleeping requirements and the furniture/galley arrangement. The 28FWBHS features curbside rear bunks and galley opposite a dinette and sofa in a streetside slideout, while the slightly longer 30FWRES incorporates slideouts on both sides of the main floor; the curbside extension houses the dinette and a pair of swivel rockers with a residential-style sectional sofa opposite, just aft of the galley. Both floorplans incorporate an island bed with memory-foam mattress up front, with the bathroom located between the bedroom and living quarters.
Both Lite Five units also feature hide-away computer stations, double-door refrigerator, high-capacity furnace, a large oven and patio awning. MSRPs start at about $30,000.
Befitting its reputation as the “next generation” fifth-wheel, Keystone RV Co.’s Alpine has introduced a number of new product enhancements heading into the 2012 show season.
According to a press release, changes include decors featuring “Ralph Lauren” fabrics, full paint exterior options, larger showers and a new front lounge floorplan with stadium seating.
“When we first introduced the Alpine 18 months ago, we made it our goal to continually stay ahead of the curve,” states Scott Parkhurst, Alpine/Avalanche product manager. “The features we now offer clearly set Alpine apart from any other RV on the market.”
One example, Parkhurst notes, is the use of “Ralph Lauren” fabrics. “I believe our interior designers have done an outstanding job of conveying Ralph Lauren’s unique sense of style,” said Parkhurst. “When you walk into an Alpine with ‘Ralph Lauren’ fabrics, you will instantly know you are looking at something special.”
Another new addition to the Alpine line is the choice of full paint exterior options. According to Parkhurst, Alpine owners can personalize their unit by selecting from three beautiful exterior color schemes.
The Alpine also features a new front lounge floorplan. The 3495FL floorplan provides generous living room seating with stadium seats on one wall opposite a full‐sized sofa sleeper, as well as a 40-inch LCD and fireplace at the head of the room. “We’ve also designed this floorplan to include a large gourmet kitchen, with stainless steel appliances and four-door refrigerator,” Parkhurst said.
Keystone’s Alpine/Avalanche recently reached a milestone when the division posted its 1,600th retail sale. The Alpine and Avalanche have become a Top 10 fifth-wheel brand in less than two years, and year‐to‐ date growth is pegged at 150%, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.