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Fleetwood ‘Reinvents’ Excursion with 33-Footer

November 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Fleetwood's new Excursion

Fleetwood RV Inc. has “reinvented its Excursion Class A diesel brand,” rolling out an all-new 33-foot floorplan – the shortest of the builder’s diesel pushers – during this week’s 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville Ky.

“The 2013 Excursion gives buyers a choice in an emerging Class A diesel market, without compromising on luxury or function,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV, in a press release.

Great for entertaining, Excursion features a spacious galley design with polished volcanic series solid-surface countertops, glass-tile backsplash and enough space for an impressive buffet spread. With contemporary interior décor throughout, this RV features a residential-style sectional transformer sofa and dinette within a large 30-inch deep flush-floor slide. The company’s Hide-A-Loft option is also available for RVers wanting more sleeping capacity without sacrificing additional floor plan space.

The main cabin features a drop-down Sony 40-inch LCD Blu-ray ready TV that can be hidden away or prominently displayed. With a touch of a button, the TV lowers out of an overhead cabinet for a perfect viewing angle. The Excursion bedroom features a full-length mirrored wardrobe, an available washer/dryer, a walk-around island queen bed and an optional 32-inch Sony LCD TV.

Excursion debuts with two contemporary interior decors, Manhattan Ebony and Tuscany Toffee, which both feature a trendy reversible bedspread. Solid-wood cabinetry is available in a rich Classic Cognac and or Pearl White. Exterior graphics include: Copper Java, Cocoa Pearl, Gold Starfire and Platinum Frost.

 

 

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Fleetwood Bounder Classic Offers Diesel Option

November 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. unveiled a front-diesel chassis option for its 2012 Bounder Classic Class A motorhome during this week’s 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

According to a press release, the platform represents a collaboration between Fleetwood RV and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC). Fleetwood said the new, front-engine diesel adds increased power and contributes to better fuel efficiency, featuring a Cummins ISB 6.7L engine, full air suspension and air brakes.

“One of the most exciting features of the new Bounder Classic diesel is that it has air brakes and air-ride,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV. “It offers a premium ride and drive, which is something our customers have been asking for.”

The diesel chassis on the Bounder Classic also eliminates the “dog-house” – a hump between the driver and passenger seats. The flat floor in the cockpit allows both the driver and the passenger to have improved access to the cockpit area. It also creates additional legroom when the chairs are swiveled to be part of the living area.

Consumer research in this product category has shown potential buyers have concerns about increased noise and heat in front-engine diesel applications, which Fleetwood said has been addressed in the new Bounder Classic. The coach features a newly engineered cockpit sub-floor and engine compartment with premium thermo-acoustic liners and insulation. The result is a driver’s cabin that is quieter and has less noise intrusion than comparable gas powered coaches at cruising-speeds.

“Once again, Fleetwood RV and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. have teamed up to provide our family of customers a product platform and features they’ve been asking for at a price they can afford,” said Draheim.

For more information on all Fleetwood RV products, call 1-800-322-8216 or visit www.fleetwoodrv.com.

 

 

 

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Fleetwood RV Debuts 2 New Loyalty Programs

November 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV Inc., a leading producer of Class A and Class C motorhomes, announced two new programs to reward customer loyalty.

“Our customers foster a sense of community and family,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV, in a press release. “We value their loyalty, and for this reason, we have introduced two new programs – the Owner Loyalty Program and the Owner Referral Program.”

Current Fleetwood RV and American Coach motorhome owners can receive up to a $10,000 instant discount savings at the point of purchase of a new Fleetwood RV or American Coach motorhome through the Owner Loyalty Program.

With the Owner Referral Program, current owners can earn a $500 referral bonus for each referral that subsequently purchases a new Fleetwood RV or American Coach motorhome. Additionally, the referral also qualifies for an instant discount savings of up to $10,000 at the point of purchase of a new Fleetwood RV or American Coach motor home.

Both programs run through March 31, 2012, and the savings discounts apply to the purchase of an eligible new 2012 or older model year Fleetwood RV or American Coach motor home currently in-stock.

Program details are available at http://WelcomeToFleetwoodRV.com.

 

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American Coach Rolls Out ’12 Luxury Lines

October 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

American Coach Revolution

American Coach, the luxury coach division of Fleetwood RV Inc., has introduced its 2012 American Heritage, American Eagle, American Tradition and American Revolution lines.

“We made significant improvements to the entire American Coach lineup for 2012 with some exciting new features, unique interior decors and stunning new exterior graphics” said John Draheim, President and CEO of Fleetwood RV.

Highlights include:

• The 2012 American Tradition is offered in two 42-foot full-wall-slide models and a 45-foot, quad-slide model, all equipped with a sleek, state-of-the–art cockpit with dual dash monitor design, six-way adjustable captain’s seats and low-profile dash. Interiors feature updated furniture styling available in new interior decors while exteriors offer two new colors. Other amenities include frameless flush-mount windows, LED ceiling lights with dimming capabilities, Villa furniture, quiet air conditioning system, polished porcelain tiled floors throughout and a Sony Blu-ray Home Theater.

• The new American Eagle features three full-wall slideout models with 30-inch deep sliderooms to create an expanded living area. Interiors feature luxurious accents with exquisite woodwork, three interior décor options, elegantly designed furnishings along with top-of-the-line Sony televisions, Blu-ray DVD and a Bose Home Theater System. Exteriors are available in two new exterior graphic packages. Updates to the Eagle also include Xite-G2 dash radio with navigation, side mounted Girard patio awning with wind retraction and frameless flush-mount windows.

American Tradition interior

• The 2012 American Heritage provides one of the industry’s largest floorplans, equipped with a 45-foot full-wall-slideout and 30-inch deep slide boxes. The new 45T floor plan boasts 450 square feet of interior living space that includes a luxury spa retreat shower and dual sinks. Also new for Heritage are three interior decors as well as three new exterior colors. Other features include Xite-G2 dash radio with truck and bus navigation routing, upgraded window valances, 46-inch mid-coach TV, LED ceiling lights with dimming capabilities and redesigned backsplashes.

• The 2012 American Revolution features the new Luxurious Graphite interior décor as well as the new Tempest exterior graphic package in new colors. Available in three 42-foot floorplans, the 42T offers a full-wall slide with rear walk-in closet; the 42W has a full-wall slide with spacious rear bath; and the 42Q is a quad-slide, side-aisle model with gourmet galley. New features for 2012 include frameless flush-mount windows, slide-out mounted Girard patio awning with wind retraction and Sony dash radio with navigation.

 

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Oklahoma Facility Prepares to Host RV Rallies

April 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Heart of Oklahoma facility, site of several RV rallies this year.

Heart of Oklahoma facility in Shawnee, Okla., site of several RV rallies this year.

Recreation vehicles currently fill the parking lot of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center in Shawnee, Okla.

Expo operations manager Michael Jackson expects more than $19,000 in lot rental fees from hosting the Good Sam Club RV rally this week. The center also will host a Fleetwood RV owners rally this summer.

Meanwhile, board members for the Expo Center are discussing repairs and upgrades to the parking lot, the Shawnee News Star reported.

“It would be nice for the parking lot to be fixed and the amenities upgraded,” Charlie Belew, RV owner from Wichita, Kan. said. “We come to several rallies here every year.”

Community Development and Planning Director Justin Erickson and City Engineer John Krywicki presented three landscaping options for board members to discuss.

Krywicki said the parking lot at the Expo Center would cost $1 million to resurface.

  • The first option, including extensive landscaping to the entire parking lot and a grand entrance to the show barn complete with a decorative statue, would increase the cost to $1.4 million. “Just to replace the existing lot with no frills will cost $968,000,” Krywicki said. “I would not recommend just overlaying the properties.”
  • The second option would landscape the parking lot south of the convention center and would increase the cost to $1.18 million.
  • The third option would landscape the lot east of the convention center.

“After meeting with city commissioners we felt that the first option would hinder the functionality of the area,” Erickson said.Shawnee logo

Kyrwicki said the landscaped areas would create natural buffer zones throughout the parking lot and would reduce the overall cost by reducing the amount of asphalt needed for the project.

The Expo Center parking lot was listed as the first priority in the capital improvement projects developed by city staff and commissioners.

“It’s amazing to be here and to see how many RVs are here,” City manager and board member, Brian McDougal said. “This is what I call economic development. We are currently working on a study to see how these conventions directly help our community.”

McDougal said the Good Sams rally attracted 300 RVs, with the larger rallies attracting more than 900 RVs.

“These are people eating in our restaurants and shopping at our stores,” McDougal said. “We have to be thinking about this facility over the next 20 to 30 years. Some of these plans would only add 20% to the maintenance cost to beautify the property. This can be done in phases and will bring people into the city.”

Jackson said the Expo received $45,000 from lot rental fees during the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally, that is scheduled to return to Shawnee in 2012.

“This facility adds to our overall economic development,” McDougal said. “We want a facility that everyone will want to come back to. We have that now, anything we do will only improve the facility.”

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Fleetwood Firming Up June Rally in Oklahoma

April 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Fleetwood 2011 rally logoFleetwood RV Inc., a leading producer of Class A and Class C recreational vehicles, today (April 13) released the activity schedule for its upcoming “Circle Your Wagons in Shawnee” national rally at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center in Shawnee, Okla., from June 25-29.

All Fleetwood motorhome owners, regardless of brand, are welcome to attend the event, which will include the latest line-up of motorhomes, access to factory service support, informative seminars by key industry suppliers, kids activities and a variety of family-friendly entertainment, according to a news release.

In addition, Fleetwood motorhome owners are welcome to invite friends with non-Fleetwood motorhomes to attend the event.

Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center, site of Fleetwood owners rally.

Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center, site of Fleetwood owners rally.

Activity highlights include:

  • Monday, June 27 – Ice cream social and movie night.
  • Sunday, June 26 – Family-friendly casino night.
  • Saturday, June 25 – Golf tournament.
  • Two nights of live music.

For more information, including the complete activities schedule and how to register, please visit: www.fleetwoodrv.com/mhevent.

The “Circle Your Wagons in Shawnee” national rally is supported by the Fleetwood MotorHome Association. For more information about this owner-operated organization visit: www.fma4fun.com.

McClain’s RV SuperStores is the authorized Fleetwood RV dealer for this event. For more information about McClain’s RV, visit: www.mcclainsrv.com.

For more information about Fleetwood RV and its full line of motorhomes, call (800) 322-8216, visit: www.fleetwoodrv.com or find us on Facebook.

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Fleetwood RV Inc. Holding a Job Fair on Friday

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Fleetwood RV Inc., Decatur, Ind., will host a job fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday (March 11) at the WorkOne Center in Decatur in Adams County, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported.

A spokeswoman for the recreational vehicle manufacturer said it is looking for an undetermined number of mostly production workers for the company, which hired 300 in the past year.

In 2009, American Industrial Partners Capital Fund IV LP of New York acquired the Decatur operation from its bankrupt predecessor, Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., for $53 million.

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American Coach Cites 2010 Market Growth

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

American Coach, the luxury Class A diesel motorhome division of Fleetwood RV Inc., in calendar year 2010 saw a 17% increase in registrations in a diesel market that was down 9%. The growth in sales in a down market allowed the division to increase its market share 30% with a reduced product offering and smaller dealer network, according to a news release.

The division’s growth in market share was led by American Revolution, which was recently added to the American Coach offering, increasing its volume in 2010 by 48% year-over-year. In addition, American Heritage, the flagship brand of American Coach, increased its volume over 70% during the same timeframe. The success of American Heritage is a direct result of its full-wall-slide floorplan that creates an industry-leading 460 square feet of living space.

“The increase in Revolution sales came as a result of adding it to the American Coach family,” said Justin Humphreys, vice president of American Coach. “Our dealers and customers have embraced this change and we are excited about what the future will bring for this storied brand.

“For 20 years, American Coach has been passionate about providing personalized service to all of our dealers and customers, and to building motor homes that exceed their expectations,” added Humphreys. “Our market share growth in 2010 is a testament to our customers and dealers having confidence in what we are doing. We would like to thank them for their support, as well as congratulate our dealer network on a successful 2010.”

For more information about American Coach, call (800) 854-1344, visit www.americancoach.com or become a fan on Facebook.

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Justin Humphreys New VP at American Coach

February 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Justin Humphreys

Justin Humphreys

American Coach, a division of Fleetwood RV Inc., today (Feb. 14) announced the promotion of Justin Humphreys to vice president. Humphreys will continue to report directly to CEO John Draheim, according to a news release.

Humphreys began his career in the RV industry in 1998. Humphreys was national sales manager for American Coach prior to his promotion, where he helped increase the division’s market share 20%. Humphreys is also committed to the company’s “lean” culture, earning his Bronze certification earlier this year.

“The decision to name Justin vice president of American Coach has been long overdue,” said Draheim. “He has led this division, not just in its sales goals, but in every aspect of its growth, for several years. He is well-respected by our dealers and customers, and has a clear plan for the continued success of the division. These are just a few of the many reasons why I am confident that we will continue to see great things from Justin and his team for many years to come.”

“Our vision for American Coach is to continue to lead the industry in developing innovative luxury coaches backed with personalized customer service and to take both to the next level,” said Humphreys. “The American Coach division was founded 20 years ago with the customer in mind, and we want to continue to be good stewards of that customer-centric philosophy. This includes continuing our support of our clubs and supporting our owners at rallies with the best service in the motor home industry.

“We also know that in order to access our retail customers we need to take care of our dealer partners,” continued Humphreys. “This is why our mission statement is ‘the passionate pursuit of superior dealer performance.’ Our passion is to help our dealers achieve success through unparalleled sales and service support that ultimately keeps the customer our number one priority.”

For more information about American Coach and its line of motorhomes, call (800) 322-8216 or visit www.americancoach.com.

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Pride Shows in Fleetwood RV Factory Tours

February 3, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Putting on the finishing touches of a Class A motorhome at the Fleetwood RV Inc. plant in Decatur, Ind.

Putting on the finishing touches of a Class A motorhome at the Fleetwood RV Inc. plant in Decatur, Ind.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by Frank Smith and appears in the January issue of  Better RVing. It was distributed by lazydays.com.

Factory tours are a daily ritual at the Fleetwood’s RV/American Coach plant in Decatur, Ind. They begin in a modest waiting room when the baritone rasp of an unseen voice shakes the walls with a mighty, “Good morning, campers!” The voice’s owner pokes his head through a doorway that can hardly fit his enthusiasm. This is Tom Liechty, tour guide, sales representative and treasured attraction at Fleetwood RV and American Coach.

Liechty introduces himself and sets the tone for the day with a story of how he came to find his calling at Fleetwood more than two decades ago. To retell his tale here would be to rob those who will someday make the trip to Decatur of a splendid oratory experience, so instead I’ll hold onto the memory and let one of the great storytellers of the RV industry tell it to you when you visit. It’s worth it.

Act II of the tour — Liechty’s introductory court being Act I — finds us on the production line. The size and scope of the facility takes over. But like an RVer who knows the path through unchartered territory, Liechty leads the way with a smile that makes you feel like you’ve known him for years. He doesn’t know all of the 700 workers in Decatur, but he knows most of them to the point of being able to carry on running jokes that shift with and conform to each new station we visit.

“Lot of these folks have been here a long time,” says Liechty, to which I ask, “How long is a long time?” He’s quick to answer with “some have been here five years,” while catching friendly glances and nods from his family of workers as we move down the production line. “A lot have been here 15, 20 years, even 30.” A look overcomes Liechty as he trails off: part grateful, part nostalgic, all pride. I would later learn that more than 600 of Fleetwood’s workers have been with the company for more than 20 years.

Industrialization and heavy-duty manufacturing take on a new persona when you can see the eyes of the men and women who commit themselves to creating the vessels their customers will choose to achieve their RVing dream. There’s a sense of purpose on display as though each worker is marching to the same rhythm. There isn’t the slightest hint of apprehension as the workers move with the kind of efficient grace Henry Ford dreamed about. Even to my novice eye, it all makes sense. Yet it wasn’t until I learned that the former parent company, Fleetwood Enterprises, was forced to lay off more than 40 percent of the Decatur facility’s labor force at the height of the recession that I understood the meaning of the look in Liechty’s eye.

During the economic downturn, which saw public demand for RVs sink to all-time lows, Fleetwood Enterprises filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2009. In July of that same year, American Industrial Partners (AIP), a private equity firm in New York, purchased the motorhome assets, including the Decatur manufacturing and service facilities, and formed Fleetwood RV Inc. Led by CEO, John Draheim, Fleetwood RV adopted a lean culture, which resulted in a process of continuous improvement aimed to eliminate waste and increase efficient productivity while resulting in a product of superior quality and desirability. The workers on the production line embraced the new practice, implementing almost 1,000 minor changes since May. But they also understood it would take more than efficiency to survive the largest economic recession since the Great Depression.

We realized that we’re not invincible,” says salesperson for American Coach Janeen Gerke. “We realized that everybody has to work harder so that we are that number one manufacturer that customers want to come back to.” Loyalty to their customers is a tenet upon which Fleetwood has stood since its brand was founded in 1950. Almost 60 years later, the fundamental desire to exceed customers’ expectations served as a rallying cry among workers during the company’s most desperate hour. Yet as times worsened and the light at the end of the recession’s tunnel dimmed, Fleetwood looked deeper within itself and found the inspiration that would carry it through the worst of times.

“We stayed together through everything that’s gone on over the last two years just by leaning on each other,” explains National Sales Manager Lenny Razo. “We treat this company as a family. Sometimes you may not get along. Sometimes you have to work hand in hand.” The family at Fleetwood worked hand in hand. They survived tough times and not only saved the company, but revived a small American town.

“Fleetwood and Decatur, Ind., have been connected for quite some time,” explains Razo, “and I think what really makes this town special is the workforce. These people wake up early every morning and have dedicated their lives to this company. Decatur has been energized by what Fleetwood does. Our people are passionate and that’s what has drawn the company to lay its roots and foundation here in Decatur.”

Back on the production line, I notice the look in Liechty’s eye as he waves to a small crew putting the finishing touches on a 2011 American Revolution. This time I understand what he’s feeling. The worst was over and better roads lay ahead for Fleetwood RV. His company, his family and his home have come a long way.

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