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FRVTA Sets Space Drawing for SuperShow

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will hold the space drawing Aug. 2-4 for the mid-January 2012 Florida RV SuperShow, according to a news release.

FRVTA said that each manufacturer that has returned their contract with a deposit will be called during the drawing to pick a space in the show. The “Grandfathered Drawing Order” will determine the order in which space is selected.

The theme of the 2012 Florida RV SuperShow is “Take Another Look!” The FRVTA said it emphasizes that “people who haven’t been in an RV lately will be shocked to see all the new technology and comforts of today’s RVs.”

Industry Day for the show will be held Jan. 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Attendees will be treated to coffee and donuts in the morning and a free lunch. Public Days will run Jan. Jan. 11-15. The RV SuperShow hours are Wednesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m.-5p.m. Wednesday is Senior Citizens Day with seniors receiving $1 off the cost of admission (not valid with other discounts).

For more information on the 2012 Florida RV SuperShow or to register for Industry Day, contact the Florida RV Trade Association at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, FL, 33578 or visit our website at www.frvta.org.

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New Fleetwood Models Do Well in Tampa

January 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Fleetwood RV Inc. said its latest models and products, including its 2011 Class A diesel models and the brand new 2011 Tioga DSL Class C diesel models, were well-received by consumers attending the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, Fla. The show, which ran from  Jan. 12-16, had over 50,000 people cross the gates.

“A key component of our product development process is dealer and customer feedback, which helps us ensure that the products that we bring to market include the features they want,” Lenny Razo, national sales manager for Fleetwood RV’s Class A diesel product line, stated in a news release. “We are very pleased with the consumer reaction to our 2011 diesel models in Tampa and the tone it sets for the rest of the retail show season.”

Some of Fleetwood’s brand new 2011 models included the Class A diesel 36-foot Discovery and the Tioga DSL Class C diesel motorhome.

“Response to the Tioga DSL as well as the value-priced Tioga Ranger DSL, at the Tampa SuperShow was overwhelmingly positive,” said Mark Inkrote, national sales manager for Fleetwood RV’s Class C diesel product line. “These products went from concept to retail delivery in just four months. They really are a great example of how our organization can meet consumer demand quickly and accurately.”

For more information about Fleetwood RV and its full-line of Class A and Class C recreational vehicles, call (800) 322-8216 or visit www.fleetwoodrv.com.

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MCD Innovations Lauds Tampa Show Gains

January 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

MCD Innovations' booth at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa.

MCD Innovations' booth at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa.

MCD Innovations posted record sales at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, Fla., last week, an indication of the public’s willingness to spend money on RV products again and increased consumer confidence in a renewed economy, according to a news release.

“The individuals I talked to were very interested in upgrading their current RVs with the American Duo Shade System,” said Peggy Grich, a company spokeswoman. “In addition, a number of people told me that they were purchasing new motorhomes and were planning to insist that MCD shades be included in their interior package.”

Grich also noted that many of the new RVs on display at the show already featured MCD shades that were installed during build at the factory, including Winnebago, Foretravel, Kibbi-Renegade, Newmar, Tiffin, Carriage, NuWay, Born Free, Newell, Excel, New Horizons, Fleetwood and Monaco.

“The fact that so many new RVs come equipped with MCD shades from the factories certainly generated increased interest among participants. Many of those I visited with came to the MCD booth because they saw them in the new coaches, Class B’s and C’s and fifth-wheels,” said Grich. “We’re happy to see the RV industry turn around and are looking forward to a more healthy economy that allows the public to feel good about improving their lifestyles.”

MCD Innovations has been engineering and producing an array of sun protection products since 2003 in a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in McKinney, Texas. The company supplies a wide range of innovative products including solar screens, wheel covers, vent/fan covers, skylight covers and mirror bras and covers to numerous RV OEMs, an ever-growing number of dealers and RV owners throughout the U.S. and Canada. MCD has also expanded into the commercial and residential markets with shade systems as well as merchandising shade products.

For information, visit www.mcdinnovations.com or call (800) 804-1757.

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Tampa Show: Good Sign for the Rest of 2011

January 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

superShowLogo-transThe Florida RV SuperShow set a new attendance mark with 53,117 people passing the gates of the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa when the show concluded Sunday (Jan. 16) — an increase of 4.7% over 2010.

”There was good attendance and good sales,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the sponsoring Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA). ”We’ve had good attendance all along (at other SuperShows) but sales at some of the others have lagged a little bit.

”Everybody that I talked to was well into double-digits on sales and some dealers were into triple digits as far as sales are concerned.”

The show missed by fewer than 18 hours severe weather that swept across the Sunshine State spawning rain, high winds and tornado warnings, which hampered workers Monday (Jan. 17) as they were disassembling show displays.

”Thank heavens, it didn’t happen yesterday,” said Andy Baer, general manager of KZRV LP, Shipshewana, Ind.,  who reported strong sales during the five-day show.KZ logo

Billed as among the largest RV shows in the U.S. with more than 450 vendors and 1,065 display coaches registered this year, the Florida RV SuperShow often sets the stage for the late-winter retail season.

”I’ve been coming to the SuperShow since 1994, and I’d have to say this was one of the best I’ve been too,” Baer said. ”And I’m not talking just about sales. It’s so nice to talk to people who are so very positive. It’s like someone flipped a switch. Everybody was very upbeat.”

Keystone Rv Co. logo”There was a lot of buying going on,” said Andy Cripe, a division manager for Keystone RV Co., Elkhart, Ind. ”I’m not going to say it was record-breaking, but it was sustainable. We saw real prudent buyers and even with the more stringent financing terms, a lot of people put cash down and bought.”

”Hopefully, this is a sign of what is going to happen in 2011,” said Matt Thompson,  Elkhart-based Thor Motor Coach  diesel division vice president, who reported that the company’s new A.C.E Class A motorhome sold particularly well. ”If it is (a sign), it should be a very good year for the RV industry. Thor Motor Coach did very well at the show as a company.”ThorMotorCoach_and_ACE

Ed Kinney

Ed Kinney

Ed Kinney, Carriage Inc., Millersburg, Ind., vice president of sales and marketing, termed attendance and sales ”incredible.”

”The high-line fifth-wheel market was really hot,” Kinney said. ”The SuperShow always sets the tone for the year. For Carriage, it’s going to be an unbelievably great year.”

Based on Tampa and initial returns from other early winter shows, meanwhile, 2011 is looking pretty good for Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc.

Jeff Babcock

Jeff Babcock

“Taking into account the first two weeks of shows, Pittsburg was a good show and the Cleveland Show was the best we’ve had in years,” National Sales Manager Jeff Babcock told RVBUSINESS.com. “And the Tampa Show, finishing up this past weekend, ended up better than years past. So, it’s a great start, and we’re looking for a good year.

“We think it’s going to break loose here this year.”

Fleetwood RV logoSimilarly, Fleetwood RV Inc., Decatur, Ind., reported ”excellent” show traffic.
”Overall, the Tampa Super Show was a great way to kick off the retail show season,” Fleetwood said in a statement.
Jeff Fought, vice president of Cruiser RV LLC, Howe, Ind., reported the company doubled its sales from years past at the SuperShow.
”I’ve always considered the Tampa Show to be a good early indicator of what the retail show season will bring us,” Fought said in a news release. ”If that holds true, I’m excited for our entire dealer base.”

Roger Martin, Winnebago Industries Inc. vice president of sales and marketing, said the Forest City, Iowa-based motorized manufacturer, was ”thrilled with traffic and sales activity” at the show.

”Dealers representing us there reported sales activity nearly three times better than last year, Martin said.

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Cold Weather? Southern Shows Undeterred

January 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

trvalogo2 The cold weather did not deter visitors to the opening day of the 30th Annual All Valley RV Show on Thursday (Jan. 14) in  Mercedes, Texas.

The show at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show grounds in Mercedes runs through Saturday and showcases some impressive homes on wheels, The Monitor, Mercedes, reported.

RV Show Chairman Warren Kinimonth said the event draws about 10,000 people — 95% Winter Texans — over the three-day schedule.

Evidence of that is a parking lot full of vehicles with license plates from places such as Iowa and Minnesota, including a notable number from Canada.

This year, the show has 90 RVs on display, as well as 85 booths of related items, ranging from campgrounds and mobile home parks to parts stores and even Tupperware.

Kininmonth said prices of these RVs and trailers range from $40,000 to as much as $300,000.

“The fancier they make them, the better they sell,” Kininmonth said. “Many of (the motorhomes) have the latest electronics, even surround sound, something uncommon to what people think are like.”

This is the first year the RV show has motorhomes on display and is the second largest show of its kind in Texas.

The All Valley RV Show is sponsored by the Rio Grande chapter of the Texas Recreational Vehicle Association.

***

superShowLogo-transManagement at Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. is upbeat following early season retail shows in Cleveland and the shows now underway in Tampa, Fla., and Pittsburgh, Pa.

“The results we’re getting from the early shows is the traffic has been very, very good and the sales have been very good,” Steve Paul, Dutchmen vice president and general manager, told RVBUSINESS.com. “We’re very upbeat about what we’re seeing.”

“The weather was cold the first two days at the Tampa show,” he said. “Wednesday traffic was very, very good and actual sales were pretty brisk. Dealers were excited by the response from customers to their products.”

He said sales have been “all over the board,” from ultralights to larger park models.

“Everbody is looking to warmer weather on Saturday and Sunday. That will bring the people out,” he said.

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Record Attendance at Florida RV SuperShow

January 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

superShowLogo-transDespite cold temperatures, a record number of people — 12,912 to be exact — walked through the gates Wednesday (Jan. 12) for the opening day of the 26th Annual 2011 Florida RV Supershow at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa Fla.

And early sales matched the crowd, according to several manufacturers who spoke to RVBUSINESS.com this morning.

”We’re doing fantastic,” said Ed Kinney, vice president of  sales and marketing for Carriage Inc., Millersburg, Ind., ”We had record sales. If I told you the numbers, you’d call me a liar.”

”It was a slow start today (Thursday) because it was cold,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the sponsoring Florida RV Trade Association. ”It was in the 30s this morning, but things picked up. People are here now and the sun is out. The only thing that keeps people away is rain, and we don’t have any of that.”

Wilson reported that the final count had 1,065 coaches on display at the show.

In addition to Carriage, other manufacturers also reported brisk sales early on in the show, which runs through Sunday.

”It’s a buying crowd,” said C. David Hoefer, chairman of Earthbound RV LLC, Marion, Ind. ”We had our first sale an hour after the show started on Wednesday.”

”The traffic is not only good in terms of quantity, but it’s quality traffic,” said John Sammut, Newmar Inc. vice president of sales and marketing. ”We had a good day yesterday selling several motorized units — both gas and diesel.”

Opening day, during which senior citizens received a discount, was capped by a FRVTA-sponsored dinner on the fairgrounds attended by about 800 people representing manufactuers and suppliers, who dined on roast beef, shrimp and key lime pie.

Show organizers expect more than 50,000 people to attend the show through Sunday. Last year’s attendance was 50,753.

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50,000 Expected at Florida RV SuperShow

January 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

FRVTA logo, techMore than 800 dealership personnel are expected to attend Industry Day Tuesday (Jan. 11) as the 26th Annual 2011 Florida RV SuperShow gets underway at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

”We usually get between 800 and 900 people,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the sponsoring Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA). ”Dealers are registered from throughout the country. A lot of them are down here for the season because there’s not a lot going on up north, and we get a lot of Florida guys who might not have gotten to the Louisville Show.”

Industry personnel are admitted free to the show grounds on Tuesday.

With weather reports of sunny skies through the week, FRVTA expects more than 50,000 people to attend the show which runs Wednesday through Sunday. Last year’s attendance was 50,753.

Wilson said that the number of display units will increase 10% to 12% over last year. The show will feature more than 85 brands and 450 vendor booths.

”I think we will be just short of 1,200 units on display coaches,”Wilson said. ”I don’t know the exact number because we are still shoehorning people in.”

An 850-coach rally also is being staged at the fairgrounds.

Wilson said it is difficult to predict this early in the year how the RV market will perform in 2011. ”There’s a lot of optimism,” he said. ”The good news for us is that retail lending is loosening up a little bit. We are hearing positive feedback from the dealer lots.”

Industry Day hours are Tuesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when free donuts, coffee and lunch will be served. Hours on Public Days are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Wednesday is Senior Citizens Day with seniors receiving $1 off the $10 cost of a two-day adult admission. Children under 16 are free.

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RV Industry Invited to ’11 Florida SuperShow

December 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

superShowLogo-transWatch today’s Featured Video #2 to learn more about the Florida RV SuperShow.

The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will host the 26th Annual 2011 Florida RV SuperShow Jan. 12-16 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

RV Industry Day will take place on Tuesday,Jan. 11, and all industry personal are welcome to attend for free, the FRVTA stated in a news release.

“This is a great opportunity for all RV Industry personnel here in Florida or anyone in the industry spending the winter in the state,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “If you didn’t have the chance to take your staff to the Louisville Show, this is an inexpensive way to expose your entire crew to all the new products and RVs available for 2011.”

Industry Day will include free coffee and donuts in the morning and a free lunch for all attendees. Registration forms can be found on the FRVTA website.

For more information on the 2011 Florida RV SuperShow contact the Florida RV Trade Association at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, Florida 33578, (813) 741-0488, or visit our website at www.frvta.org.

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Fleetwood/Lazydays Honored at Florida SuperShow

January 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Fleetwood/Lazydays display at the Florida RV SuperShow.

The Fleetwood/Lazydays display at the Florida RV SuperShow.

Fleetwood RV Inc. was awarded best motorized outdoor display during the Florida RV SuperShow, which ran Jan. 13-17 in Tampa, Fla.

Fleetwood’s display was co-managed by one of its top dealers, Lazydays, and featured a variety of 2010 products including American Eagle, Discovery, Tioga as well as the brand new Encounter, Fleetwood’s first crossover motor home, according to a news release.

“We’re honored to have been recognized as the best motorized display,” said John Draheim, president and COO of Fleetwood RV Inc. “We had a great location, traffic was better than expected and our products were well received. All of this combined with the great sales leadership of our dealer partner, Lazydays, helped make the SuperShow an excellent way to kick off the retail show season.”

“The success of Fleetwood’s SuperShow display is a tribute to the strong relationship Fleetwood and Lazydays has maintained for over 20 years,” said Snow Chamberlain, event coordinator for Lazydays. “We worked together to not only showcase Fleetwood’s high-quality products, but to also give our customers the best experience possible. The result was a very successful show for everyone.”

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January Shows Generating Strong Sales, Traffic

January 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Florida RV SuperShow logoAttendance at the bellwether Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa that ended Sunday (Jan. 17) increased 12% over last year, despite questionable weather on the last day of the show’s five-day run.

”The show was very, very upbeat,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the sponsoring Florida Recreation Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA). ”The weather was iffy on Sunday, but the dealers we talked to all said the same thing — that they didn’t hear any negative talk at all. People weren’t complaining about the economy or gas prices. They were just happy to be there.”

Some 50,753 people passed through the gates of the Florida State Fairgrounds Wednesday (Jan. 13) through Sunday.

”We had a nice increase (in sales) from last year,” said Ken Stumpe, Florida Show sales manager for Lazydays RV SuperCenter in nearby Seffner, Fla., ”There was a lot more traffic than last year. It was a totally different atmosphere. A lot of people said they were tired of waiting.”

Camping World RV Sales, which had a dozen displays at the show, sold 179 units, 37 of them Damon and Four Winds motorized RVs, according to President Marcus Lemonis.

Increased attendance at the Florida Show generally mirrored that of other early 2010 shows in Denver, Cleveland, the Washington, D.C., area and Greensboro, N.C.

“Seeing all the aisles full and the dealers not being able to handle all the customers is great,” said Tom Gaither, senior vice president of Affinity Group Inc.’s Affinity Events division.

Gaither reported positive attendance results at three U.s. shows that his organization operates:

  • The 20th Annual Colorado RV Adventure Travel Show Jan. 13-16 in Denver increased 26% compared to 2009.
  • The 21st Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show Jan. 8-10 in Greensboro was up 1%.
  • The 24th Annual Washington Camping RV Expo in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Chantilly, Va., increased a startling 154%.

”Just the fact that attendance was up tells me that people are looking for RVs and want to go camping,” Gaither said.

Elsewhere, the 34th Annual Ohio Supershow Jan. 6-10, sponsored by the Great Lakes Recreation Vehicle Association, saw a 30% increase in attendance.

”It was one of the best shows in 34 years,” said Great Lakes President Bruce Wolfson. ”It was a great start to the year. People were very upbeat, so the dealers were upbeat because of it.”

Bob Moore, co-owner of Moores’ RV, North Ridgeville, Ohio, said this year’s Ohio Show was the best he’d had in three years.

”The public’s attitude is improving,” Moore said. ”People came in in much better spirits and were much more interested in buying. Their level of creditworthiness and their willingness to put money down was up substantially. That has made us very optimistic about how things are going to go for the summer.”

Not all reports were upbeat, however.

At the Tarrant County RV Show Jan. 7-10 in Fort Worth, Texas, attendance wasn’t quite as strong as last year, said show director Pat Hahn.

Considering below-freezing temperatures for four days before the show and competition from a Dallas Cowboy’s playoff football game, ”I was very pleased with attendance,” she said. ”It was almost as good as last year and last year’s show was terrific.”

Stacy Rist, general manager of Bennett’s Camping Center, a towable dealer in Granbury, Texas, said that while sales at the Fort Worth show weren’t strong, the dealership got a lot of leads.

”There was lots of traffic, but nobody was turning lose of any of their money,” Rist said. ”We might not be over the hump yet. I’m not completely disappointed, but the days of the impulse buyer are gone. You have to work hard for each sale.”

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‘Unbelievable Action’ at FRVTA’s Tampa RV Show

January 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Florida RV SuperShow logoAttendance at the 2010 Florida RV SuperShow continued to pleasantly surprise exhibitors Thursday with an 18% increase over last year, according to the sponsoring Florida Recreation Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA)

“And we are having a strong day today,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson, who reported that 12,375 people passed through the gates on Thursday at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. According to FRVTA, 26,059 people attended the show the first two days.

Rain predicted for late Saturday wasn’t expected to put a damper on attendance, Wilson said. “We should have a good day on Sunday, too,” he told RVBUSINESS.com.

Marcus Lemonis, president of the Camping World RV Sales dealership chain, said traffic during the early stage of the pivotal Florida show has been ”unbelievable.”

”We are surprised,” said Lemonis, who reported selling 72 RVs — including 19 Four Winds and Damon motorized units — during the show’s first two days. ”It feels like ’06 and ’07 as far as traffic. We only did 98 (units) last year through five days.”

”We’re not just talking (to customers),” said Bill Fenech, president of Four winds International Corp. and Damon Motor Coach, both of which are divisions of Thor Industries Inc. ”We’re selling motorhomes. In fact, we’re selling a ton of diesels. What’s really nice is that there’s just very upbeat attitudes at the show. Customers are listening. They’re showing up, and they’re buying. It’s not doom and gloom. It’s very encouraging. We anticipate blowing away last year’s numbers.”

Customers are both newbies and seasoned RV enthusiasts with trade-ins, says Fenech, and his staff is seeing more demand for diesels than gas at the moment — in the Damon Tuscany and Four Winds Montecito price range on the diesels, generally in the high $100,000’s to the low $200,000’s. “It’s just exciting to hear the optimism again and the fact that people are getting out there again and buying,” added Fenech.

Lemonis said that national retail lenders Bank of America and Bank of West, which have booth space — along with regional lender BB&T — seem to have eased their lending policies some.

”They seem a little hungrier to do business,” Lemonis said. ”And customers aren’t scared to put cash down.”

Terry Elias, president of Canada-based Class B and C manufacturer Leisure System Travel Vans Ltd., also reported strong sales during the opening days of the show. ”We sold six or seven the first day,” Elias said.

Lemonis said that early shows in Cleveland and Syracuse, N.Y., also were generating good sales.

”I’m not going to tell you that the world is fixed and that everything’s in a good place again,” Lemonis said. ”But the bar got set pretty low last year, so everything feels better right now.

”With everybody having fresher inventory and the customer not thinking that everything is falling apart, its seems that things are trending back toward normal.”

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Writer Finds Ways to ‘Get Hitched Affordably’

January 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Florida RV SuperShow logoEditor’s Note: Terry Tomalin, outdoor write for the St. Petersburg Times, filed this report from the Florida RV SuperShow underway this week in Tampa, Fla.

Sometimes I dream about owning a luxury recreational vehicle with a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and all the comforts of home. Then I awake, take a look at my kids (8 and 6 years old) and the inch of sand they’ve deposited inside the tent, and decide that the little creatures would surely ruin an otherwise sound investment.

RVs, I’ve always assumed, were for retirees who have put their child-rearing years behind them.

But Dave Kelly, marketing director for the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), was determined to prove me wrong.

“You are crazy,” said Kelly as he drove me through the 25th annual Florida RV SuperShow at the Florida State Fairgrounds. “There are plenty of affordable RVs out there that are the ideal fit for families.”

Judging from the kids in the crowd Wednesday, the opening day of this year’s show, Kelly might have a point.

“But my kids are animals,” I said affectionately. “They would tear one of these things apart.”

Kelly smiled and patted me on the shoulder. “Let’s have a look around,” he said.

Simple is better

When many people think of an RV they picture the behemoths parked outside a football stadium. Many of those luxury liners cost more than my house. If I owned a nice RV, I would undoubtedly be a nervous wreck, and for sure I would drive my kids crazy each time they let a lizard loose or got mud on the upholstery.

The Quick Silver 6.0

The Quick Silver 6.0

“I bet you your kids couldn’t destroy this camper,” said Don Mills, manager at the Conibear RV Center in Lakeland, as he showed me the Quicksilver automotive camper. “This is all aluminum. There is no wood. You could wash this out with a garden hose if you wanted to.”

Now that’s my kind of RV, I thought to myself. I could clean the camper and the kids in one fell swoop.

“They are light (600 to 1,500 pounds) and easy to pull,” Mills said. “You can pull one with a minivan.”

The Quicksilver is a bare-bones popup camper that sleeps two adults and two children. There is no stove, toilet or refrigerator. But most campgrounds have restroom facilities and showers, and I usually pack my food in a cooler and cook over an old gas stove on top of a picnic table anyway.

“Most people just sleep in the camper anyway,” Mills said. “If it starts to rain there is still plenty of room inside.”

The price range of $5,500 to $8,500 will also prove attractive to many first-time buyers. For more information, go to www.livinlite.com or contact Mills at (863) 858-4455.

Light, easy to tow

Aliner Classic

Aliner Classic

Another option for cost-conscious campers is the lightweight, low-to-the-ground, easily towable Aliner camper. You don’t need a big pickup or sport-utility vehicle to get this beauty to your campsite.

“You can pull this camper with just about any car,” said Rick Como of Como RV Sales in Inverness and Homosassa (1-866-344-1411 or www.comorv.com). “That is a real plus for a lot of people.”

The Pennsylvania-built popup has a hard top with sky lights and many of the amenities of a larger, heavier RV. Aliners, which range in length from 9 to 18 feet, are surprisingly comfortable for their size. The middle-of-the-line model, the Classic, is 15 feet long, 6½ feet wide and weighs just 2,000 pounds. It sleeps two adults and two children and retails for about $13,000.

“If you include airfare, hotel, meals, etc., it is not hard to spend $5,000 to take a family of four on vacation,” Kelly said. “If you take the money you would have spent on two vacations and put it into an RV, you can have fun every weekend instead of just once or twice a year. If you think about it, that’s a real bargain.”

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Large Crowds Attending Florida RV SuperShow

January 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Crowds inspect product displays on opening day Wednesday  of the SuperShow in Tampa, Fla.

Crowds inspect product displays on opening day Wednesday of the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, Fla.

Attendance was up 11% Wednesday (Jan. 13) on the first day of the 2010 Florida RV SuperShow — the largest of the winter RV shows throughout the U.S. over the next eight weeks and an event that’s widely viewed as a possible harbinger of things to come for the rest of 2010.

Large crowds continued to course through the Florida State Fairgrounds today.

“We are slamming them again (today)” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the Florida Recreational Vehicle Trade Association( FRVTA), who reported that attendance Wednesday on ”Seniors Day” was 13,684 people.

“I’ve been checking with some dealers,” he continued. “Sales are good. We aren’t setting any records on sales, but they are good.”

Considering the RV industry’s recession-driven travails over the last 18 months, “It’s the ‘new’ good,” Wilson offered.

Manufacturers, for the most part, reported increased activity during the early part of the Florida show.

“For the first day, traffic was very strong,” said Bob Martin, the newly appointed president of Keystone RV Co., Goshen, Ind. “Peoples’ attitudes are very positive. We are much busier than we were early in the show last year. We won’t know how it will play out until we get into the weekend.”

Martin, at the same time, reported that attendance at the Great Lakes Recreation Vehicle Show in Cleveland that ended Sunday also was “very good.” And he’s not alone in that assessment. “It was very different than last year,” Martin said.

Sid Johnson, director of marketing for Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind., said that dealers confirmed that there was more early traffic at the Florida Show than last year.

“Dealers feel very, very good about sales so far, the first day,” Johnson said.

He reported that there was substantial interest in fifth-wheel RVs in Tampa. “But Tampa is not a typical retail show because it’s so heavily attended by vacationers and Snow Birds,” he said.

The Florida RV SuperShow continues through Sunday.

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Thompson Advice: Buy Thor, Drew and Winnebago

January 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

TRG logoEditor’s Note: The Thompson Research Group (TRG) provides periodic reports on the RV industry to its investor clients. This current report follows release on Tuesday of the November motorized retail sales figures from Statistical Surveys Inc.

TRG Snapshot:

November 2009 Motorhome sales decline 6.7%. This marks the first single-digit decline in retail sales in 2009. Note that November 2009’s data excludes data from Georgia and New Mexico.

Key Points:

  • November 2009 motorhome retail sales fell 6.7% to 1,038 units.
  • Class A retail sales fell 13.2% to 637 units in November. November’s 13.2% decline in retail sales is the lowest since October 2007.
  • Class C retail sales increased 5.8% to 401 units in November vs. a 22.9% decrease in October. This marks the first increase in Class Cs since August 2007.
  • We were very encouraged to see the additional directional improvement in motorhome retail sales. We had heard steady feedback from retailers that motorhome retail trends had started to improve, and November’s retail data is the first meaningful tangible evidence of this trend. We understand that while many manufacturers last year took anywhere from three weeks to two months time off during the holiday season, many this year took only a week off of production. Winnebago Industries reported Q1’10 earnings showing a massive 350% increase in total backlogs and a 666% increase in Class A backlogs. We will gain greater clarity on retail demand this week when we attend one of the largest retail shows in Florida, the RV SuperShow in Tampa. We reiterate our Buy on Thor Industries Inc., Drew Industries Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc.
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Warm Temps Return for Florida SuperShow Start

January 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Florida RV SuperShow logoThe Florida RV SuperShow at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa kicked off its five-day run with ”Senior Citizens Day” this morning with good weather and strong attendance.

”There seems to be a great turnout,” said Dave Kelly, marketing director of the sponsoring Florida Recreation Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA) ”I think every senior in central Florida has come out. But it’s a good mix of young and old today.”

More than 1,100 towable and motorized RVs were on display at the sprawling fairgrounds.

Florida RV SuperShow scene today. Photo from RV Buddies website.

Florida RV SuperShow scene today. Photo from RV Buddies website.

FRVTA in early afternoon had not totalled first-day ticket sales where senior citizens received a $1 discount on tickets. But Kelly said the weather finally had recovered from 10 consecutive days of freezing temperatures overnight and highs that didn’t get out of the 50s.

“The weather could not be any better. It’s 65 and there’s not a cloud in the sky,” Kelly said.

Following is a list of RV manufacturers displaying product at the Florida RV SuperShow.

  • Airstream Inc.
  • Born Free Motorcoach Inc.
  • Breckenridge
  • Carriage Inc.
  • Chariot Eagle Inc.
  • Classy Vehicle Specialties
  • Coach House Inc.
  • Coachmen RV
  • Coleman Camping Trailers by FTCA
  • Columbia Northwest Inc.
  • CrossRoads RV
  • Cruiser RV LLC
  • Damon Motor Coach
  • Doonan Truck
  • DRV Inc.
  • Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.
  • Dynamax Corp.
  • EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC
  • Excel by Peterson Industries Inc.
  • EZ Traveler RV
  • Featherlite Luxury Coaches
  • Fleetwood RV Inc.
  • Forest River Inc.
  • Foretravel Motorcoach
  • Fork Creek Cabins
  • Four Winds International Corp.
  • Glendale Recreational Vehicles
  • Great West Van Conversions Inc.
  • Gulf Stream Coach Inc.
  • Haulmark Inc.
  • Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC
  • Heritage One Inc.
  • Hy-Line Enterprises Holdings LLC
  • Jacobsen Homes
  • JAG Mobile Solutions/JMS
  • Jayco Inc.
  • Keystone RV Co.
  • KZRV LP
  • Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp.
  • Leisure Travel Vans Ltd.
  • Liberty Coach
  • Livin Lite Recreational Vehicles LLC
  • Marathon Coach Inc.
  • Millennium Luxury Coach
  • Monaco RV LLC
  • New Horizons RV Corp
  • Newell Coach Corp.
  • Newmar Inc.
  • Open Range RV Co.
  • Outlaw Coach
  • Palm Harbor Homes
  • Parliament Coach Corp.
  • Phoenix USA Inc.
  • Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd.
  • Prevost Car
  • Renegade By Kibbi Inc.
  • Riverside Travel Trailer Inc.
  • Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.
  • Silver Crown LLC
  • Skyline Corp.
  • Space Craft Manufacturing Inc.
  • Spartan Chassis Inc.
  • SunnyBrook RV Inc.
  • Tiffin Motor Homes Inc.
  • TrailManor Inc.
  • United Recreational Vehicles LLC
  • Winnebago Industries Inc.
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