Sundance Trailer Design Features Industry First

September 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland's Sundance travel trailer

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


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Heartland Launches Fairfield Destination Trailer

September 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland's Fairfield destination trailer

Responding to dealer input and growing consumer demand, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC announced the launch of its all-new Fairfield destination trailer during the Sept. 18-21 Elkhart County RV Open House.

“Our team is very excited for the Fairfield launch,” said General Manager Nick Eppert. “This new product will combine the floorplans, features and price points that dealers have been asking for.”

Chris Hermon, president of the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder, noted, “Many of our dealers have urged Heartland to become a strong player in the destination trailer business. Nick and his product team have focused on making Fairfield the ultimate destination trailer. We are thrilled with the results and are anticipating a successful debut at the Open House.”

Initially, the Fairfield will be available in seven 40-plus-foot floorplans, all featuring wide-body construction and a standard atrium design fiberglass cap. Units will also be equipped with double and triple sliderooms.

Heartland stressed a residential feel and functionality in Fairfield’s interior décor, set off by upscale cabinetry, upholsteries and accents. The kitchen area is appointed with a free standing range, 18-cubic-foot residential refrigerator and a residential microwave.

“Price points will be key with the Fairfield,” Eppert said. “A host of available options will allow dealers to order Fairfield destination trailers to fit their markets’ needs.”

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 more information on the Fairfield destination trailer contact Eppert at (574) 266-8726 or


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Heartland’s Prowler Trailer ‘Moving Up’ in Stats

September 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland RV's Prowler travel trailer

Heartland Recreational Vehicle LLC’s entry-level Prowler travel trailer posted significant market share gains for the first half of the year, positioning the brand for further penetration in one of the industry’s highest growth sectors.

General Manager Ryan Brady reported that Prowler posted a 635% gain in unit sales through June and a 565% jump in overall market share, according to the latest report from Statistical Surveys Inc.

“We have been fortunate to partner with an incredible dealer body,” Brady stated in a press release. “Over the last 12 months we have signed tier one dealers across North America that have done a tremendous job with the brand. We are confident that our dealer’s initial success will translate into even stronger results going forward.”

Chris Hermon, president of Elkhart, Ind.-based Heartland, noted, “We asked our stick-and-tin groups to focus their efforts on owning the sweet spot of the entry-level price point. Heartland has really separated Prowler from the competition by offering the right floorplans with an excellent look combined with aggressive price points. Dealers are going to be really excited with what they see.”

Building on the momentum through the first six months, Heartland will be rolling out several new floorplans and feature upgrades in the Prowler line as part of the Sept. 18-21 Elkhart County RV Open House. “The Prowler line will feature a new graphics package that is set off by metallic silver coloring on the front and back,” Brady said. “It’s a dramatic look that we think will be a hit with our dealers. The interiors have been dressed up with two new decors, new Beauflor, all-new cabinetry, and an extra large kitchen skylight.”

Prowler will also be showing new editions in its fifth-wheel lineup along with the introduction of a destination trailer. Hermon noted, “Just like the travel trailer, the Prowler fifth-wheel has made huge strides by offering several set-apart features as standard. With laminated sidewalls and fiberglass caps, the Prowler is priced thousands of dollars below the competition in a very competitive segment of the market.” The new Prowler wide-body destination trailer will debut with four floorplans with more planned for the fall.

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 Prowler contact Brady at (574) 266-6356 or



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Heartland Rolling Out ‘Elite Edition’ Wilderness

September 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland's Elite Edition Wilderness trailer

Marking a successful first year in the growing lightweight laminated market, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC introduced a new bunkhouse floorplan in its Wilderness travel trailer brand along with an eye-catching Elite Edition exterior package that creates the look of a full-body painted coach.

According to a press release, the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder will officially debut the latest additions to its 2013 Wilderness line as part of the Sept. 18-21 Elkhart County RV Open House Week.

“Heartland was determined to hit a certain price point with the Elite package,” said Heartland President Chris Hermon. “This package has only been offered at price points thousands of dollars more than the Wilderness. Our dealer body will be thrilled not only with the aggressive pricing, but also the weight of the new Wilderness.”

Mike Creech, general manager, reported the all-aluminum Wilderness had successfully gained market share over the past year as consumers, and dealers, recognized the brand as a “true value piece” in the high-volume trailer segment.

“When Heartland brought the Wilderness to market at last year’s Open House, there were three things that really set it apart,” Creech said. “Like all Heartland products, the line was aggressively priced. We also knew that the top-selling units were extremely lightweight, so our design team did a great job of cutting weight without sacrificing quality. But I think the feature that really grabbed people was the 7-foot crowned interior ceiling height. That has been a game-changer.”

The Elite Edition adds a finished look to the exterior, featuring all-tan fiberglass walls, accented by new graphics and “black trimmings,” according to Creech. He added, “It’s pretty dramatic. We’ll be showcasing the Elite package at the Open House, and are anticipating very strong dealer response.”

With the debut of the “mainstream bunkhouse” model, the Wilderness line sports 12 floorplans, ranging in lengths of 21 to 35 feet with dry weights running from 4,000 to 6,500 pounds. “One of the set-apart features with the new bunkhouse model is that it has a deep, 36-inch slideout that really opens up the floorplan,” Creech said.

Other amenities across the entire line include upgraded interior décors, vinyl flooring and accent wallboards in the bedroom and slideroom areas. “Instead of just being plain, the wallboards are a richer, darker color,” Creech said. “It really adds a residential touch.”

MSRPs for the Wilderness line range from $19,000 to $28,000.

Heartland will be showing product at the Open House as part of Thor Industries Inc.’s massive display area at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. For additional information on the Wilderness contact Creech at (574) 210-1976 or










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Heartland Names Coyle Regional Sales Manager

August 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

General Manager Bryan Walczak (L) and Brian Coyle

Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC today (Aug. 9) announced the hiring of industry veteran Brian Coyle as regional sales manager, representing the company’s Big Country, ElkRidge and ElkRidge Express Plus fifth-wheel lines for the East Coast.

“This is a high-profile territory representing one of the stronger sales regions for Heartland fifth-wheels,” said Bryan Walczak, general manager for the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder. “We are looking forward to Brian leveraging his combination of proven sales performance and extensive product knowledge to expand Heartland’s dealer presence and further increase market share.”

Coyle, 41, brings over 15 years sales experience in the RV industry, most recently with Elkhart-based Forest River Inc.’s Shasta division. He began his career with RV Trade Digest, a prominent trade publication, and also served as a regional sales manager for DRV Luxury Suites, Howe, Ind.

“I am taking over a very seasoned and high-volume sales territory,” said Coyle, noting that Heartland’s Big Country high-profile fifth-wheel ranked No. 3 in national sales through May, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. “This is a tremendous opportunity, not only from a career standpoint, but also to work with a great team at Heartland.”

Coyle noted that he already has a foothold in the expansive territory, operating in the Eastern United States for the majority of his sales career.

“I have some well-established dealer contacts in the region,” Coyle said. “I think that’s really important – to understand how a dealership runs and know the people involved. It also opens the door to come in and talk about product.”

He added, “I have worked with models ranging from high-end to high-volume products. That’s an advantage because the Big Country and ElkRidge lines offer products that target all segments of the fifth-wheel market.”

Coyle, a native of Mishawaka, Ind., graduated from Marian High School and currently resides in the Elkhart area. He can be contacted at or (574) 266-8726.


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Heartland Connects With Owners at June Rally

June 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland owners gather for opening day dinner at rally

Heartland Recreational Vehicles welcomed around 280 RVers towing 133 rigs June 14-17 at the Cam-Plex in picturesque Gillette, Wyo., marking the seventh running of the Annual North American Heartland Owners Rally.

According to a press release, the national rally, hosted by the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder, has evolved into a major event for owners as attendees in Gillette represented 34 states and three Canadian provinces. Jim Beletti, director of owners interests for Heartland, reported that a majority of the club members arrived a week early for an informal pre-rally, held at the Box Elder Campground situated on the Cam-Plex grounds.

“Attendees had a great time catching up with friends and making new ones, along with enjoying potlucks, open houses and visiting local restaurants,” Beletti said. “Our goal is to offer something for everybody.”

Founded in March 2008 under the direction of Beletti, the Heartland Owners Club has continued to refine and expand its rally program. The Gillette gathering offered a full range of activities, including nine lifestyle and 13 technical seminars. In addition, local dealer Stalkups RV Superstore provided owners with a first-hand tour of the company’s latest travel trailer and fifth-wheel models.

During the official opening of the rally on Thursday, Heartland Vice President of Sales Coley Brady visited the Cam-Plex, spending the day with club members and delivering an address that evening. “Heartland RV takes great pride in hosting this special event as the rally is a wonderful experience for participants,” Brady said.

Chris Hermon, who recently succeeded Brian Brady as Heartland president, said that the interaction with Heartland’s customer base is not only key to building relationships, but also provides valuable feedback on product.

“Customers drive our decisions every day as we develop and enhance our product lines,” Hermon said. “These kinds of events give us the opportunity to learn more about our products by hearing directly from the people that use them. It’s just one more factor that separates Heartland from the competition.”

During the event, attendees toured some of the landmarks in Gillette, including a trip to the Alpha Butte Mine and the Rock Pile Museum, while also providing a boost to the local business community.

“When the club holds rallies in communities around North America, we have an economic impact on these communities with campground fees paid, diesel fuel bought, and money spent at restaurants and local businesses,” Beletti said.

He also stressed that one of the staples during each rally sponsored by the Heartland Owners Club is to include a “charitable component.”

“This year in Gillette, we selected ‘Blessings in a Backpack’ for our ‘Heartland Gives Back’ initiative,” Beletti said. “I set a goal of $2,000 – enough to fund 25 backpacks of food to feed 25 children for an entire weekend during the school year. I am pleased to report that on the final day of the rally, we presented 94 giving envelopes containing a total of $4,224 – enough to fully fund 53 backpacks.”


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Hunt for New Heartland RV Exec is Under Way

May 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The retirement of Brian Brady, CEO of Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC, continues the shift in senior management that Thor Industries Inc. has been undergoing since July 2011.

Brady, one of original investors who started Heartland in November 2003, retired from the company effective Tuesday (May 1). In April, he told employees that all the founders had left Heartland and “after considerable thought and reflection, I have elected to leave too,” according to a story by RV Business.

To read the entire article in the Elkhart Truth click here.


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Heartland RV’s Brian Brady Will Retire on May 1

April 25, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Brian Brady

Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC President Brian Brady informed employees today (April 25) that he will be retiring from the Elkhart, Ind.-based RV manufacturer, effective May 1.

Brady, along with a group of industry veterans that included Tim Hoffman, Jack Culbertson and John Rhymer, launched Heartland in November 2003.

Brady told employees that during the past year all of the original investors had left Heartland and that “after considerable thought and reflection, I have elected to leave, too.”

Prior to taking the helm at Heartland, Brady made a name for himself in the industry as an executive with Coachmen Industries Inc., Holiday Rambler Corp. and as president and CEO of Damon Corp. – all based in Elkhart County, Ind.

With the launch of Heartland, Brady charged management with placing the towable builder on a rapid growth cycle, as the company entered the market with its Landmark luxury fifth-wheel.

Today, Heartland builds and markets brands across the towable spectrum – from stick-and-tin entry-level travel trailers to high-end, all-season fifth-wheels. At the end of last year, Heartland’s work force had grown to 1,200 while facilities at its Elkhart campus included seven production lines and four support and sub-assembly facilities encompassing 810,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

Heartland’s growth has been marked by two key business moves. In February of 2007, Catterton Partners made a significant equity investment in Heartland. Then in September 2010, Thor Industries Inc. purchased a controlling interest in Heartland for $200 million.

In an interview last November, Brady said the Thor acquisition had proven to be “a true win-win” for both companies. “We have done exactly what we intended to do – and that was to best position Heartland for continued success,” he said. “In a competitive environment, Heartland continues to win. The mission for Heartland remains to provide our dealers the highest possible return on their investment, and that mission will continue to drive this company going forward.”




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Heartland Streamlines Online Warranty Program

December 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC has launched an all-new supplier communications program designed to simplify dealer/vendor correspondence and response time.

“This new program, designated Fast Track 2.0, expands the offerings of our original Fast Track streamlined online warranty website,” said Sean Andrews, director of dealer services for Elkhart, Ind.-based Heartland, noting institution of the program is effective immediately.

Enhancements include:

• Heartland will manage all dealer warranty claims directly rather than referring dealers to individual component suppliers with the exception of safety or NHTSA-related issues.

• Simple step-by-step procedure for creating claims.

• Only one root cause flat rate code will need to be entered for each job along with the labor time to perform that job.

• Dealers will need to provide documentation pertaining to the claim’s complaint/cause/correction.

• Separate links will be accessible if miscellaneous items, parts or photos need to be added.

• In the event that additional root cause issues are needed for the claim, extra lines can be incorporated.

Heartland will continue to build the Fast Track 2.0 parts catalog with new pictures and part numbers based on model year and brand updates, noting, “Heartland now has over 20,000 photos in the Fast Track 2.0 catalog for ordering convenience.”

Heartland said that the Fast Track 2.0 enhancements coupled with the original on-line system, reflects the company’s continued commitment to dealer support and service after the sale. “The new program runs concurrently with Heartland’s one-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty,” Andrews said. “Dealer Fast Track 2.0 participation is optional. If dealers choose to continue direct communication with suppliers, they may do so.”



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Heartland RV Reports ‘Brisk’ Sales at Louisville

December 6, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC reported that sales and new dealer signups were brisk at last week’s  National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

“Sales were extremely good and exceeded our projections,” commented Coley Brady, vice president of sales. “In addition, we were able to sign many new dealers this year – a very positive response going into a show where attendance was such a big unknown. Although dealers are realistic about the current economic conditions, they’re obviously optimistic about their business’s future.”

Brady attributed the company’s positive results to several factors, including the introduction of an ultra-aggressive stick-and-tin price point travel trailer with the Trail Runner franchise, and innovations such as curvilinear ceilings on all Sundance and Greystone fifth-wheel models.

“We were really pleased with this year’s traffic in our display,” said Steve Lidy, Heartland’s marketing director. “Our booth was busy the first two days, and dealers really responded to our new products, including Torque toy haulers with an optional contemporary espresso interior and new lightweight Wilderness featuring a curvilinear ceiling. And talk about high energy … we had standing room only in Bighorn, as dealers crowded around the giant 55-inch TV in the new front living room.”

Brady added, “The Louisville Show usually sets the tone of the industry for the coming year. If that’s the case, Heartland is looking forward to a very good year, indeed.”

Heartland RV, headquartered in Elkhart, Ind., offers a variety of towables, including travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth wheels and destination trailers. For more information, please visit our website at


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