Alex and Jan Alexander were in the 17th week of a tour of the West Coast in their 2006 Country Coach when they pulled into the gates of the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond, Ore., for the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 84th International Convention Aug. 11-14. One of more than 2,000 motorhome families to attend the mid-week event in central Oregon, the young couple from St. James City, Fla., intended to spend the four days soaking up information.
“We’re here for several reasons,” Alex noted after exiting the Tiffin Motor Homes manufacturer’s display. “We wanted to see what’s going on in the industry — but, most importantly from an educational standpoint, to visit the displays and see the latest in engines and electronics … it (Redmond) has a little bit of everything.” And, while the first-time visitors to the convention hadn’t considered upgrading their luxury coach prior to the event, Alex did note that “we may change our minds. Right now, we’re looking at an Allegro bus.”
According to Jerry Yeatts, FMCA event director, the Alexanders’ upbeat attitude personified the 84th convention, which also was highlighted by the public debut of the new Vesta motorhome from Monaco RV LLC and the West Coast introduction of the Insignia from Jayco’s Entegra Coach division.
“We had a little over 2,000 families there, and about 200 coaches on display,” he said. “Compared to the last time we were here, it was probably comparable, numbers-wise — but as far as attitude and enthusiasm, it was amazing. The members were probably in their best mood we’ve seen in quite a while. Seems like sales were up, spirits were up, and overall it was a great convention.”
It also apparently was quite successful for a number of exhibitors. “One OEM said that the higher-end coaches they brought were sold,” Yeatts said. “Another dealer who brought in 11 coaches sold six.”
Shannon Nill, general manager of Guaranty RV, Junction City, Ore., echoed Yeatts’ assessment on the overall atmosphere of the program. “We sold 18 RVs at the Redmond rally, about evenly distributed between new and used,” Nill noted, out of about 75 units the dealership supplied to several displays including Monaco, Newmar Corp. and Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. “Beyond the sales, however, one huge point was that the mood of the customer was really strong compared to last year’s rally. People were eager to RV. The gatherings of this kind after a slowdown are even more important than normal.”
This year marked the fourth time FMCA has held a convention at the Redmond fairgrounds, but was the first time the association kicked off the event with a Wednesday “preview” day. Gates opened at 5 p.m. on “hump day” for touring outdoor manufacturer displays, followed by access only to indoor exhibits Thursday morning. All displays became accessible at noon and thereafter.
“We really didn’t receive any comments concerning shifting the pattern,” Yeatts said. “The gate on Wednesday was greater than normal, but we don’t know if that’s attributable to starting later in the week, or later in the day.”
The Vesta, introduced to dealers two weeks prior to the Redmond convention, immediately attracted quite a bit of attention from rally attendees due to its unique aerodynamic styling.
“We’ve had a lot of customers come up to us that hadn’t really considered a Class A before just because of the size,” said Ryan Lee, marketing director for the Coburg, Ore., manufacturer. “They take a look at this, with the sleek design, and see that it’s really easy from an ergonomic standpoint to sit up there in the driver’s seat and drive that coach.”
Built on a proprietary 26,000-pound GVWR Monaco Roadmaster chassis and designed in conjunction with wind-tunnel testing, the single-slide 32-foot Vesta (a 35-foot floorplan also is planned) features a sloping front fascia, low center of gravity and tapered rear section. MSRP for the 32-foot coach is $195,000-$200,000.
“It’s pretty striking,” Lee said of the styling. “One of the things that we’re trying to do at Monaco is that, when a coach rolls down the road we want people to know it’s a Monaco; we want people to know it’s a Holiday Rambler (Monaco’s sister division). And this type of styling is going to get us there.”
Along with the Vesta, Monaco also brought several models with fresh 2011 floorplans to Redmond. “We’re showing our first 2011 Dynasty and Camalot here at the show,” noted Mike Snell, senior vice president of sales and product development for Monaco. “The Dynasty has a 500hp engine, and we’ve changed the paint scheme and have really upgraded the interiors. On the Camelot, we did the same: changed the front facia, the backsplash, put in a ceiling insert in the living room — we really dressed up the inside. We also have our slide-in-a-slide Diplomat here. We had the slide-in-a-slide in the Dynasty, and we added it to the Diplomat, which is a 43-footer.”
The Entegra Insignia, which debuted almost simultaneously at Affinity Group’s The Rally, July 22-25, at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center and Redmond, is the Jayco division’s “entry-level” coach for the high-end Entegra line. Built on a 32,400-pound GVWR Freightliner XCR chassis powered by a 360-hp Cummins ISB diesel engine, the $265,000 MSRP Insignia features heated-and-enclosed holding tanks, frameless flush-mounted slideout rooms, gel goat fiberglass sidewalls and a steel-reinforced front cap and windshield frame plus interiors sporting glazed maple hardwood cabinets and leather hide-a-bed sofas.
Yet another new unit drawing a crowd was the 2011 model from Newell Coach Corp. Upgrades to the 2011 welded-steel-and-aluminum Newell motorcoaches — the first since the 2006 model year — include upgraded front caps with bright-white “string-of-pearl” LED running lights that outline the outer edges of the headlights, plus rear-body trim and redesigned side moldings. Interiors feature wood windowsill trim bordered with seamed leather, carbon-fiber instrument panels and automated air conditioning and heating.
The upbeat atmosphere at Redmond was, in the view of many dealers staffing the manufacturer exhibits, a reflection of a more optimistic viewpoint already noted at their respective dealerships.
Brian Kehoe, a sales consultant for Sandy, Ore.-based Johnson RV Sales who was manning the Entegra display, noted that the dealership “has experienced four months consecutive of record sales for the company. It’s been fantastic. All the way through, from the B class, C class, Class A gas and diesel units.” The dealership, site of the former Fred’s RV, opened under the Johnson RV Sales umbrella last year and features 12 service bays and three buildings — including an indoor showroom — on seven acres.
At the Tiffin exhibit, Rick Neat, a salesman from RV Corral, Eugene, Ore., one of three dealerships providing coaches for the display, called August “the best month in two years.
“There’s more business out there,” following the shuttering of dealers and OEMs alike during the recession, he said, adding that consumer credit is likewise on an uptick. “On the big money, it’s starting to ease up a bit. A lot of people are going to credit unions now, which are getting a lot more flexible than they were in the past.”
Mike Alverez, with All Seasons RV, Bend, Ore., concurred. “Our banks have loosened up,” he said at the Winnebago Industries Inc. exhibit. “They’ve changed on how they are financing. They are looking at people in a better light, where before it was tough to get financing accomplished. The other thing, too, is that GE, our flooring company, has backed off; they are letting us get product in here, and we’re making the turns we need to make to keep it going.”
Along with new coach designs and features, Redmond also was one of the first consumer shows to feature motorhomes fitted with new 2010 EPA emissions-compliant engines, and several exhibitors — including Gaffney, S.C.-based Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. and Spartan Chassis, Charlotte, Mich. — fielded questions from consumers and dealership personnel somewhat confused about the technical merits of the two competing drive systems developed to meet the EPA criteria. Cummins Inc. utilizes an aftermarket treatment system, while Navistar’s new MaxxForce engines employ Advanced EGR technology.
In the first meeting since the Monaco, Holiday Rambler and R-Vision brands were acquired by Navistar International Corp., Monaco RV LLC, Coburg, Ore., will debut new towable and motorized RV lines during its Monaco RV Dealers Congress July 28-29 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in the Chicago suburb of Lombard, Ill.
The dealer congress will include product displays at Navistar’s nearby Melrose Engine Plant, including the debut of the Vesta diesel pusher motorhome and the lightweight Monaco Onyx travel trailer.
”These are the first RVs developed with Navistar and their engineering, ergonomic and fuel people from the truck group,” said Mike Snell, Monaco senior vice president of sales and product development. ”Onyx and Vesta have all the technology that Navistar uses.”
As part of the development process, wind tunnel tests on the two lines were performed at Navistar facilities in Texas.
About 200 people are expected to attend the two-day congress that will include presentations July 28 by Navistar CEO Dan Ustain, Truck Group President Jack Allen, Monaco CEO Kay Toolson and Snell. Monaco currently has a network of about 200 towable dealers and 55 motorized outlets, Snell said.
Thirty products will be showcased at the Melrose factory on Thursday.
Snell said the congress will be a no-nonsense business meeting. ”In today’s business climate, we want to get the dealers in, show them our products and get them back home,” Snell said.
Monaco in May launched a print and online marketing campaign featuring the slogan ”Where to Next?” with a focus on Monaco RV’s connection to Navistar, including adopting Navistar’s MaxxForce EPA-compliant EGR diesel engines as standard on Monaco motorhomes.
The new Vesta motorhome with a tapered rear end to reduce drag and unique grill work, initially will be available in 32- and 36-foot single-slideout floorplans equipped with Navistar MaxxForce 7 diesel engines mounted on Monaco’s proprietary Roadmaster chassis.
”Vesta will be the first fully integrated motorhome since the GMC,” Snell said. ”We’ll be able to tell Joe Consumer that he will be able to make one phone call to take care of everything — the chassis, engine and box.”
A Holiday Rambler version of the new motorhome — the Trip — will debut in November at the Louisville Show. ”We are doing some things that will differentiate it from the Vesta,” Snell said.
The European-influenced Onyx will be available in 25- and 31-foot double-slide floorplans.
MSRPs for the Vesta and Onyx were not available.
Monaco RV LLC has announced Alliance Coach of Wildwood, Fla., has partnered with Holiday Rambler to carry its full line of motorized products.
Alliance Coach is a full-service, sales and service facility with state-of-the-art facilities. With 40 inside and 25 outside service bays, Alliance Coach employs master certified service techs as well as a seasoned sales staff with many years of Holiday Rambler sales and customer service experience, according to a press release.
“Holiday Rambler is a terrific fit for us,” says Brett Howard, vice president of Alliance Coach. “Collectively, our staff has more than 250 years of service experience with the Holiday Rambler brand. We have formed strong and lasting relationships with these owners.”
According to Caroline Champion, general manager of Alliance Coach, “We are eager to continue these relationships and offer the highest quality service in the industry, as well as offer new products to a legion of new customers. We have confidence in the product direction of Holiday Rambler and are excited for the availability of Navistar engine packages in future coaches as well.”
“It is an honor to have Alliance Coach come aboard with Holiday Rambler,” says Scott Jacobson, national sales manager for Holiday Rambler. “The immense amount of Holiday Rambler product knowledge for both sales and service will enable Alliance Coach to be a successful partner with us. We look forward to our future together and solidifying the Holiday Rambler brand name for many years to come.”
Monaco RV LLC has announced the new Aluma-Lite Class C motorhome from Holiday Rambler, according to a release.
Developed for today’s new price points, the easy-to-maneuver RV is family-friendly as well as mileage-friendly.
Though smaller in stature, the Aluma-Lite is built with large-sized features. A king-sized 61-gallon fresh water tank allows for extended camping capabilities, a critical component with today’s RV’ers. Also, the extra-large exterior bay stores all equipment in a central, convenient location. Entry inside the Aluma-Lite is made easy with an extra-wide (26-inch-wide) entrance door. Inside, again oversize features make the Aluma-Lite feel spacious. The kitchen boasts a large 42-inch-by-18-inch space accented by a large 48-inch-by-36-inch window at the dinette. A king size wardrobe provides storage for extended stays.
For improved fuel economy, the Aluma-Lite front cap is aerodynamically designed to reduce wind turbulence and drag. The battery access is built into the entryway for easy maintenance, along with a 5,000-pound hitch for towing. The Aluma-Lite Class C will be available in five floorplans from 23 to 31 feet.
“We have listened to our dealers needs and responded with the Aluma-Lite Class C ,which hits today’s new lower price-point segment,” said Scott Jacobson, Holiday Rambler national sales manager. “The Aluma-Lite addresses the need for a smaller, more agile RV with large fresh-water capacity and exterior storage, at an affordable price point. I am excited as we launch the Aluma-Lite, along with future new products. It is a new era at Holiday Rambler.”
For more details on the Aluma-Lite Class C, along with information on Holiday Rambler’s full line of products, please visit www.holidayrambler.com.
Monaco RV LLC’s Holiday Rambler Ramblin’ Pushers, Chapter 419 club recently concluded a highly successful annual maintenance session at the Elkhart County, Ind., 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind.
Owners of approximately 250 Holiday Rambler attended the event, making it one of the highest-attended rallies in recent years.
The elaborate event was comprised of more than 100 seminars conducted by Coburg, Ore.-based Monaco RV, a variety of equipment manufacturers, suppliers and coach members.
Employees from Monaco RV held seminars on numerous topics including general maintenance, transmission components and air brake operation.
“We are extremely honored and proud of such a loyal group of Holiday Rambler owners,” said Scott Jacobson, Holiday Rambler national sales manager. “Their dedication over the years to promoting the RV lifestyle and the Holiday Rambler brand are immeasurable to the company. The recent maintenance session rally provided time for us at Holiday Rambler to get to know our owners better, as well as gain invaluable product suggestions and improvement ideas.”
The Holiday Rambler sales team held meetings answering a wide range of owner questions. Executives from Monaco parent company Navistar International Corp. and Monaco RV also led an open forum meeting for all attendees. Presented at the meeting were future plans for the company as well as Navistar’s commitment to Monaco RV.
The oldest Holiday Rambler dealership in the country, Veurinks’ RV of Grand Rapids, Mich., was on hand as well to display new 2011 Holiday Rambler products to an enthusiastic audience. Several 2011 Neptune motorhomes were sold at the event, further adding to the success of the event for all involved.
The Ramblin’ Pushers, Chapter 419 of the Holiday Rambler Recreational Vehicle Club also celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Nearly doubling in size during the last three years, the 419 Chapter is made up of more than 850 Holiday Rambler diesel motorhome owners with a mission to educate their membership on the maintenance and operation of their RVs.
Monaco RV LLC has announced that Dream RV of Bradenton, Fla., will carry the Holiday Rambler motorized brand of motorhomes. Located 40 miles south of Tampa, Dream RV encompasses seven acres with full sales and service facilities. The dealership serves the greater Florida market and beyond.
“We are honored to be partnering with Holiday Rambler,” said Dan Wylie, Dream RV owner. “I worked for a Holiday Rambler dealership when I first started in the business over 30 years ago. Holiday Rambler is a well recognized brand with a long history of quality workmanship. They offer a broad spectrum of products at many price points, making it easy to satisfy each customer.”
“We welcome Dream RV to the Holiday Rambler family,” says Scott Jacobson, national sales manager for Holiday Rambler. “We are so happy to have Dream RV partner with us at such an exciting time at Holiday Rambler. We are embarking on a national media campaign highlighting our strengths as a Navistar-backed company. Also, we are coming out with new price point competitive products that will position the Holiday Rambler brand solidly for the future. Dream RV will play a vital role in our exciting future and bring our mutual customers the highest level of service before and after the sale.”
Monaco RV LLC announced the addition of three more Holiday Rambler towable dealers.
Robert Crist and Co. RV, Mesa, Ariz., Holiday on Wheels of Panama City, Panama City, Fla., and Mellott Brothers’ RV, Willow Street, Pa., will all carry the Holiday Rambler brand of towable products, according to a news release.
“These well-established and respected dealerships offer first-class sales and service,” said Walt Mason, recently appointed national sales manager for Holiday Rambler towables. “We are honored to partner with these great organizations and offer their customers the best recreational vehicles on the market.”
Mason will lead the 57-year-old Holiday Rambler brand from it facilities in Wakarusa, Ind. Mason brings an extensive, nearly 30-year career in the RV industry to Holiday Rambler. He has held various roles within the industry from sales and most notably product development. Most recently he served as regional sales manager for Holiday Rambler towables, developing dealer partners and sales initiatives for the brand.
“We are extremely excited to have Walt take the helm of the Holiday Rambler towable division,” said Mike Snell, senior vice president of sales and product development. “His impressive background and knowledge in product development will be utilized to enhance the current Holiday Rambler towable product line, as well as shape future products offerings that are innovative and market ready. The Holiday Rambler brand has a long, rich history. Walt will do a great job at honoring that tradition, while forging the brand ahead to the next level.”
Monaco RV LLC announced that Beaver Coach Sales and Service in Bend, Ore., will carry the Holiday Rambler brand of motorhomes.
The Beaver Coach Sales and Service complex encompasses six acres with an 8,000-square-foot indoor showroom. Their 15-bay service center includes paint booth, complete parts department and a national reputation for excellence, according to a news release.
“We are excited to be involved with the Holiday Rambler product and also its clubs,” states Chris Jackson, general manager for Beaver Coach Sales and Service. “Our initial focus will include the Neptune and Endeavor. As demand in HR product increases, we will expand our product availability. We look forward to growing with Holiday Rambler, their club and encourage all Holiday Rambler owners to become familiar with our sales and service capabilities that can serve them.”
Holiday Rambler product will begin to arrive at the dealership in April in time for the 2010 season and 2010 Central Oregon RV Show. “The summer national FMCA rally will be in our backyard in Redmond. This will provide a great opportunity for folks to stop by the dealership while in the Northwest,” concluded Jackson.
Scott Jacobson, national sales manager for Holiday Rambler, recently spent time at the Bend facilities. “After meeting with Chris Jackson and the staff, it is evident Beaver Coach Sales and Service is committed to Holiday Rambler and building their presence with the Holiday Rambler club,” said Jacobson. “I am very excited about the addition of Beaver Coach Sales and Service and look forward to building a great relationship with them, along with offering excellent customer service before and “after the sale” for all of our old and new customers.”
Beaver Coach Sales and Service can be contacted at (800) 382-2597 (Sales) or (800 843-2967 (Service).
Monaco RV LLC, Coburg, Ore., today (March 8) announced the new 2011 Neptune diesel pusher from Holiday Rambler in a news release. The popular motorhome has been upgraded to the eight air bag proprietary Roadmaster chassis, from the previous four air bag model. The eight outboard-mounted air bag RR8R Roadmaster chassis provides a wide and stable platform for the coach, improving drivability. The 2011 Holiday Rambler Neptune is powered by a new 360-hp engine, standard on 40-foot models, with a 340-hp engine standard on 36-foot models. Four creative floorplans are offered including the popular full-wall slide that provides massive living space. The interior boasts ceramic tile throughout the living area, kitchen and bath along with three well-appointed decor color choices. Solid surface countertops with mosaic tile backsplashes, an optional residential refrigerator and handy flip up countertop extension make meal preparation a breeze. All floorplans offer an optional king bed as well as solar screens with blackout shade. Behind the wheel, safety minded features include the Panaview one-piece windshield, standard three-camera rear vision system and optional GPS system. For more details on the Neptune including a video tour, along with information on Holiday Rambler’s full line of products, visit www.holidayrambler.com.
Veurinks’ RV Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., has taken delivery of the first towable units manufactured by the new Monaco RV LLC.
The dealer took delivery of three new 2010 Holiday Rambler towable products this month, Tim Veurink, president, announced in a news release. Veurinks’ RV Center will carry the full line of the Holiday Rambler brands, he said.
Veurink expects gas motorhomes to arrive the end of July and new diesels before the end of summer. Veurinks’ will also be aggressively discounting the few remaining 2009s to make room for the new models, he said.
Veurink’s RV Center is the nation’s oldest Holiday Rambler dealership.
In June Navistar International Corp. picked up the Holiday Rambler brand and manufacturing facilities from the assets of the old Monaco Coach Corp.
“We look forward to working with a financially sound company like Navistar who like us has a rich history of customer support and satisfaction,” said Veurink.
“When you sell a brand for 46 years, you develop a very loyal customer base of owners of that brand who frankly can’t see themselves buying any other brand but a Holiday Rambler,” he said. He noted that over those 46 years they have partnered with four different owners of the Holiday Rambler brand: founder Richard Klingler, Harley Davidson, Monaco Coach and now Navistar.
“Change is never easy but I can honestly say that every owner of Holiday Rambler has helped the product evolve into a better RV and I believe
Navistar is capable of taking that evolution to a whole new level,” Veurink said.
It was 1963 when Howard Veurink, then owner of Veurinks’ RV Center, first signed a dealer agreement with Klingler. That afternoon Veurink towed home a 19-foot rear gaucho Holiday Rambler travel trailer and parked it on his rented lot. By that evening he had sold his first Holiday Rambler. Since that time, the Veurink family has sold and serviced several thousand Holiday Rambler towable and motorized products.