Jayco Corp. announced today (Feb. 24) that it has entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) to acquire Shipshewana, Ind.-based Open Range RV Co.
According to a press release, the letter of intent “contemplates a transaction between the two companies and is subject to the execution of a definitive agreement between the two parties.”
Open Range RV will operate as a wholly owned and separate subsidiary while Randy Graber will remain as president. “The two companies are a natural match,” said Graber. “Culturally speaking, both Jayco and Open Range enjoy strong relationships with their dealer body, recognizing the importance of maintaining a partnership style association.”
With growth in excess of 20% annually, the management of Open Range recognized in order to maintain and further increase that type of growth, it was necessary to partner with a larger organization. “I am extremely excited to be able to take Open Range to the next level. It’s a dream come true.” said Graber.
Derald Bontrager, president and CEO of Middlebury-based Jayco, noted, “Open Range will be a perfect addition to the Jayco family. We are thrilled to partner with someone like Randy Graber who has such vast industry experience and innovative product knowledge.”
Jayco Inc. approved the launch of its new Jay Smart, a line of Euro-styled, ultra-lightweight RVs. According to a press release, the new line of towables is slated to be built on Jayco’s campus in Middlebury, Ind.
Jayco displayed a prototype of the Jay Smart during the 2013 Louisville Show. The company reported that dealers’ reaction was “overwhelmingly positive” to the modernized, easy-to-tow and lightweight travel trailer.
“With the knowledge and experience we’ve gained from building this new family of lightweight products, we’re confident our dealers will gain an even stronger competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said COO Jim Jacobs. “It wouldn’t surprise me if along the way we find ways of incorporating some of the design and engineering elements discovered in building the Jay Smart into our other product offerings.”
Formal introduction of the Jay Smart will occur at Jayco’s annual Homecoming event taking place in San Antonio, Texas, the week of June 23.
Initial offerings of the Jay Smart will include four floorplans in 19-, 22- and two 26-foot lengths. Each unit will be built with the same streamlined, contemporary look highlighted at Louisville.
Brian Donat, an industry veteran, will continue as a product design consultant for the Jay Smart. Donat’s knowledge of the European marketplace is a valuable asset and contributed greatly to the positive response from the dealer network, the company said.
The relocation by Jayco Inc. of its toy hauler travel trailers and fifth-wheels to a refurbished 55,000-square-foot building has created 30 jobs already and could result in 30 more in the next 12 months.
According to a report by the South Bend Tribune, the move will allow Jayco to better meet the current demand for its Octane and Seismic toy hauler units.
The company currently has about 1,600 employees at its 373-acre Middlebury, Ind., campus, Sid Johnson, a company spokesman said. The first 30 jobs at the refurbished facility were added over the past four months.
The completed expansion is separate from the one the company announced in November of 2012. As part of that project, Jayco invested $2.9 million to add a 77,000-square-foot extension to an existing 62,000-square-foot facility on its campus.
That space is being used to build the Entegra Coach, the company’s high-end motor home. The company already has added about half of the 65 jobs that were projected by 2015, Johnson said.
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Jayco Inc. announced today (Jan. 15) that it has relocated manufacturing operations for its toy hauler travel trailers and fifth-wheels to a 55,000-square-foot facility on its main campus in Middlebury, Ind.
According to a press release, the toy hauler production line was moved to dedicated facility to focus on growth in the segment.
“The increase in our production capacity will allow us to better meet the current demand for our Octane and Seismic toy hauler units,” said Rick Gallmeyer, operations manager.
Company officials said that 30 new jobs have been created, with another 30 expected over the next 12 months. Production in the new plant began last week.
Jayco Inc. wrapped up its 12th Annual Marketing and Skills Training for Excellence in RV Sales (MASTERS) on Wednesday (Nov. 20), setting a record for the number of attendees with more than 540 participants split between two consecutive weeks of training at its corporate offices in Middlebury, Ind.
During the two sessions, sales personnel from Jayco’s dealerships throughout the U.S. and Canada received intensive training on Jayco’s 2014 model year lineup and saw firsthand how Jayco operates and builds its RVs.
“MASTERS is designed to provide our dealers’ retail sales personnel with the knowledge and tools needed to successfully sell Jayco’s extensive lines of RVs.” said Jim Jacobs, Jayco COO. “The positive feedback we continue to receive about the MASTERS program, and the fact that we continue to set records for the number of attendees, makes this training program an important part of our overall selling effort.”
The dealer sales representatives attended classes led by the regional sales managers, covering each of Jayco’s product lines. Each class provides important product features and benefits to help retail sales personnel increase sales penetration for their dealership.
“These retail sales representatives are the front line for Jayco and we feel educating them on our products and company through our MASTERS program is essential.” said Jacobs.
Jayco Inc. has been awarded the prestigious Quality Circle DSI Award for the seventh consecutive year by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). According to a press release, the awards were received for several of the company’s towable and motorized brands, including Eagle Premier, Eagle HT, Jay Feather, Jay Flight, Jay Flight Swift, Jay Flight Swift SLX, Jay Flight DST, Jay Flight Bungalow, Pinnacle and White Hawk.
The annual RVDA Quality Circle award is presented each year to RV manufacturers who achieve top scores in dealer surveys in the areas of product design and quality, sales support, warranty/parts support and communication. The awards will be presented to Jayco on Dec. 2 during the RVDA Dealers Reception at the Crowne Plaza Hotel just prior to the opening of the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
“Over the years, our partnership with our dealers has played a major role in our overall mission and strategy,” said Jayco COO Jim Jacobs. “They are our ambassadors in the marketplace. For them to honor us in this way is a source of pride and confidence in our future success.”
Jayco Inc. today (Oct. 15) announced that its founding family has established a social impact investment fund to provide economic assistance for poor communities in developing countries in Latin America. The fund, to be known as the “Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager Jayco Legacy Fund,” will invest early stage capital (micro-loans) with small businesses to improve the lives of families throughout Central and South America and in the Caribbean.
According to a press release, the fund will begin operation with financial contributions from Jayco and the family of founder Lloyd Bontrager and, eventually, it hopes to include both employees and Jayco dealers as benefactors for the fund.
In making the announcement, Jayco Chairman Wilbur Bontrager said, “The success of our business work provides us with the opportunity of doing our part to help the less fortunate. Our aim with this ongoing funding is to bring dignity and joy to the working poor throughout the Americas by helping them grow sustainable, locally owned businesses and farms that are not dependent on charity for survival. The difference between poverty and prosperity often hinges on the success of small businesses.
“We know that lack of capital and credit are among the biggest problems facing the farmers and small businesses in Latin America. The ‘Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager Jayco Legacy Fund’ will help address these issues.”
The charitable fund will operate through a financial arm of the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), an international development association that creates sustainable solutions to poverty and spurs community growth for millions of families each year. Like Jayco, MEDA has a long history of innovation, and is a trusted partner known for value, integrity and vision.
Jayco Inc.’s Motorized Division announced today (Sept. 25) that Andy Baer has been named vice president of sales for the privately held Middlebury, Ind., company’s growing motorized operations. According to a press release, Baer last served as vice president of sales and marketing for KZRV LP, a towable RV manufacturer based in nearby Shipshewana, Ind.
Wednesday’s announcement regarding Baer, a well known industry executive and now a former board member of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) since his board seat was KZ’s, comes after Tadd Jenkins recently stepped away from the position after nearly five years. Jenkins has reportedly purchased a Chevrolet dealership in Idaho.
Baer has close to 20 years of experience in the RV industry with 10 of those years focused on luxury motorcoaches with Texas-based Foretravel Inc.
“I believe Andy’s experience with high-end coaches and personal attributes will fit uniquely with our Jayco Motorized Division.” said John Ganyard, general manager and vice president of Jayco motorized. “We’re thrilled to have someone with Andy’s RV industry knowledge join our team.”
Baer will start his Jayco employment Oct. 7. In his new role, he will manage and oversee all Jayco motorhome and Entegra Coach sales personnel.
Jayco Inc. will display 70 units between its towable and motorized divisions at its Middlebury, Ind., campus next week during the Elkhart County RV Open house, Sept. 17 – 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to a press release, Jayco will display many exciting changes to its model year 2014 products as well as new unit introductions.
Jayco’s motorhome division is using the Open House to launch the new Melbourne 4X4. The four-wheel drive motorhome is currently available with one floorplan, the 29X, and will have two exterior paint options.
“We’re excited to bring this Melbourne 4X4 to market and introduce it to our dealers first at the open house,” said John Ganyard, vice president and general manager of the motorhome division, noting the motorhome division will have 12 units on display. “It will target a new market previously missed by Jayco motorized products.”
In addition, the Eagle towable line will have several new changes and floorplans on display for the first time at the Open House. The Eagle travel trailer series has been redesigned and repositioned to meet the demands of the market while the Eagle Premier and Eagle HT fifth-wheels will also feature new models.
“Having our newly redesigned Eagle travel trailers on display for our dealers to see for the first time is exciting,” said Dave Eash, vice president of Jayco Towable Sales. “Our dealers have been asking for some changes to this line and we listened. We feel the suggestions we have put into actions will exceed dealers’ and consumers’ expectations.”
Jayco will also exhibit the expanded White Hawk line and additional floorplans to the “ultra-aggressive” Jay Feather SLX line. There will be 57 towable units on display.
Entegra Coach will have five motorcoaches on display at the Jayco complex. Jayco and Entegra Coach regional sales managers will be onsite during the open house hours Tuesday through Thursday to talk with dealers.
Jayco Inc. announced today (July 18) that Director of Marketing Sid Johnson will be stepping down from his full-time position, effective Aug. 5. According to a news release, Chuck Lasley will replace Johnson, assuming the role of vice president of corporate marketing.
Lasley has served for over two years as a regional sales manager for Jayco’s motorized division. He joined the Middlebury, Ind.-based company after an 18-year career with major industry publications, including Trailer Life and MotorHome.
Jayco said that Johnson, who has logged more than 20 years as a member of Jayco’s management team, will continue to work on a part-time basis for several months.
“Sid plans to retire from his day-to-day involvement with the company,” said Jayco COO Jim Jacobs. “The interim period will give Chuck and Sid enough time to ensure a smooth and thorough transition.”
In addition to his duties with Jayco, Johnson has served in many capacities with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), including chairman of the Market Information Committee from 2006 to 2011. He was also a member of the Go RVing Coalition and Seasonal Camping Committee, and received RVIA’s Special Award in 2011. Prior to joining Jayco, Johnson was a marketing executive with Coachmen Industries Inc.
“Jayco’s marketing programs have played a key role in the company’s outstanding growth over the past several years,” said Jacobs. “The marketing department has led the way in developing and implementing our brand strategy. Chuck’s knowledge and experience will be a significant benefit as we continue to build the Jayco name in the years ahead.”