For the 10th consecutive year, the Keystone Montana has been named the No. 1 retailing fifth-wheel, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) of Grand Rapids, Mich. This is an accomplishment no other fifth-wheel brand has ever achieved, Keystone noted in a news release.
In a letter to Keystone, SSI President Tom Walworth recognized Montana: “Statistical Surveys Inc. would like to congratulate the Keystone Montana Fifth Wheel for ten years of maintaining the number one spot based on retail sales for 2010 year end. This is not a feat easily accomplished; we understand that in order to maintain this it is the result of a team effort. So our congratulations to the Keystone team that keeps the Montana product in high demand with Fifth Wheel retail buyers.”
“The entire Montana team is looking forward to making it 11 straight in 2011,” emphasized Aram Koltookian, Montana group general manager. “We are grateful to our strong dealer network and loyal customers for Montana’s ongoing success.”
Among the steps Montana is taking to further solidify the brand’s leadership:
- Introducing the industry’s first arched roof which runs the entire length of the coach and creates additional ceiling height and feeling of openness, especially in the bedroom.
- Giving customers the option of adding the Big Sky Package with full paint exterior to most Montana models.
- Continuing to innovate with new floorplans, like the 3625RE which features a convenient “breakfast bar” in the rear living room and the 3700RL with a full wall hallway/bedroom slide that is prepped for side-by-side washer and dryer.
- Ramping up production in their new plant which is significantly larger than the previous Montana production facility.
Tiara RV in Elkhart, Ind., kicked off its spring selling season with a successful open house this past weekend.
“We were more than satisfied,” Brian Calhoun, sales manager, told RVBusiness.
The open house drew shoppers from as far away as 200 miles and generated some sales that would not have been made without the event, he said.
“People still perceive, ‘buy close to the manufacturer and save money,’” he said.
Internet sales are a vital part of Tiara’s business, generating approximately 75% of it sales, he added.
The dealership featured 2010 model towables and motorized products by Keystone RV Co., Four Winds International Corp., Forest River Inc., Carriage Inc. and KZRV LP.
He identified Keystone’s Montana and Carriage’s Cameo as the units garnering the most interest, but he also saw interest in motorized RVs and used product such as Keystone’s Springdale.
He said “fulltimer RVers and snowbirds” remain the dealership’s biggest customer base.
Tiara, which was founded in 2002, reported a record sales performance in the first quarter and expects to turn a profit this year.
“There is a buyer out there. There is a market, you just have to tap it,” he said. ”As long as the retail consumer is credit worthy, we have had no problem.”
Typical buyers have credit scores of 700 or better, “but bankers look at more factors than just the score. Some lenders still buy the people, he said, “if you have a good record of making payments and your debt to income ratio is not out of whack.”
Calhoun identified Tiara as “a pretty good discounter. But our profit margins have been good. We’re aggressive, especially in this kind of market because everyody is aggressive but there are buyers out there.”