Keystone RV Co. reported record sales during last week’s Elkhart County RV Open House, led by the newly revamped Montana fifth-wheel flagship brand.
According to Vice President of Sales Jeff Runels, each Keystone brand had a stellar show with record sales across all price points. “From our new single axle trailers to our ultralights, mid-profile fifth-wheels, toy haulers and luxury fifth-wheels, every brand exceeded expectations,” Runels stated in a press release. “We couldn’t be happier. While it is difficult to select one Keystone brand as ‘best in show.’ Montana simply knocked it out of the park with its completely redesigned models.”
Mark Rosenbaum, general manager of Mike Thompson RV Super Stores, noted, “As a longtime Montana dealer, our team feels the brand has raised its game to a whole new level with the right price points, eye appeal, and industry-leading floorplans like the 3791RD. A raised rear den with additional pass through storage in the rear – leave it to Montana to think of that first.”
Keystone Montana has remained the industry’s No. 1 retailing high profile fifth-wheel for 13 consecutive years. To ensure continued market leadership, the Montana product team took a fresh look at the brand from top to bottom.
“We invested a lot of time looking at how our product offering was matching up with what dealers felt they needed to dominate in their respective markets,” said Montana Product Manager Jason Gill. “This provided us with a roadmap for improvement through simplification of product line, target price points, innovative features, and extraordinary eye appeal. I believe at the Open House we displayed just that.
“With floorplans like our new elevated rear den (3791RD), we captured the functionality of massive exterior storage, the beauty of progressive interiors and exteriors, innovative features like our exclusive LED back-lighted crown molding that illuminates the vaulted ceiling, and provide the versatility of price point for each Montana model.”
Added Runels, “Montana is fortunate to have built close working relationships with the best dealers in North America. The feedback they provide results in continuous product improvements. Dealers will see additional improvements in the Montana line moving forward.”
“As a leader in the towable RV industry, we see continued growth opportunities in our core markets,” commented Matt Zimmerman, Keystone president. “Our investment in this new plant will allow us to expand travel trailer production and better serve our dealer partners. Our dealers are committed to Keystone and optimistic regarding the future of our market, providing us with the confidence to make a sizable investment of nearly $6 million in the new plant and related equipment.”
He added, “This additional capacity presents us with an opportunity to expand our product breadth and better meet the needs of our dealers and consumers with the high quality features and value they have come to expect from Keystone.”
Keystone’s new 120,000-square-foot travel trailer plant is the latest addition to a sprawling Keystone campus in Goshen. With this expansion program, Keystone expects to increase overall travel trailer production capacity, allowing the company to better meet the continued growth in demand for towable RVs.
Zimmerman noted, “Keystone is growing in a big way. It’s imperative that we continue to invest in our infrastructure to support that growth. Supplying product in a timely manner is critical for our dealers. This new investment will enable us to continue to deliver in a big way.”
Keystone RV Co.’s Alpine division will introduce a new 3900RE floorplan during next week’s Elkhart County RV Open House featuring a “Captain’s Quarters” complete with ramp garage, work bench, overhead storage and LED TV. According to a press release, this floorplan “adds a new twist” to one of Alpine’s top selling designs.
Alpine/Avalanche product manager Scott Parkhurst says that the inspiration for this crossover floorplan came from visiting with retail customers and dealers. Commented Parkhurst, “People told us they love the look and features of the Alpine, and would really welcome an area to work and haul bulky stuff. The 3900RE provides the benefits of a traditional toy hauler garage without compromising the comfort and convenience of a luxury fifth-wheel.”
The garage area in the 3900RE is purposely sized to accommodate an EZ GO golf cart or fully dressed Harley-Davidson Sportster 833 or Softail Classic. “We asked customers what they would like to haul and these were some of the larger toys they mentioned,” said Parkhurst. “We designed a garage to fit and satisfy their needs.”
Keystone group general manager Bren Lauck added, “It has been fun developing new ideas and concepts we can integrate into one of the best selling fifth-wheels in the market. The 3900RE is just one of five new floorplans the Alpine group will be showcasing at the Open House. We can’t wait to share with dealers all of the many upgrades.”
Keystone will show product at Sept. 16-18 Open House in Thor Industries Inc.’s exhibit area at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.
Keystone RV Co. reported that its Alpine Group generated strong retail sales in the first quarter, up over 27% for the period, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich. The Alpine Group consists of Keystone’s luxury fifth-wheel Alpine brand and the Avalanche high-profile fifth-wheel.
“These double-digit gains do not happen by accident,” says Keystone General Manager Bren Lauck in a press release. “Alpine has partnered with some of the strongest dealers in the industry to deliver innovative products with the features today’s buyer is looking for. As ‘The Next Generation’ fifth-wheel, Alpine will continue to offer our dealers the products customers cannot find anywhere else.”
Product Manager Scott Parkhurst added, “Over the past couple of years we have seen new competitors come and go as the flavor of the day. Most have started off like a new shiny toy but do not have the substance to last. We are fortunate to be associated with the right dealers who have made huge commitments to the product.”
The Alpine Group has introduced several new floorplans highlighted by the 3010RE, the first Alpine under 35 feet, and the 3590RS featuring a unique bedroom layout. Other features include “Summit Slides,” incorporating 7-foot-tall slideout rooms with massive storage and panoramic windows; stainless steel residential refrigerators with 70% more storage; and an entertainment center equipped with Bose Sound Bar, Samsung television, and Harmon/Kardon Bluetooth-enabled electronics.
The Alpine Group offers 14 different floorplans available with retail pricing ranging from $40,000 to $110,000.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind., is now home to a new Keystone Cougar fifth-wheel. The Goshen, Ind.-based company reported in a news release that Cougar joins the ranks of other classic, collectible, and modern RVs on display at the Hall as part of the industry’s ongoing RV lifestyle promotion.
The Keystone Cougar was named the No. 1 selling fifth-wheel for the second consecutive year in 2013, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.
“We are pleased to welcome the Keystone Cougar into the GoRVing Hall of the Museum,” stated RV/MH Hall of Fame President Darryl Searer. “When you compare the comforts and luxuries of the Cougar to campers from the past, you realize just how far we have come as an industry.”
The Cougar features three slideouts, an island kitchen, LED lighting and LCD TVs, as well as remote controls to operate many of the components. “By comparison, the 1937 Covered Wagon travel trailer showcased in the museum featured a canvas roof, leatherette sidewall and horsehair bed,” noted Searer. “It really is striking to see where we have been and where we are going.”
Cougar product manager Jeff Kloska added, “With over 100,000 visitors expected to the RV/MH Hall and Museum this year, this is an opportunity for Keystone, Cougar and the entire industry to sell the benefits of the modern RV lifestyle and encourage more families to Go RVing.”
Keystone RV Co.’s Sprinter line is now offering Samsung refrigerators in all rear-kitchen floorplans. According to Keystone, Sprinter is one of the lowest priced travel trailer and fifth-wheel lines with the residential refrigerator package.
Sprinter product manager Josh Miller says that the Samsung refrigerator upgrade fits the Sprinter mission to “make camping easy.”
“We hear from many campers who desire the added capacity of a true residential refrigerator like the Samsung,” Miller said. “With over 18 cubic feet of refrigerator and freezer space, the Samsung offers an impressive 70% more storage than the largest RV refrigerators. Not only does the Samsung refrigerator increase the amount of perishable foods the camper can take with them, it adds an unmistakable residential look and quality feel to the interior. The styling, high efficiency and huge capacity of the Samsung RF197AC create a residential kitchen unlike anything on the market.”
The Keystone Sprinter engineering team thoroughly tested the Samsung under rigorous RV conditions before adopting the unit. Dual batteries, power inverter and the refrigerator underwent an accelerated usage test equal to 47,000 miles at the Bosch Proving Grounds in South Bend, Ind. During this test a new Sprinter model 304RKS-WB was exposed to a grueling road-test cycle of inverted bumps, cobblestone roadway and torsional testing. The Sprinter and the residential refrigerator system passed with flying colors.
According to RV industry supplier RiverPark, the Samsung is perfect for use in RV’s like the Sprinter. Samsung offers industry leading features, including LED lighting, twin cooling system, and larger storage capacity coupled with a unique RV-friendly installation process.
“As Keystone’s very first brand, we at Sprinter are always looking for ways to improve the camping experience while providing our dealers with unique products in the marketplace,” said Miller. “The rear kitchen floorplans with Samsung residential refrigeration now offer our dealers a Sprinter exclusive not available on any other brand at this price point.”
Keystone RV Co.’s Cougar division announced the introduction of its ninth new floorplan in recent months with the launch of the new 338PAT featuring an “industry-first party deck” for the mid-profile fifth-wheel segment.
The Goshen, Ind.-based builder reported in a press release that the 38-foot Cougar boasts a huge ramp deck in the rear of the coach. The spring-assisted ramp easily opens to create an 8-foot-by-11-foot party area equipped with 40-inch TV and entertainment center, outdoor refrigerator, storage, second awning and side rails. The 3-foot area immediately inside the deck can be used to store bicycles, camping gear or other bulky items when in transport.
“With the growing popularity of RVs and the resurgence of younger buyers into the marketplace, the need for fresh, innovative ideas has become more important than ever,” said Cougar product manager Jeff Kloska. “The new 338PAT will appeal to families with children as well as active couples. This floorplan is loaded with the features that have made Cougar the best-selling fifth-wheel, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., for two straight years.”
The 338PAT is equipped with three sliderooms — one in the bedroom and two in the living/kitchen area—resulting in an increased amount of living space. The executive island kitchen features solid-surface countertops, stainless steel sink with pull-out faucet, cityscape cherry cabinetry, brick backsplash and built in wine rack. Full-width windows above the sofa/kitchen slide let in an abundance of natural light while the flush-floor mid-deck includes a bathroom with 60-inch residential shower, full walk-around orthopedic bed, full height wardrobe and washer/dryer prep.
“Cougar dealers have come to expect the newest and most innovative designs,” states Kloska. “By continuously updating our floorplan mix, our dealers will stay two steps ahead of the competition while offering the consumer floorplans they cannot find anywhere else.”
During his weekly Velocity Channel television show, ATV personality Brian Fisher will be sporting a brand new toy — the fully loaded, Raptor 412TS fifth-wheel toy hauler by Keystone RV Co. Not only will Fisher feature the Raptor on his weekly Velocity program, Fisher’s ATV World, but the 42-foot coach will become part of his lifestyle as he travels the United States and Canada promoting ATVs and family fun.
Fisher said in a press release that with the ATV market predicted to grow over the next five years, he expects many of these “well-heeled buyers” to take his lead and opt for the higher-end toy hauler. “We cater to a family sport — mom, dad, a couple of children and maybe some of their friends. The Raptor is the perfect enhancement to this lifestyle,” he said. “With frame-welded tie-downs in the garage, each rated at 5,000 pounds, we know our toys will be secure. The Raptor Garmin system delivers navigation, back-up camera, and security all in one easy to use package. And the patio with steps coming off the rear of the deck makes it easy to relax after a long day on the trail.”
“The Raptor is the perfect choice for us,” commented Fisher. “During the production of our weekly TV series we will be visiting some of the most popular and exciting ATV locations in all of North America. Melissa, my wife, and I will use the Raptor as our home away from home. The huge 12-foot garage is perfect for hauling our ATVs, the dual 30-gallon fuel tanks mean we do not have to lug around gas cans, and the living accommodations inside the coach are superior to many luxury hotels. These are features that will appeal to many ATV enthusiasts.”
Raptor product manager Jim Rzepka noted, “We are excited and honored that Fisher and his Velocity Channel TV program have chosen a Raptor. Now over 68-million households will have the opportunity to view the Raptor every week on Fisher’s program. These families are part of an exploding ATV lifestyle. They are heading outdoors on weekends to a few weeks at a time, often at remote locations. They don’t want to give up the comforts of home. Raptor is the perfect complement to their lifestyle.”
Keystone RV Co. reported that its Hideout brand of entry-level travel trailers and fifth-wheels experienced record growth in 2013, as well as a strong start to 2014.
Hideout travel trailers, fifth-wheels and Retreat destination trailers closed 2013 with a 22% retail increase in the United States and Canada, based on internal retail registrations. Through February 2014, retail sales numbers in North America are up 56% year-to-date over 2013. According to Hideout/Retreat product manager Jason Gill this growth makes Hideout one of the fastest growing entry-level brand in the industry.
“Several factors go into Hideout’s tremendous growth,” stated Gill. “We believe we have the best dealers in the industry, dealers who are committed to delivering a first class consumer experience. Along with this, Keystone is focused on overall quality, fit and finish, and superior back-end support. We understand that consumers will most likely direct frustration with poor quality and service toward the dealer. It is Keystone’s focus to deliver a pleasurable ownership experience and let dealers have a better opportunity to cultivate repeat buyer’s, particularly with our entry-level product.”
Keystone Hideout brands earned the prestigious RVDA DSI award in 2013. The award is based on results of a nationwide Dealer Satisfaction Survey of RVDA member dealerships and ranks dealer satisfaction in the areas of vehicle design and reliability, competitive advantage, communications, and sales and service support.
In addition to unit quality and support, Gill emphasizes that Hideout’s product mix is right on target for today’s entry level market. “Hideout is focused on delivering travel trailers and fifth wheels with the right features at the right price,” he said. “Our aggressively priced, full-featured Hideout Luxury and Hideout LHS offerings hit a wider price point segment of the market and give our dealers more chances to win business and make a bigger impact on their market.”
The employees of Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. retained their status in 2013 as Elkhart County’s top contributor to the local United Way.
According to a press release, United Way of Elkhart County president/CEO Bill Rieth recently presented Keystone President Matt Zimmerman with a distinguished service award.
“Throughout the years Keystone has been a shining light in our community” stated Rieth. “During this winter, when you hear of a family who has lost their home because of a fire, know that Keystone’s contributions have helped provide food and shelter for that family. Another example is when you see children walking to school, know that 5,000 kids every day are involved in education programs because of you.
“Not only does the company provide employment to nearly 3,000 families, through the generous contributions of the employees much good is done. With Keystone’s help, thousands of individuals in Elkhart County have known a better life.”
Zimmerman noted, “I am very proud of our incredible keystone family. Year in and year out, our employees lead the way. We feel as leaders of the RV industry we have an even greater responsibility to be leaders in our community and we all pitch in to help.”
Keystone RV Co.’s fast-growing Bullet Ultra Lite Division announced the appointment of Nick Sweazy as product manager.
According to a press release, Sweazy previously served as the brand’s district sales manager for the northeast United States and eastern Canada.
A member of the sales and product team since shortly after the brand’s beginning in 2009, Sweazy is looking forward to leading the Bullet team. “Bullet is on a roll,” he said. “Thanks to our enthusiastic dealer network as well as the upgrades we continue to make to the product line, retail sales are up 23% year-to-date, according to the latest Statistical Surveys report. Business will only get better with the addition of the new floorplans and features we will introduce at Louisville.”
Keystone Bullet is available in a full-featured trim level and now offers full-depth slides in most floorplans. The Bullet Premier model features a vaulted ceiling, frameless windows and a gel-coat fiberglass front cap.
“With the availability of Bullet and Premier our dealers can offer the retail customer a choice of over 23 floorplans, many featuring island kitchens, larger slides and more storage,” added Sweazy. “Within the Bullet brand, our dealers can satisfy the needs of virtually every ultra-lite buyer.”
According to Keystone group general manager Brian Hyde, himself a former Bullet product manager, Bullet will continue to stay focused on what has made the brand successful while responding to the ever changing needs of the market.
“Nick and the team have put together a winning plan where we want to take the brand in the future while maintaining our core strengths,” he said. “Our dealers will get a taste of this next month at the Louisville Show.”
A graduate of Purdue University, Sweazy resides in Elkhart. He can be reached at (574) 535-2128 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honesdale/Poconos Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) owners Tim and Deb Cartmell, left, present a new Keystone Cougar travel trailer to KOA Great Giveaway Contest winner Megon Dorward and her fiance, Bill Burkit recently at the C. Neer RV dealership in Equinunk, Pa. Also pictured are the Cartmell’s children, Caleb and Chava, as well as Autrey, Chuck and Chris Neer from C. Neer RV, the official dealer for Keystone RV Co. “The RV is absolutely incredible and we can’t wait to go out,” an excited Dorward said after seeing her prize. She and Burkit plan to marry on Dec. 3. “The camper is so much nicer than we could have gotten on our own,” Dorward said. “I can’t even put into words how incredibly life-changing this is for us. We are going to have so much fun.” The 2013 Great RV Giveaway Contest received nearly 3 million total entries from throughout North America.
Keystone RV Co.’s Passport Ultra Lite division has announced the appointment of Ryan Shuff as product manager. According to a press release, Shuff is a 10-year industry veteran, having served as Passport district sales manager for the past six years.
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead Passport’s continued growth,” said Shuff. “Thanks to our dealers, Passport has earned the position as the No. 1 selling ultralite in the $20,000 to $25,000 price point over the past four years. We will continue to give our dealers products that sell quickly and return high profits.”
The Keystone Passport is available in three trim levels and 25 floorplans. Manufactured in both Goshen, Ind., and Pendleton, Ore., Passport offers a full-featured ultralite starting at about 3500 pounds shipping weight.
According to Keystone group general manager Bren Lauck, the ultralite market is exploding as new, higher MPG vehicles hit the road. “With our standout mix of floorplans, best prices and lowest weights, we expect Passport to capitalize on the surging demand for ultralites,” he said. “Our dealers will be thrilled with what they see from Passport at Louisville later this year.” Shuff resides in Middlebury and can be reached at (574) 535-1475 or email@example.com.
Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. announced the appointment of two new general managers. According to a press release, Brian Hyde has been named general manager for the Bullet, Outback and Raptor lines while Bren Lauck is general manager for the Alpine/Avalanche, Laredo and Passport lines.
Hyde served as Bullet product manager over the past three years with prior experience as district sales manager for Keystone Outback.
With over 17 years of industry experience, Lauck has led the Passport Ultra Lite team as product manager since 2009.
“Bren and Brian bring a track record of strong dealer relationships and product success,” said Keystone vice president of sales Jeff Runels. “The brands they have spearheaded as product managers are two of Keystone’s fastest growing divisions. Bren and Brian’s leadership skills and the rapport they have built with our dealer partners over many years are essential to our success. They are committed to carrying out their new responsibilities with the same enthusiasm and integrity.”
Hyde resides in Warsaw and can be reached at (574) 535-1471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Lauck also resides in Warsaw and can be reached at (574) 535-1446 or email@example.com.
With the addition of Hyde and Lauck, the Keystone executive product team is now set, and includes:
• Bren Lauck, general manager: Passport, Laredo, Alpine, Avalanche.
• Brian Hyde, general manager: Bullet/Premier, Outback, Raptor.
• Kyle Kwasny, general manager: Cougar, Hideout/Hornet, Retreat.
• Ryan Juday, general manager: Fuzion, Residence, Springdale, Sprinter.
• Jeff Runels, vice president sales: Montana group.
Keystone RV Co.’s Montana line has built strong brand recognition with consumers, ranking among the top-selling fifth-wheels for the past 13 years. As evidence of the brand’s popularity, around 125 rigs gathered at Indiana’s Elkhart County Fairgrounds to mark the 10th anniversary of the Montana Owners Club Rally, running through Oct. 2. Montana Owners Club wagonmaster Jim Schlee reported that the attendance represented a record for the organization as rigs filled all the available spaces at the fairgrounds. RVers from across the U.S. and Canada made the trek, including a dozen first-time rally attendees and a number of new Montana owners. Earning distinction as the “longest distance traveled,” one loyal Montana owner hailed from Australia. Montana Product Manager Mike Mack noted, “We think this record-setting rally speaks to the popularity of the Montana brand and our enthusiastic owners. In a day and age when many clubs are perceived as struggling, the Montana Owners Club is vibrant, alive and growing.” Mack, along with other Keystone personnel, were meeting with owners throughout the rally. In addition, a factory tour is planned today (Sept. 27) to Keystone’s campus in Goshen. “A highlight for us will be the opportunity to unveil the all-new Montana to MOC rally attendees, Mack said. “We have no doubt our owners will love the completely redesigned Montana as much as our dealers did at last week’s Open House.”