Mike Thompson RV continues to expand its product line, adding Keystone RV Co.’s new Vantage travel trailer, which was unveiled during the Elkhart County RV Open House in September.
“It’s such an exciting time to be in the RV industry and have the opportunity to represent awesome new products that are perfect for today’s RV buyer,” said Mark Rosenbaum, sales director at Calif.-based Mike Thompson RV, in a press release. “Once again Keystone RV is setting the bar for the rest of the industry. We are proud to represent the new Vantage line travel trailer. It’s the perfect fit for the first time buyer or a step up from a smaller travel trailer without the big price tag.”
The Vantage trailer offers “timeless design while incorporating cutting-edge construction technology,” according to Keystone. Features include:
• Laminated high-gloss gel-coat curved sidewalls, curved corners and arched ceilings increase Vantage’s livable space.
• Lightweight construction technology.
• Euro-style interior that features contemporary-glazed maple cabinets and two-tone fascia, and extra storage.
• LED lighting inside and out; front and rear fiberglass caps and minimal graphic coverage.
Mike Thompson RV Superstores’ California locations include outlets in Colton, Santa Fe Springs, and Orange County with two locations in Fountain Valley. For more information visit www.mikethompson.com.
Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. recently completed another successful United Way fund drive, marking the 15th consecutive year Keystone has participated, according to a news release.
Even in this difficult economy, Keystone employees contributed over $140,000, making the company the No. 1 United Way contributor in Elkhart County. Since 1998, Keystone RV has raised a total of nearly $2.4 million and has been the No. 1 United Way contributor in Elkhart County nine of the past 10 years.
“I am so proud that the Keystone family continues to step up and support those in the community who need our help,” says Bob Martin, Keystone RV president. “We all live and work in this community. Our family and friends are here. We are a big part of the community and the community is a big part of our lives. It says something positive about the character of the Keystone employee that when times get tough, we dig deeper. ”
United Way of Elkhart County executive vice president Jessica Koscher, noted, “Keystone offers a great example of corporate philanthropy. They are dedicated to creating a better community and their employees demonstrate this every year during the United Way Campaign.
“They have had an unwavering commitment to Elkhart County during good and lean times. Because of Keystone, United Way has had the ability to continue to hone in on key issues, move ahead and support new and innovative programs in a time where many are only treading water.”
Keystone RV Co.’s Bullet ultralight travel trailers are now rolling off the production line at the Goshen, Ind.-based builder’s facility in Pendleton, Ore.
According to a press release, Bullet has seen strong market share growth in 2011, following its product launch in December of 2009. Keystone said that with a 48% market share gain, Bullet is one of the fastest growing laminated trailers of the top 40 brands and has climbed to No. 6 in retail sales of ultralight units, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. The Keystone Bullet also garnered its second consecutive DSI Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) this past October.
Ramping up West Coast production will enable Bullet to further increase sales, according to Bullet product manager Brian Hyde. “By opening up production in Pendleton, Bullet is ideally positioned to meet the needs of our western dealers and their customers,” he said.
In addition to the new manufacturing facility in Oregon, Bullet is adding key features to the line, including new exterior graphics, a slideroom system that creates additional living space and several new floorplans. “One of the big changes that excites Bullet dealers is the launch of a Bullet ultralight fifth-wheel for half-ton buyers,” says Hyde. “We will be introducing our second fifth-wheel floorplan at Louisville. This floorplan features a bunkhouse bedroom with an incredible amount of storage.”
Keystone’s Pendleton facility today consists of four production lines and support facilities, totaling 203,000 square feet under roof. In addition to Bullet, the facility also produces Keystone Springdale, Passport, Hideout, Cougar and Energy travel trailers and fifth-wheels.
Befitting its reputation as the “next generation” fifth-wheel, Keystone RV Co.’s Alpine has introduced a number of new product enhancements heading into the 2012 show season.
According to a press release, changes include decors featuring “Ralph Lauren” fabrics, full paint exterior options, larger showers and a new front lounge floorplan with stadium seating.
“When we first introduced the Alpine 18 months ago, we made it our goal to continually stay ahead of the curve,” states Scott Parkhurst, Alpine/Avalanche product manager. “The features we now offer clearly set Alpine apart from any other RV on the market.”
One example, Parkhurst notes, is the use of “Ralph Lauren” fabrics. “I believe our interior designers have done an outstanding job of conveying Ralph Lauren’s unique sense of style,” said Parkhurst. “When you walk into an Alpine with ‘Ralph Lauren’ fabrics, you will instantly know you are looking at something special.”
Another new addition to the Alpine line is the choice of full paint exterior options. According to Parkhurst, Alpine owners can personalize their unit by selecting from three beautiful exterior color schemes.
The Alpine also features a new front lounge floorplan. The 3495FL floorplan provides generous living room seating with stadium seats on one wall opposite a full‐sized sofa sleeper, as well as a 40-inch LCD and fireplace at the head of the room. “We’ve also designed this floorplan to include a large gourmet kitchen, with stainless steel appliances and four-door refrigerator,” Parkhurst said.
Keystone’s Alpine/Avalanche recently reached a milestone when the division posted its 1,600th retail sale. The Alpine and Avalanche have become a Top 10 fifth-wheel brand in less than two years, and year‐to‐ date growth is pegged at 150%, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Keystone RV Co.’s Raptor division has introduced its 2012 Velocity toy hauler, the brand’s Limited Edition model.
According to a press release, the 2012 Velocity is available for immediate delivery and includes a number of enhanced set-apart features designed, including:
• Distinctive, new exterior “monochrome” graphics highlighting the Velocity name.
• Eye appealing glass insert doors.
• Track storage system in the pass thru to help eliminate clutter.
• Third TV in bedroom.
• Heat pump A/C for greater efficiency.
According to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., Raptor is the No. 1 selling toy hauler in North America over the past seven years.
“We’ve taken the most popular selling toy hauler in history (the Raptor) and given it even more of an attitude,” said Product Manager Jim Rzeoka. “In appearance, functionality, and downright luxury, there is nothing else like it. Consumers will fall in love with the total look and features; our dealers will be thrilled by the competitive advantage Velocity gives them. Velocity is a win for everyone.”
Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. president Bob Martin has announced the promotion of two key sales executives. Matt Zimmerman has been named vice president of sales with responsibility for all Keystone brands while Jeff Runels has been promoted to general manager, according to a press release.
In his new role, Zimmerman will work with the Keystone sales organization to help focus on new product and innovation, as well as to continue to build strong relations between Keystone and its dealers.
“Keystone has earned the reputation of being a product focused company,” said Zimmerman. “The key to our success is that we are product driven. By assuming some of the day-to-day operational and strategic duties our GMs previously carried out, I will be freeing them up to focus on new product, new innovations, and increased market share. I am enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead for Keystone RV and our dealer partners.” Zimmerman has been with Keystone 12 years, starting as a district sales manager and most recently as general manager.
As general manager, Runels will be responsible for the Cougar, Sprinter and the Vantage product lines. Runels began his career at Keystone six years ago as Cougar district sales manager and was promoted to Cougar product manager in 2007. He also has been instrumental in Cougar’s growth, helping the brand become the No. 1 retailing laminated travel trailer and fifth-wheel in North America.
Martin said these promotions reflect Keystone’s ongoing commitment to better serve its customers. “Matt and Jeff have achieved outstanding success at Keystone developing strong relationships with our dealers,” said Martin. “We look forward to building upon these relationships as Keystone grows. We are fortunate to have such a quality team with the ability to promote from within the company.”
Zimmerman is a native of Elkhart and currently resides with his wife and two young children in Bristol. Runels, a native of Battle Creek, Michigan, resides in Syracuse, Ind.
Barbara and Robert Thomas of Orland, Calif., were selected from nearly 100,000 entries as the big winners of the “Kamping In Style Giveaway,” sponsored by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and Keystone RV Co. The couple was surprised on their rural Orland farmstead Monday (Oct. 3) morning by a “prize patrol” that delivered a new 28-foot, 2012 Keystone Springdale camping trailer. Pictured in the photo are Barbara and Robert Thomas (at right) visit with Kampgrounds of America Inc. CEO Jim Rogers (second from left) and Kevin Warren (left), district sales manager of Springdale RV Co., after being presented with their grand prize. The “Kamping In Style Giveaway” was prominently featured in one million copies of the 2011-2012 edition of the KOA Directory, as well as on both the KOA.com website and the Keystone RV website. Barbara Thomas’s name was randomly selected from all of the entries gathered throughout North America. They also won 10 free nights of KOA camping, as well as VIP status in KOA’s Value Kard Rewards program, which affords them additional savings on all of their future KOA camping. Barbara Thomas said she and Robert first purchased a “very used” travel trailer to provide temporary housing for one of their two sons, but decided to take it camping this summer at the Westport Beach/North Mendocino Coast KOA in California. Soon after, they received an e-mail inviting them to enter the “Kamping In Style Getaway” contest.
Keystone RV Co. marked a milestone Monday (Sept. 19) as the builder rolled its 500,000th unit off the assembly line through its headquarters in Goshen, Ind., and its facilities in Pendleton, Ore. Fittingly, the landmark RV was a Sprinter travel trailer, the company’s original brand. Founded in 1996 by six industry veterans, including Cole Davis, Keystone has grown to become the number one manufacturer of towable RVs. A quick ceremony was held in Goshen to commemorate the event, attended by members of the Holiday World of Houston management team and Keystone personnel. Shown in the photo are (L-R) representatives of Holiday World of Houston: Al Camacho, Las Cruces, N.M., location: Lenny Martynowicz, Michael Peay’s business partner; Michael Peay, president of Holiday World of Houston; Bob Martin, President Keystone RV; Charlie Power, general manager; Kevin Hoffpauir, general sales manager, Matt Zimmerman, group general manager Keystone RV.
Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. unveiled its Vantage Tuesday (Sept. 20) at Elkhart County’s 4th Annual RV Open House Week, embodying a new concept in RV travel trailer styling that, according to Keystone President Bob Martin, evokes “timeless design while incorporating cutting-edge construction technology.”
Designed and built in a separate facility that Martin playfully described as “Area 51” — “only about 20 people from our operations group had access to it,” he noted — the Vantage was kept under wraps within the Keystone display at parent company Thor Industries Inc.’s expansive exhibition on the grounds of the RV/MH Hall of Fame until it was revealed to dealers Tuesday morning.
“The Vantage is a new product that actually was the brainchild of our senior operations group,” Martin told RVBUSINESS.COM. “They wanted to do something that’s a different construction process, that looks different, is timeless, sleek and sexy. It started from the ground-up, as a project that is something that’s just not in the industry today.”
The Vantage incorporates vacuum-bonded radius walls both inside and outside, unique front and back molded caps, lighting throughout and, for its size, a surprisingly light towing weight.
“It’s not intentionally an ultra-lightweight,” Martin said, “but due to some of our construction techniques — vacuum-bonded sidewalls, laminated construction — it comes in fairly light. This is a larger unit — we wanted to build a larger one first just to see what the weight would end up being — and at 33 feet it weighs in at about 6,500 pounds.”
The 33-foot floorplan will probably be the largest Vantage built, Martin added, and will ultimately be offered in an entire range of sizes, down into the smaller 20-foot lengths.
According to Martin, the Vantage is not technically a wide-body, “but it is 101 inches.” He noted, “When you get inside with a lot of large people, we fit. It’s a nice feel.”
In an effort to draw attention to its product display and 2012 lineup during Elkhart County’s 4th Annual RV Open House Week, Sept. 19-23, Keystone RV Co. has released this spy photo of a new “top secret RV” slated for an 11 a.m., Sept. 20, unveiling at the Thor division’s display at the RV/MH Hall of Fame on CR 17 in Elkhart, Ind. “The name of the product is Vantage, and it targets the sweet spot of the travel trailer market,” a Keystone executive reports. “Construction is unlike anything in the industry today. As you can see from the photo, the look of the Vantage is sleek, yet classic, with plenty of ‘curve’ appeal.” In an RVBUSINESS.com posting earlier this week, Group General Manager Matt Zimmerman said the Vantage does not compete with existing Keystone brands and is a “game-changing” new development.