Keystone RV Co.’s Montana fifth-wheel has been selected as the recipient of the first annual Trailer Life Readers’ Choice Award.
Conducted online at TrailerLife.com, the Readers’ Choice Award encouraged thousands of readers to vote in 25 categories among 104 brands for their favorite RV products. Montana is one of Keystone’s most popular brands and has been the top-retailing fifth-wheel over the past 11 years, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Trailer Life Group Publisher Bob Livingston noted that the “typical” reader is a sophisticated buyer, many having previously owned two, three or more RVs. “Our readers know what they like, and what accessories and services enhance their lifestyle,” he said. “Kudos to Montana for earning this demanding group’s endorsement.”
According to Aram Koltookian, Keystone group general manager, Montana has strived to develop close ties with the RV consumer throughout the brand’s 15-year history. “We focus on listening to our customers and continuously improving our product,” states Koltookian. “Many of the features you find in today’s Montana are the result of staying close to the customer. In addition, our emphasis on practical innovation has pushed the brand to the cutting edge of luxury fifth wheel design.”
For more information about the Keystone Montana visit www.keystonerv.com/montana.
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) recently announced the winner in its 50th Anniversary Giveaway, presenting Marcia Maslyn with a travel trailer from Keystone RV Co.
According to a press release, Maslyn was selected from among 250,000 entries to win the trailer, valued at $40,000.
“This is just unbelievable,” Maslyn said. “We’ve had a Keystone Cougar fifth-wheel in the past, but we decided to was a bit too big. This new Keystone is going to be so much fun.”
Camping enthusiasts from throughout North America have been entering the KOA contest since last March. Maslyn’s name was randomly selected on Nov. 1.
Rob and Rachel Kaiser, owners of KOA franchises in Medina and Houghton, N.Y., made the short drive to Maslyn’s residence in Clifton Springs to deliver the news.
The Maslyns are dedicated campers, logging thousands of miles on cross-country camping trips. “We always love our KOA stays,” she said. “And now we’ll get to travel in that beautiful new Keystone RV. I just can’t believe it.”
KOA reported it will be working with Keystone again in 2013 in the next giveaway.
Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. announced the addition of Dixie RV SuperStores in Hammond, La., as its newest dealer of the Montana fifth-wheel brand.
According to a press release, Dixie RV is one of the southeast’s largest full line/full service dealerships.
“We are thrilled to have Dixie join the Montana team,” says Mike Mack, Montana product manager. “Dixie RV’s commitment to growth and excellence in customer care make them a perfect fit for the industry’s top-selling Montana product line.”
Dixie RV SuperStores owner Greg Lala feels that the Keystone Montana is ideally suited to the Louisiana and southeast market. “Montana’s proven track record, innovative features and reputation for quality will make Keystone’s flagship brand a huge hit with our customers,” stated Lala. “Our staff was excited to see the first Montana arrive on our lot. We believe it will appeal to both families and couples and serve as a show stopper at our dealership.”
Adds Stephen Guidry, vice president of operations for Dixie RV, “We feel this marriage between Dixie RV and Keystone Montana – two industry leaders – will benefit all involved, especially our customers.”
Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. announced that its patented JT’s Strong Arm Jack Stabilizer system will be factory installed as standard equipment on Keystone RV Co.’s 2013 Outback travel trailer and fifth-wheel RVs.
“The Outback travel trailer and fifth-wheel is one of the most successful brands on the market,” stated LCI Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray. “Keystone recognized that even on one of its best sellers, savvy buyers are looking for value-added extra equipment to enhance their camping experience.”
“Our goal at Outback is to improve the ownership experience of our camping families,” said Tim Domiano, Outback product manager for Keystone RV. “One area in which we believe we can really add value is in stabilization of trailers and fifth-wheels while in use. We evaluated many products for ease of use, longevity, stabilization and cost. Nothing came close to the JT Strong Arm Stabilizer system in meeting our demanding criteria.”
Once a trailer is parked at the campsite, the JT’s Strong Arm Jack Stabilizer system telescopes into place when the jacks are lowered. According to Lippert, there is nothing to set up, disassemble or stow away. Once the T-bolts are tightened, the system “virtually eliminates” unwanted movement with the same rigid, triangular structural stabilization used on racecar suspensions. When the time comes to break camp, campers loosen the T-Bolts, raise the jacks into traveling mode and hit the road.
Keystone RV Co.’s recently completed integration with IDS will give dealers using the company’s G2 business systems quicker authorizations, warranty claims processing, parts order entry, retail registrations entry and reduced administrative costs, according to a press release.
“What this will mean to our dealers is a significant savings in labor costs each year, as well as the capability to be more efficient and profitably manage their parts and service business,” said Randy Mast, vice president of customer service for Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone. “In addition, this tool will enable Keystone to respond to our dealer’s needs quickly and more effectively, delivering even better customer service.”
Mast added that Keystone has invested heavily in customer service over the past several years, expanding even further what he believes is the company’s leadership position.
“We have invested in the necessary infrastructure to take care of our customers,” Mast said. “For example, we receive 1,200-1,500 customer service calls each day during the peak season. That’s a huge number of calls, something in the neighborhood of three calls each minute during the business day.
“We have the infrastructure in place to handle this kind of volume. On average, our service representatives answer 95% of those calls without delay which avoids voice mails and excessive hold times.”
Mast reported that Keystone has also made a significant commitment in trained customer service representatives and technicians.
“All our technicians are RVIA/RVDA certified or master certified,” he said. “Our CSRs are all ICSA Certified. We believe this delivers a significantly better service experience for our customers.”
In addition, Keystone has raised the service standard through their warranty administration process.
“Most RV manufacturers require the dealer to contact each vendor individually on warranty matters,” said Mast. “For the dealer and retail customer this can be a very frustrating experience. At Keystone we have always taken pride in being a ‘one stop shop’.
“While the unit is under warranty, dealers contact us directly and we handle it with the vendor for the dealer. Simplifies the process for the dealer and delivers a better service experience for the retail customer.”
Keystone RV Co.’s Cougar division was recently granted United States Patent #D663,241S for the design of the Cougar travel trailer.
According to a news release, the patent specifically covers the aerodynamic front cap which includes an integrated propane storage compartment. By creating a smooth, virtually seamless front exterior the design of this cap helps improve towing efficiency and handling.
“It took the hard work of many people to earn this patent and I congratulate the entire Cougar team on this accomplishment,” said Keystone President Matt Zimmerman. “The distinctive appearance of the front profile on the Cougar X-lite travel trailer has helped make Cougar the No. 1 selling laminated travel trailer brand in North America. ”
Cougar group general manager Jeff Runels credits the new design with enabling Cougar to distinguish itself from the competition. According to Runels, “The new, sculpted front cap gives the Cougar travel trailer a very automotive look. This innovation has been a huge success with our dealers and the RVing public, dramatically increasing Cougar brand recognition and sales.”
Jeff Kloska, Cougar product manager, says that the Cougar division continuously seeks innovation as the key to keeping Cougar a top seller. “We will be unveiling more than a dozen significant product improvements and new floorplans during the upcoming Keystone Open House,” said Kloska. “Our products are on target to generate even more sales and satisfied customers. We invite all our dealers to join us Sept. 18-20 at the RV Hall of Fame.”
Keystone RV Co.’s Raptor toy hauler was recently featured on ATV World, a long-running show on the Outdoor Channel hosted by executive producer Brian Fisher. According to a press release, Fisher invited the Keystone Raptor team to showcase the popular toy hauler at the 5th Annual ATV World Reunion, held Aug. 9-12 in Rock Run, Pa.
“ATV enthusiasts are a very demanding crowd but also appreciative of quality and features,” said Raptor product manager Jim Rzepka. “Typically they are hauling several ATVs along with all their gear and oftentimes camp without hookups. Raptor’s large cargo capacity, larger holding tanks, built-in fueling station and power generator make Raptor the perfect vehicle to satisfy their needs.”
Many of the more than 4,000 participants at the Fisher’s ATV World Reunion were families. Fisher said that one of the most important benefits of ATVing is that it affords the opportunity to spend quality time with their children.
“You’re enjoying the outdoors with your children and away from cell phones, video games, and all the other distractions,” he said. “You are building relationships that will last a lifetime. Camping out in Raptor luxury helps make it even more enjoyable.”
Rzepka added, “The rear patio deck was a show-stopper as was the availability of a 14-foot garage on some floorplans. Many in the crowd already owned a conventional trailer or fifth-wheel and moving up to a Raptor toy hauler is the next step.”
The Raptor is available in 14 floorplans, capable of sleeping up to nine children and adults.
Video highlights from the Reunion and the Raptor exhibition will appear later this fall on the Outdoor Channel/Fisher’s ATV World.
Keystone RV Co.’s Fuzion toy hauler brand will be featured in a new reality show airing this November on a major cable television network.
According to a press release, Larry Overman heads up the six-part series which is being filmed now at the Crescent Mine (formerly named the Buckeye Mine) near Sumpter in eastern Oregon. The Buckeye Mine was once one of the most productive gold mines in the United States, but is rumored to be inhabited by ghosts and was shut down in 1957. Overton and his crew will attempt to reopen the mine on the show.
“We were looking for a roomy, rugged camper we could use both as living quarters and as a meeting location/headquarters,” Overton said. “Of the many RVs we considered the Fuzion toy hauler is absolutely the ideal vehicle for our use. The huge garage comfortably accommodates the whole crew during our daily planning sessions, and the living quarters are spacious and luxurious for me and my family. Once we saw the Fuzion my wife and I knew this was the camper for us.”
“Partnering in this network television series provides us with the opportunity to showcase the Fuzion to millions of weekly viewers,” said Keystone Fuzion Product Manager Tim Markel. “Fuzion is designed for the active lifestyle, for people who get out and enjoy the outdoors but who also value the comforts and quality we build into each coach. Larry and his crew of miners will definitely put the Fuzion to a test. We have no doubt Fuzion will pass with flying colors.”
The Fuzion being used on the show is a 398 floorplan with 14-foot garage, built-in picnic table, 20-foot patio awning, generator and extra large refrigerator. The triple-axle trailer will be set up as base camp at 5,400-foot elevation, miles from civilization.
Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. reported that its Cougar brand claimed the No. 1 ranking in year-to-date fifth-wheel sales through April, according to the latest Statistical Surveys Inc. report.
In a press release, the Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary said that it marks the first time Cougar has earned top ranking in the brand’s 14 year history.
“Team Cougar is thrilled to have achieved this milestone,” said Keystone Group General Manager Jeff Runels in a press release. “We feel we have absolutely the best dealers in the industry. Their enthusiasm and commitment to the product have translated into ever-increasing sales. Congratulations to our dealers for making this possible.”
According to Runels, one of the keys to Cougar’s popularity is innovation.
“By listening to our dealers and our retail customers, we have kept the product hot and fresh,” he said. “We will continue to reinvent the product to give our dealers even more to sell.”
Cougar Product Manager Jeff Kloska also credits the variety of Cougar product offerings and floorplans.
“Our half-ton towable Cougar X-Lite and our Cougar High Country are hitting a sweet spot as buyers look for a full-featured, full-sized fifth wheel they can tow with their every-day pick-up truck,” he said.
He also pointed to the new Cougar 331MKS floorplan with an “executive chef rear kitchen,” offering over 24-square feet of kitchen counter space.
In what is expected to become an annual tradition, Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. welcomes Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County to a weekend of RV camping at Twin Mills Camping Resort in nearby LaGrange County June 8-10.
The Kamp Keystone event will offer children (“Littles”) and their mentors (“Bigs”) the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in comfort through the use of Keystone campers, according to a news release.
Kamp Keystone was started in 2007 as a way for Keystone employees to actually use and enjoy the RVs they manufacture, while providing valuable product feedback to the company. This year Keystone decided to take it a step further by inviting Big Brothers Big Sisters to join in the fun.
Keystone RV President Matt Zimmerman says Kamp Keystone is another way for the company to give back to the community. According to Zimmerman, “The Keystone family is one of the largest contributors to the Elkhart County United Way. Throwing the doors open to Kamp Keystone enables us to do even more. As the father of two young boys, I personally believe camping with your family is one of the best investments you can make. Through Kamp Keystone we expect to make a positive contribution in these young people’s lives.”
“The strength of the BBBS program lies within the opportunities where ‘Bigs’ can be a positive example to their ‘Littles.’ These experiences are enhanced when ‘Littles’ are exposed to things that they never even knew existed,” noted Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director Stephanie Patka. “For many of our ‘Littles,’ Kamp Keystone will be their first exposure to camping with activities like hiking, fishing, swimming and roasting marshmallows. We are thrilled to partner with Keystone and believe this weekend will result in a tremendous experience for our ‘Littles’ that will last a lifetime.”