Keystone RV Co.’s Hideout division is experiencing record growth this year. The Goshen, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary reported in a press release that the division, which includes Hideout travel trailers and fifth-wheels as well as Retreat destination trailers, has increased retail sales by 28% year-to-date through June and shows 52% growth over the past two years. At no other time in the brand’s 14-year history has Hideout retailed as many RVs.
“Not only is Hideout retailing at record levels, we are now Thor Industries’ No. 1 retailing travel trailer brand and the No. 2 selling travel trailer in Canada, according to Statistical Surveys,” said Hideout Product Manager Matt Christensen. “Hideout dealers and retail customers have embraced the new models, as reflected in our record sales.”
More floorplan choices across a broad range of price points is one reason Christensen says Hideout is hitting the sweet spot. Another reason for Hideout’s success is the brand’s focus on offering value-added features not found on other products in this segment.
“For example,” says Christensen, “our Road-Vac central vacuum system is a first at this price point and turns wasted space into a unique benefit. This is something our dealers love to sell and retail customers appreciate.”
According to Group General Manager Kyle Kwasny, Hideout dealers will be pleasantly surprised by what they will see at the September Open House. “Without tipping our hand too much, Hideout will be entering new market segments and opening up new opportunities for our dealers,” he said. “We can’t wait to show our dealers what we’ve been working on.”
Keystone RV Co. is now offering the new Road-Vac CS-6 on select brands, offering the convenience and cleaning power of a high quality, built-in central vacuum.
Designed exclusively for Keystone RV by InterVac, the compact but powerful vacuum installs in a location that is typically wasted space.
“We are rolling out the Road-Vac system in the Hideout line right now and are excited to offer our customers a feature never before seen in this market segment,” said General Manager Kyle Kwasny in a press release, noting the system could be used in Keystone’s smaller models. “Our owners love the convenience of a central vacuum but they don’t want to give up the storage capacity in their coach that a traditional system would require. At only six inches tall, the Road-Vac CS-6 demands little space yet it has all the power of larger machines.”
Kwasny noted that Keystone’s product design team worked closely with the engineers at InterVac to offer dealers this “industry-first” feature. “This is another way Keystone builds additional value for our dealers,” he said.
Palm City, Fla.-based InterVac is a leader in central vacuum systems for the mobile, RV and boating industries. InterVac Vice President Susan Schlopkohl said that the company refined their expertise in compact central vacuums to design the Road-Vac CS-6.
“Designing a central vacuum system for a smaller RV is challenging because of the limited space,” she said. “We believe we have succeeded in packing a tremendous amount of power in a small footprint. Keystone owners will be thrilled with the Road-Vac’s cleaning efficiency and ease of use. It comes complete with all the attachments you will need to keep your RV spotless from top to bottom.”
Keystone Rv Co.’s popular Springdale line of travel trailers and fifth-wheels will unveil a host of changes at next week’s Elkhart County RV Open House, including full-body graphics exterior, distressed cherry cabinetry and an expanded floorplan offering including 12 brand new models.
“This introduction marks the most extensive list of upgrades to the Springdale line that we have ever made,” said Springdale Product Manager Dustin Tavernier in a press release. “From head to toe, inside and out we have touched everything in order to give our dealers an entry-level product that is unmatched in the marketplace, at the same time retaining our price point. Retail customers cannot compare the new Springdale to any other trailer at this price point because nothing else compares.”
The new full-body exterior graphics package adds the look of a painted exterior most often seen on luxury fifth-wheels and motorhomes. A completely redecorated interior with distressed cherry hardwood cabinetry, high definition countertops, brushed nickel hardware, redesigned tri-fold sofas, and 29- or 39-inch LCD TVs creates a luxurious interior. The limited–time Adventure Package ups the ante with a 7-cubic-foot Dometic Renaissance refrigerator, Electrolux cordless vacuum and USB power center.
In addition, Springdale will be launching two new fifth-wheel models at Open House featuring a new bath deck and introducing fireplaces with brick surrounds. Springdale’s Summerland line of travel trailers will showcase an interior makeover and two all-new floorplans.
Springdale is also focusing on additional Pendleton, Ore., production and will soon debut a new front-platform toy hauler, the 190SRT, for distribution in the west. Keystone will exhibit product at the RV/MH Hall of Fame during the RV Open House, Sept. 17-19.
Editor’s Note: The following is a report by WNDU, South Bend., Ind., on the boom in the RV industry and the impact on Elkhart County. To view the entire article and watch an accompanying video click here.
It’s been a great year for the RV industry. According to a report by WNDU, South Bend, Ind., through the midway point of 2013, RV wholesale shipments tracked by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) climbed to 174,871 units — a 12.8% increase from the same point in 2012.
“We approach every year cautiously optimistic,” said Jeff Runels, vice president of sales for Keystone RV Co. “This year has been a really pleasant surprise, we thought coming out of last year — which was, again, a pleasant surprise — we might level off.”
Beyond the numbers themselves is an economic impact that runs deep in Michiana.
Elkhart County produces about 80% of all RVs made in the United States. Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Economic Development Council of Elkhart County, explained that some 30 RV manufacturers have their corporate headquarters based out of Elkhart County, as do more than 100 industry suppliers.
Runels said that as Keystone sees prolonged increases in sales it starts to increase numbers of employees and subsequently its manufacturing output. The Goshen-based builder, like most other RV manufacturers, saw across the board increases in product demand – from smaller, entry-level units, to the larger and more upscale units.
“When you get a year like this, when you do have that uptick in sales it allows you to really analyze where that uptick is and try to take advantage of those new spots, those new buyers.” According to Runels, they actively watch and see what new buyers are interested in so they can accommodate those interests. That’s why in 2012 and the beginning of 2013 Keystone was able to add several new models.
Runels added that the company almost restored its employment to pre-recession levels by the end of 2012, but thanks to the added boom, they’ve reached almost record levels this year.
To view the entire article and view the video click here.
More than 3 million total entries have been received thus far for the “2013 Great KOA Giveaway Contest.” According to a press release, the contest is sponsored by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and Keystone RV Co.
One lucky entrant will win a new Keystone Cougar RV and a decade of free KOA camping when the grand prizewinner is selected in October. The contest, which began in March, also includes weekly prizes of free weekends of KOA camping, portable grills from Weber Grills, and Cabela’s gift certificates.
“We designed this summer’s contest to entice campers to keep coming back and registering to win each week,” said Mike Gast, KOA’s vice president of communications. “We’ve already seen 105,000 unique e-mail entries, and 3.1 million overall entries, and we still have four more months to go.”
The grand prize – a $40,000 Keystone Cougar RV provided by Keystone RV Co., and a decade of free KOA camping – will be awarded by KOA CEO Jim Rogers during the California RV Show in Pomona on Oct. 12.
“The huge number of entries in our Great KOA Giveaway contest reflects the public’s increasing interest in camping and RVing,” Gast said. “RV manufacturers, including our partners at Keystone RV Co., are reporting a strong increase in the sales of new recreational vehicles, and advanced reservations for the summer at KOAs across North America are more than 13% higher than the same period last year.”
Building on the brand’s “Life Size Lightweight” message, Keystone RV Co.’s Laredo’s travel trailer line has increased sales by over 21% year-to-date, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. March results.
“What we’ve done here at Laredo is roll out some fantastic floorplans with our ‘Life Size Lightweight’ package,” said Laredo Product Manager Adam Smith. “We’ve put together a list of features that are important to our customers – bigger refrigerators, taller ceilings, residential showers, bigger beds and larger TVs – and bundled them with what is one of the strongest travel trailer floorplan lineups out there.”
Demonstrating the Laredo line’s focus, the new 274RB floorplan is 30-feet in length and half-ton towable, and features an island kitchen.
“The 274RB has become so popular we have had to alter our production schedule to meet demand,” said Smith. “Laredo dealers throughout the United States and Canada have embraced the ‘Life Size Lightweight’ message enthusiastically.”
Group General Manager Kyle Kwasny added, “At the Keystone Open House in September, Laredo dealers will be treated to the next evolution of ‘Life Size Lightweight’ towables. We can’t wait to show them what we have in the works.”
Elkhart County Open House is set for September 17-19 where Kyestone will be part of the expansive Thor Industries Inc. display at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart. Learn more about Laredo at www.keystonerv.com/laredo.
Officials in Wakarusa, Ind., got some very exciting news Monday (June 3). As reported by the Elkhart Truth, Thor Industries Inc. announced it is taking over the beleaguered campus that used to house Monaco Coach, and more recently motorhome operations for Navistar RV, on the town’s south side.
“This is awesome. I’m ecstatic. It couldn’t be better for us,” said Jeff Troxel, Wakarusa Town Manager. “It adds stability to the town. We haven’t had stability on that side of town for years.”
Bob Martin, president and COO of Thor, said it’s too early to know how many jobs will be created as the company plans to move part of its Thor Motor Coach subsidiary along with painting operations for Keystone RV Co. into the Wakarusa site.
“We’ll have a clearer picture of what our plans are,” Martin said. “I know people always want to know how it’s going to affect people in jobs, but long term it should be good for the county and the community and we’d like to see it come back to production numbers it was at years ago.”
The move will mean new production for Thor Motor Coach and won’t reduce any of those jobs in Elkhart, he said. “It will be in addition to our plant in Elkhart. The Elkhart work force will stay the same,” Martin said.
To read the entire article click here.
Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Company announced today (May 22) the appointment of Jason Gill as product manager for its Hideout, Hornet, Retreat and Energy lines of travel trailers, fifth wheels, and destination trailers. Gill, formally district sales manager for Cougar, is a five-year Keystone veteran.
“I am excited to take over leadership of these popular Keystone brands,” stated Gill. “The Hideout/Hornet team under former product manager Kyle Kwasny has done a phenomenal job positioning these products in the marketplace. Today Hideout and Hornet dealers have the right features at the right price point!”
Hideout travel trailers, Hornet fifth wheels, Retreat destination trailers and Energy toy haulers offer a model and price for every camping family. With manufacturing facilities in Pendleton, Oregon, as well as in Goshen, Indiana, the brands are well-positioned to serve their dealers.
“Thanks to our strong dealer network , Hideout-Hornet brands are experiencing significant sales increases,” added Gill. “My goal is to continue this growth and expand Hideout-Hornet success. At September’s Elkhart County Open House Week, our dealers will be thrilled with new floorplans and exciting interior and exterior changes.”
Gill resides in nearby Elkhart with his wife, Nicole, and two sons, ages six and 11.
When the new Sprinter travel trailer rolls of the production line Sept. 19, Keystone RV Co. will reach a milestone not achieved by many other manufactures, according to a press release.
The unit will represent the 500,000th RV that has rolled through the company’s facilities in Goshen, Ind., and Pendleton, Ore. On hand to celebrate the achievement will be company officials, employees and Holiday World of Houston, a key dealer partner from Texas.
Founded in 1996 by six industry veterans, including Cole Davis, Keystone has grown to become the No. 1 manufacturer of towable RVs. Some of the most recognized Keystone brands include Montana – the No. 1 selling fifth-wheel for 10 consecutive years – along with Cougar, Springdale, Outback, Raptor and Sprinter, the first Keystone brand.
According to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., Keystone now controls a commanding 23% market share for combined travel trailer and fifth-wheel sales through July. Keystone said its growth has also been good for Goshen and Elkhart County. The company directly employs over 3,000 workers and indirectly employs thousands of others.
“We continue to operate by the principals upon which Keystone was founded,” said President Bob Martin. “Our ongoing success is a tribute to many people. Cole started us on the right path and Ron and Bill Fenech helped us advance and grow. The employees at Keystone today are passionate about what they do and they are, I believe, the best in the industry.”
What does the future hold for Keystone? “RV vacations are one of the most affordable ways to enjoy the outdoors,” said Martin. “Keystone will continue to offer a full spectrum of models to meet every family’s budget and needs. As consumer preferences change, we will innovate and evolve to deliver the most attractive RV value for the money. In other words, we will continue to do what we have done successfully over the past 15 years.”
The company is set to kick off a huge dealer open house on Sept. 20 at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart. Keystone will showcase over 90 new products, introduce several new brands, and play host to nearly 1,000 of its dealer personnel.
Keystone RV Co.’s Alpine/Avalanche, Bullet, Fuzion, and Laredo divisions were honored with the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) highest honor, bringing to the number to six of Quality Circle Awards Keystone garnered this year.
According to a news release, the Quality Circle Award is based on a survey of RV dealers conducted by the association between April and July 2011, and recognizes dealer satisfaction in the areas of vehicle design and reliability, competitive advantage, communications, sales and service support. The awards will be presented to Keystone on Oct. 5 at a special ceremony as part of RVDA’s National Convention and Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Group General Manager Ryan Juday noted that dealers selected Alpine/Avalanche in the division’s first year of eligibility. “A little over 16 months ago we set out to create a new luxury fifth-wheel line with a focus on quality and innovation,” he said. “Our dealers have confirmed that we are headed in the right direction by honoring Alpine/Avalanche with a Quality Circle Award.”
He added, “Bullet and Fuzion have now garnered two consecutive Quality Circle Awards and Laredo has earned its first. Add to this Cougar and Montana awards and it speaks volumes about Keystone’s commitment to taking care of our customers.”
Keystone dealers will have the opportunity to view new models and products during the company’s Open House Sept. 20-22 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.
“Every Keystone division will have the newest products on display, many of these products shown for the very first time,” said Bob Martin, president of Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone. “In addition, the Open House will be a great opportunity to socialize and get to know one another better. I encourage all our dealers to come visit with us.”
Today’s video comes courtesy of Keystone RV Co. offering a look at the features in the company’s Cougar fifth-wheels and Cougar X-Lite travel trailers.
The National RV Dealers Association (RVDA) recently honored Keystone RV Co.’s Cougar and Montana divisions with the prestigious Quality Circle Award, marking the fifth year in a row the brands have received the distinction.
According to a press release, the Quality Circle Award recognizes dealer satisfaction in the areas of vehicle design and reliability, competitive advantage, communications, sales and service support. These results were based on a survey of RV dealers conducted by RVDA between April and July 2011. The award will be presented to Keystone on Oct. 5 during RVDA’s National Convention and Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Excellence in dealer satisfaction is a goal Keystone continuously strives to achieve, emphasizes said group general manager.
“One big reason Montana and Cougar are the top retailing industry brands is the outstanding support our dealers provide the retail customer,” said Aram Koltookian, group general manager. “We believe that if we take care of our dealers they will take care of us.”
According to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., both Cougar and Montana have been the top-selling RVs in their respective categories over the past 10 years. Cougar is the No. 1 retailing laminated fifth-wheel and trailer, while Montana is the No. 1 retailing fifth-wheel.
“We are thrilled and honored to be recognized with this award,” said Bob Martin president of Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV. “These awards confirm that Keystone is doing the right things as we focus on maintaining closer relationships with our dealer partners. We thank our dealers for the continued support and ongoing feedback. Without their involvement we could not be successful.”
Keystone RV’s Open House will run Sept. 20-22 at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. Dealers will have the opportunity to view the newest models, many never before seen. Adds Martin, “I encourage all of our dealers to come visit with us at the Open House. The Hall of Fame is a great venue. We are looking forward to visiting with our dealer partners in this informal environment and getting to know one another better.”
Today’s video comes from Keystone RV Co. showing sculptor Michael Jernigan talking about the Outback trailer that will serve as his “Honoring the Troops Mobile Studio.” Jernigan is traveling the country creating bronze portrait sculptures of military personnel that served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Goshen, Ind.-based towable builder Keystone RV Co. has fired more than 20 people for collecting unemployment benefits while also collecting paychecks for their jobs.
The Associated Press reported that Keystone RV fired the workers from the Goshen factory Monday (Aug. 1) after reviewing monthly reports from the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) for a year, said Timothy Edwards, the factory’s human resources manager.
Edwards said most of those involved were production workers and the company’s review took so long because managers wanted to make sure they had the most up-to-date information.
“This is something new that we’ve been faced with,” Edwards said
Keystone won’t pursue any other actions against the fired workers, Edwards said. Any who can show they didn’t double-dip will be allowed to return to their jobs, he said.
Department of Workforce Development spokeswoman Valerie Kroeger told the Associated Press that she couldn’t comment on specific allegations but that the agency would investigate any fraud reports.
State officials will likely investigate the matter since those involved would have been stealing unemployment benefits, said Greg Vollmer, a former deputy commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development.
Those caught improperly receiving unemployment benefits are typically allowed to repay the money rather than face jail time, said Vollmer, president and CEO of the WorkOne offices in the region that includes Elkhart County.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a common thing,” he said. “It’s actually a very small percentage of people that do this kind of thing.”
South Burlington, Vt.-based Pete’s RV Center has finalized the acquisition of Rollin-On RV, established in 1977 and located just 34 miles from Chicago in Schererville, Ind.
Pete’s RV co-owner and treasurer Dave McGinnis explained the acquisition was an amicable one, noting, “We’ve had a great, longstanding relationship with Rollin-On RV over the years. There are lots of similarities in how we run our dealerships including being family operated. With owner Paul Craven looking to step out of the business after nearly 35 successful years, it definitely piqued our interest when the opportunity arose to buy Rollin-On.”
Like Pete’s RV, Rollin-On RV is an exclusive dealership for Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. “With our Indiana location, Pete’s RV can expand and grow our customer base, providing the same excellent sales and service our Vermont, Northeast U.S and Canadian customers have enjoyed for almost 60 years,” McGinnis said.
Pete’s RV is retaining the services of the employees at Rollin-On RV. Kris Craven was named the general manager of the Indiana dealership and is excited about the dealership’s growth opportunities under Pete’s RV. “Knowing Pete’s RV as long as we have, the Indiana team and I are very much looking forward to combining our experience, plus the omnipresence of two dealerships, to reach a much larger community of RVers,” Craven said.