KZ RV LP will celebrate both its 40-year history and the future of the company during the upcoming dealer open house May 30-31 at its headquarters in Shipshewana, Ind., according to a press release.
“It’s an exciting time for several reasons. We’re proud of our past, and we’re eager to forge ahead,” said Andy Baer, KZ’s vice president of sales and marketing. “The recreational vehicle market has shown great resilience and the buying public are ready to get out and enjoy the RV lifestyle.”
KZ will show new products, conduct plant tours, give out dealer awards and hold social events for dealer attendees and KZ employees. Last year, 130 people from about 70 dealerships attended the open house.
“We like to give our dealer partners a sneak peek at what we’re working on, because they give us valuable feedback. They know what will sell and how we can make our products even more attractive to buyers,” Baer said. “That kind of input is critical to our ability to remain relevant, and it’s a big reason why we’re thriving after 40 years.”
Baer acknowledges that KZ’s spring open house is an unusual event considering the recent boom of manufacturers’ fall open houses in northern Indiana.
“Those events have their own purpose. In the fall, we receive many visitors spanning various levels of relationship with us, including casual observers who just want to see what we’re about, and we welcome that,” he stated. “Meanwhile, this invitation-only spring open house is for our established dealer partners so we can applaud their accomplishments, get their recommendations on product developments, rekindle our friendships with dealers – some of which span multiple generations – and just talk about the future. We want to give these special people our undivided attention for those couple of days.”
Baer said that KZ’s 40th anniversary will be a focal point all year in communications and outreach among all channels and associates. “KZ is proud of its heritage and we’re fully aware that it’s because of our dealers, employees and vendors that we’ve had so much success,” he explained. “We’re going to tell them ‘thank you’ every chance we get.”
For more information about the dealer open house, e-mail KZ RV at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2011 Stone Ridge fifth-wheel by KZ RV LP features the new Bistro exterior kitchen on its 36RK floorplan. This option is designed to combine the fun and socializing of outdoor cooking with the convenience of a high-end conventional kitchen, according to a news release.
The 2011 model was introduced at the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 29 to Dec. 2.
The Bistro features stainless steel countertops, a stainless steel electric grill, sink with hot and cold water, refrigerator, ice maker and 26-inch LCD TV and is sheltered by its own power awning.
“The Stone Ridge is KZ’s focus for affordable luxury,” said Andy Baer, vice president of sales and marketing.
All Stone Ridge models come standard with features such as a fireplace, 42-inch LCD TV, Corian countertops, 30-inch residential-style microwave, an 80-inch Memory Foam mattress, porcelain commode, rocker recliners, gel-coat exterior sidewalls, 50-amp service, power jacks and a heated enclosed underbelly. Options include a kitchen island, second air conditioner in the bedroom, slideout toppers and rear power stabilizer jacks.
The company also introduced its all-new Spree Escape lightweight travel trailer at the show. Designed to be be towed behind smaller SUVs and minivans, the Spree Escape provides basic amenities like an awning, microwave, shower and commode, 54-inch dinette, stabilizing jacks, cable jacks and tinted windows. It come six lengths from 14 feet to 20 feet in six floorplans.
After a six-month production hiatus on the high-end Escalade Sportster fifth-wheel toyhauler, towable manufacturer KZ Recreational Vehicles is responding to consumer demand and reintroducing it.
“A high volume of customer requests for the Sportster drove us to do a full update on that product and get it back to the market,” said Andy Baer, vice president of sales and marketing, in a news release. “We received a lot of consumer feedback that came directly to us as well as through our dealers, which is somewhat unusual.”
While the toyhauler market declined during the recession, Baer said dealers are seeing an upswing in that segment again, so KZ met with dealers and owners to make some pertinent changes before reintroducing the product.
“The Sportster is an Escalade first and a toyhauler second. It’s a premium fifth-wheel that happens to have a garage area,” Baer said. “There was tremendous demand at the Sturgis Rally in August and we had very good sales. It’s also popular with snowbirds who use the garage for golf carts and hobbies, so it appeals to a variety of customers.”
KZ retooled several of its products this year in terms of features, floorplans, weight and pricing in order to stay competitive and encourage rising sales trends. “As a company, we have to be sensitive to what consumers are looking for and want to own,” explained Baer. “It’s naïve to produce something blindly and hope people like it. We listen to our dealers and we listen to our customers. They wanted the Sportster back, so we used their input to make it even better.”
For more information about the Escalade Sportster and KZ’s other RVs, visit www.KZ-RV.com.
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.”