Lichtsinn Motors is building a stand-alone RV facility that will house RV sales, service and parts at its Forest City, Iowa, location, according to a report by the Mason City Globe Gazette.
“We are excited to embark on this next step in our commitment to the growth of the RV industry,” said Ron Lichtsinn. “This new facility will provide our RV customers with a more cohesive, best-of-class experience. It will also benefit our automotive customers, offering them a focused automotive experience not only in sales, but in parts and service where the two businesses have previously been combined.
“This expansion will benefit our customers, and also facilitate the need for additional employment within Lichtsinn Motors.”
Lichtsinn has been recognized as the No. 1 dealer of motorhomes in Iowa for 12 consecutive years by Statistical Surveys Inc. Lichtsinn was also recognized in 2012 by Winnebago Industries Inc., also based in Forest City, as the second-largest Winnebago and Itasca dealer in the Eastern Division.
The new facility will include additional service bays, an indoor parts store, spacious service check-in areas, a state-of-the-art photo and video area, and indoor delivery for its customers as well as a technology-focused customer lounge. The automotive General Motors facility will gain a customer lounge, additional service bays, an enlarged detailing area and a focused photo/video area.
The estimated completion date for this project is fall 2013.
Decatur, Ind.-based motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. announced that John McKibben will join the company as director of operations.
McKibben’s responsibilities will include management of on-line and off-line production, lean manufacturing processes and operational resource planning. With 17-plus years in production management, he offers wide-ranging experience applying advanced lean manufacturing strategies in plant environments.
Most recently serving as plant manager at Bluffton Motor Works, McKibbon also has prior management experience at Nestle and General Motors Co. As a certified Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) coach, he also trains teams in TPS and TPM tools to improve safety, quality and productivity.
“John’s broad management background and lean manufacturing expertise is a great match for our organization,” stated John Draheim, president & CEO of Fleetwood RV. “He has a proven track record of consistently attaining production schedules, meeting quality expectations, solving process challenges and improving safety, all of which are extremely important to our work here at Fleetwood RV.”
McKibben, a Fort Wayne, Ind., native, replaces Luis Ortiz. A Six Sigma black-belt and lean expert, Ortiz advances to a new consulting role for Fleetwood RV stakeholder, American Industrial Partners (AIP).
“Luis played a critical role in the development of our lean manufacturing journey and we’re incredibly grateful to have had him on our team,” said Draheim. “He has accepted a position with AIP as a lean sensei where he will get to extend his expertise to an expanding portfolio of companies.”
With the big-boy RVs stretching nearly 50 feet, many pulling trailers full of toys, turning and parking in campgrounds can be a problem.
The Billings (Mont.) Gazette reported that people no longer back into campsites, they want drive-throughs. That change and the demand for more modern amenities helped create more work for Doug Mulvaney at Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA).
“Probably the biggest challenge in the industry in the last 15 to 20 years is addressing the size of the RVs being manufactured,” said Mulvaney, KOA’s manager of facilities development.
While working for the former Montana Power Co., Mulvaney handled underground electrical utilities. He uses that experience to help modernize some of KOA’s 550 campgrounds, many designed decades ago.
“The biggest thing I do, year in and out, is upgrading electric service, usually to 50 amps,” he said.
Campground owners also must respond to RV manufacturers moving the location of utility hookups on the RV. They may have to offer plug-ins on both sides or install front and back sewer hookups, Mulvaney said.
Redesigning curves to allow a wider turning radius for the big rigs and consolidating and angling camp sites for drive-through access are his other duties.
“There are several campground layouts where you kind of look at it and scratch your head,” Mulvaney said.
Decatur, Ind.-based motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. recently announced a series of key organizational changes and additions to the Fleetwood RV and American Coach sales and product teams. According to a press release, these changes “support Fleetwood’s continued market expansion and product development.”
Kyle McCrary has been appointed to senior vice president of product planning and design. He will oversee all current and future product design for both Fleetwood RV and American Coach brands. This move formalizes the role of influence which McCrary already plays with the American Coach brand as it continues its resurgence in the marketplace. Product design will “play an increasingly vital role as the brand continues to expand and enhance its model lineup and offer some of the most luxurious motorhomes in the industry,” according to Fleetwood.
“Kyle has been instrumental in the success of the redesign and branding of the iconic American Coach brand,” stated John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV. “His forward-thinking coupled with his 27 years of RV experience make him a great asset to our company. Kyle will be very influential in the ongoing product design innovations for all Fleetwood RV products.”
Additionally, Matt McQuown joins the company as director of sourcing, bringing over 20 years of procurement experience to the Fleetwood team. McQuown will apply his extensive supply chain and commodity expertise as he leads the strategic sourcing team and establishes processes. He will be based out of the Decatur manufacturing facility.
Other appointments include:
• Dave Denarola has been appointed director of sales, Western region and Lenny Razo is now director of sales for the Eastern region, equally focusing on Fleetwood RV and American Coach product lines. Both will report directly to Draheim and will handle strategic sales planning and management of all sales operations and activities for their respective sales regions.
• Tim Schulyer joins the American Coach sales team as a district sales manager, Eastern region, reporting directly to Razo. He will be responsible for the sales activities of the American Coach product line in all areas of the United States east of the Mississippi River and Eastern Canada. Schuyler brings a wealth of knowledge to his position with more than 15 years of RV industry experience, which includes holding positions at the retail level in sales and management.
• Jeff Gibson comes to Fleetwood RV as district manager to its Western region sales team. He brings a wealth of knowledge to his position with more than 20 years in the RV industry, including both wholesale and retail experience and in the rental segment. Gibson will be responsible for the sales activities in the key California and Mountain states area.
Draheim noted, “These organizational changes more closely align Fleetwood RV’s structure with our strategy and commitment to innovation, design and to provide a strong value proposition to our dealer network and retail customers.”
Fleetwood RV Inc. recently received the “Large Business of the Year” Award from the Chamber of Commerce in Decatur, Ind., where the motorhome manufacturer is headquartered.
According to a press release, the award is presented annually to a business that has more than 25 employees and has demonstrated “apparent, consistent success as well as good corporate citizenry.” The business must show a concern for the well-being of the community and have management and personnel who actively participate in civic organizations or community activities.
“We are very much honored to have received this distinguished award from the Decatur Chamber of Commerce,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV. “The Decatur community and its local businesses have been an essential part of our success, and we sincerely thank them for that.”
Draheim said that Fleetwood RV has experienced a major transformation over the last few years, today employing 950 people. The local work force as well as the community played a critical role in the company’s decision to locate in Decatur.
Winnebago Industries Inc. unveiled a number of new floorplans at the 50th Annual Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 27-29.
“Our motorized and towable lineups at this year’s RVIA National Trade Show were phenomenal,” said Winnebago Industries Chairman, CEO and President Randy Potts in a press release. “Not only did we show some of our hottest floorplans, but also a number of concepts were shown in order to gauge dealer response. What we heard was positive and armed with this information – we are going to continue to take Winnebago Industries in exciting new directions that will meet and exceed the needs and demands of today’s RVers.”
Highlights of the company’s motorized division included:
• Winnebago Minnie Winnie 25B: The iconic Winnebago Minnie Winnie unveiled a new 25B floorplan at the show. This value-priced coach is perfect for consumers just entering the RV lifestyle or experienced RVer’s seeking a great value. Despite its shorter length, this 25-foot coach offers tons of sleeping accommodations. With a rear corner bed and bath, the front of the coach offers a dinette with opposing sofa/sleeper. An overhead bunk provides yet another place to sleep at night, while the galley is mid-coach.
• Winnebago Via 25P: Built on the Mercedes-Benz F50 cowl chassis, the new 25P features a rear corner bed and bath. A front slideout room provides great space including an extremely roomy wardrobe and either a standard dinette or optional sofa/sleeper. The fully equipped galley is located on the passenger side of the coach.
• Winnebago Sightseer 35G: The Winnebago Sightseer introduces a new floorplan, the 35G, features the new InTable. The InTable functions as an end table, dining table, island, countertop extension and desk. Plus, it offers built in storage and is moveable. Combined with the extendable sectional sofa sleeper, Euro recliner and innovative TV location, the InTable helps make the 35G incredibly functional and comfortable.
Innovative exteriors were also highlighted at the show with concept paint and graphics packages on display. Luxury Class A gas motor omes, the Winnebago Adventurer and Itasca Suncruiser, also unveiled new front-end styling.
“Not to be outdone, the towables line really turned heads,” said Potts. “At the forefront is the new Cherry Red Minnie. It is a truly striking trailer that is feature packed and fun. The new Winnebago Ultralite line was well received, and the full body paint Raven fifth-wheel is definitely appealing for consumers looking for a high-end trailer.”
• Winnebago Minnie: The new Cherry Red exterior and a new bunk model, the 2301BH, were the highlights in the Minnie trailer lineup. The 2301GH is compact in size and weight, and packed with features usually found in much larger units. Features include a sofa, full sized dinette, queen bed, twin bunks, pantry, tremendous wardrobe and counter space – all in a compact 26-foot length.
• Winnebago Ultralite: The company’s newest towable entry is the Winnebago Ultralite travel trailer. The sleek exterior offers color-infused tan gel coat, poured fiberglass walls, eye-catching graphics and frameless windows. The designer interior features radius ceiling featuring LED lights, the new Ultralite features 80-inch beds, an island galley and mega bathroom. The trailer weighs less than 6,000 pounds allowing it to be towed with most of today’s smaller tow vehicles.
• SunnyBrook Remington: On the value side, the new Remington 2750BHS Ultralite was on display. Sporting a new cool grey high-gloss exterior fiberglass, new countertops and a low entry-level price point, the new Remington Ultralite provides a high quality, value-priced unit for those consumers that are more budget minded.
• SunnyBrook Raven: The 3300CK floorplan featuring full body paint was showcased in Louisville, offering an island kitchen with solid surface countertop and a swing-out cabinet end. Other features include a rear entertainment center, full sized sofa, residential swivel rocker recliners, and dining table and chairs.
Other notables include the Winnebago One travel trailers and Live Five fifth-wheels that have been gaining market share with unique floorplans, curved ceilings and exterior highlights like innovative paint packages and frameless windows, and the value-priced Sunset Creek Sport that offers new interior paneling and black cabinet hardware.
Decatur, Ind.-based motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. will highlight six new floorplans during the National RV Trade Show, Nov. 27-29 in Louisville, Ky.
“Our focus continues to be on our relentless commitment to innovation, quality and value,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV, in a press release.
The new models extend the company’s product expansion this year as 13 new floorplans have been introduced throughout 2012. In addition to the new floorplans, Fleetwood will showcase its Platinum Edition paint schemes in Louisville.
“The combination of Fleetwood’s quality engineering and new floorplan selections make these products a ‘must see’ at this year’s show,” said Draheim. “These new products offer dealers the value and opportunities they’re looking for to be prepared for a successful spring selling season.”
For more information on dealer opportunities, contact Lenny Razo, national director of sales, at (800) 854-1344 or email Lenny.Razo@Fleetwoodrv.com.
Navistar RV, a subsidiary of Navistar International Corp., will showcase a number of new products at this year’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 27-29. The display will include the model-year 2014 Monaco Monarch SE, as well as the new Holiday Rambler Vacationer SE and Augusta B-plus style Class C motorhome.
“These ambitious products represent the next generation of RVs from Navistar and our brands,” Bill Osborne, president of Navistar RV, said in a press release. “We’re excited to have our industry unveiling at the RVIA show, then to roll the models out to the public at events later this year and next.”
As part of its product development process, Navistar keeps a close eye on market trends and the desires of RV dealers and customers.
“The overall mix of products in the market has shifted, with a larger preference for gas as compared to diesel in Class As,” Osborne said. “Also, amenities that were previously only available in diesel have now made their way into gas coaches.”
The Monarch SE and Vacationer SE address these changes by delivering the high-end features of a full-size diesel coach — Smart Structure chassis system, ergonomically designed cockpit, soft-touch ceiling and generous pass-through storage — at the lower price of a gas vehicle. The RVs also emphasize the company’s striking new exterior style and incorporate new floorplans to suit individual needs.
“Our gas products were previously on the higher end of the price segments,” said Osborne. “These new products allow us to offer customers a gas Class A unit with deluxe amenities, and because they’re affordable, first-time buyers and part-time enthusiasts can now enjoy a great, luxury coach.”
During its product line evaluation, Navistar also determined there was an opportunity to add a B/C category unit to its portfolio, addressing the needs of first-time buyers and enthusiasts who want to be in a small but self-contained motorized RV.
“Holiday Rambler hasn’t introduced a new vehicle in this product class for some time,” Osborne added.
The new Augusta is a maneuverable and compact motorized RV with maximum interior space. Inventive design features include a Murphy bed that folds away to allow for a large living area with skylight, plus a pop-up TV for enhanced counter space and work area. Storage is plentiful, with a mega-locker that can be accessed from the inside and outside. The vehicle is available on a gas Ford E-350/450 chassis.
“These new vehicles reflect the vision of Navistar RV to be the most innovative quality product in the industry,” said Osborne. “We anticipate the RVs will be very well received, as they provide superior luxury, styling and features at an attractive price point.”
Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. will be showcasing its fuel-efficient motorhome lineup built on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis at the California RV Show in Pomona, Oct. 12-21.
According to a press release, Sprinter-based lines include the Winnebago Via and Itasca Reyo Class A’s, Class B Era and Winnebago View, View Profile, Itasca Navion and Navion iQ Class C’s. The Winnebago View will be featured in an RV Factory Showcase seminar on Oct. 13 at 5 pm.
Despite a compact size, the motorhomes are equipped with up to two slideouts, plenty of storage inside and out, and a host of innovative features, according to Winnebago.
“The combination of the powerful six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with Winnebago’s build quality and floorplan selection make these products a ‘can’t miss’ at this year’s California RV Show,” said Winnebago Vice President of Sales and Product Management Scott Degnan. “Winnebago Industries produces more motorhomes on the economical Sprinter chassis than the rest of the industry combined, with consumers reporting between 15-20 mpg.”
Other highlights at the show include the first public viewing of the all-new Winnebago Minnie Winnie – a full featured, value-priced Class C with an iconic badge. The top-of-the-line Winnebago Tour and Itasca Ellipse 42GD Class A coaches will also be showcased offering luxurious a 55-inch TV, pull-out island, powered king bed and our exclusive Rest Easy extendable sectional sofa.
Like most wide-eyed, wishful Americans, Dennis Soukup daydreams of someday hitting the lottery. Riches beyond compare. Genie-in-a-lamp possibilities.
Well … not quite.
According to a report in the Las Vegas Review Journal, the 59-year-old chairman of the applied technology department at the College of Southern Nevada simply wants to hold the key to a new Tiffin Zephyr motorhome.
Forty-five feet long, 8 feet 4 inches wide, 12 feet 10 inches tall, 500-horsepower engine, 150-gallon gas tank, six aluminum wheels plus two steel inner wheels, two-stage compression air brake, six air bags. And that doesn’t include the interior creature comforts, highlighted by a home theater system with Surround Sound.
“Yes, that’s my dream,” Soukup says of the luxurious home-away-from-home with a sticker price of approximately $500,000. “If I hit the lottery, I’m buying a Zephyr. I want to retire full time into one of them.”
Retire, that is, into a senior lifestyle that is remarkably safe, according to a report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which showed that over a 10-year period from 1999 through 2008 there were only 97 RV fatalities nationally.
Special driving classes are not mandatory for RVers in Nevada. But owners of motorhomes with a minimum 26,000-pound gross rating or tow trailers with a minimum gross rating of 10,000 pounds are required to have a special license endorsement, which comes by passing a Department of Motor Vehicles driving test.
Fourteen other U.S. states, including California, require some form of special license endorsement, according to the website changingears.com.
Soukup and his wife, Linda, are one of 8.9 million U.S. households that owns some form of RV, which includes everything from truck campers and pull trailers to fifth-wheels and those shiny, rock-star-rich motor homes. Soukup currently owns a 2006 Tiffin Phaeton, the kid brother to the Zephyr at an approximate price of $250,000.
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