Dry weather and a clear forecast in the vicinity of the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond, Ore., spelled good new for organizers, attendees and exhibitors on Friday (Aug.16), the third day of the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) Aug. 13-16 Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase.
“It’s great to see that the rain has given way to warmer, dryer conditions today,” said Robbin Gould, editor of Family Motor Coaching Magazine. “The walkways and main areas are filled with people and it seems to be drawing everyone out for special events. Our seminars have also been well-attended so far, with several sessions filled to capacity.”
FMCA, the Cincinatti, Ohio-based club, is the only U.S. organization convening national-scale consumer get-togethers this year — in Perry, Ga., and Redmond — since Camping World Inc. and its Good Sam Enterprises LLC sister division took the year off before resuming a national consumer event schedule next year.
Highly visible among the displays in this — our second Redmond report — was the relaunch of Winnebago Industries Inc.’s Brave Class A of the 1960s and ‘70s, a reprise of an iconic coach featuring a distinctive front cap with its signature “brow,” retro interior styling and two versatile floorplans with inventive color schemes like Good Vibration with Cherry Cola cherry cabinets and a price that “fits the budget of a young, traveling family” at $99,000.
But this Brave, available in two floorplans on a Ford F53 chassis powered by a Triton V10 engine and featuring a StudioLoft bed, GPS navigation system, rear camera monitor in the cab, obviously isn’t just a museum piece.
Also getting its first inspection by the general public at the Newmar display was the 2015 London Aire Class A diesel pusher, a line that has not been in production since 2007 when it was Newmar’s highest priced coach. “The London Aire has a unique interior design, like nothing else out there,” said John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing. “We’re really excited to bring back this legacy model.”
The 45-foot London Aire is available in five floorplans — three quad-slides and two with full-wall slides — and is equipped with a600-hp Cummins 15-liter ISX engine, the largest power plant available in today’s production Class As, on a Freightliner SLR chassis equipped with a tag axle, independent front suspension and Comfort Drive steering.
Priced beneath the King Aire and Essex lines, all three of which now sport 600-hp engines, the new London Aire retails for $619,820 with a full-wall slide, bath-and-a-half floorplan featuring elegant dark maple-accented interiors, polished solid-surface countertops, porcelain floor tile and a featured ceiling that masks the air conditioning vents. The London Aire also comes with a Sony Table digital entertainment control system with 46-inch Sony LED TV in the living area and bedroom.
Newmar, based in Nappanee, Ind., also upgraded its existing Mountain Aire. “The 2015 Mountain Aire is completely redone from the chassis up,” Sammut said, adding that it now sports a larger 450 hp engine and is a longer 45-foot body plus all-new front and rear caps and a complete interior redesign.
Meanwhile, Newmar’s Dutch Star line now features integrated awnings. “The Dutch Star took off in early 2014 and is growing by leaps and bounds,” Sammut said. “And with integrated awnings it has only accelerated the growth of that product.”
By Ty Adams for RVBusiness.
Today’s Featured Video #2 features the Canyon Star toy hauler by Newmar Inc.
Today’s Video #2 takes a look at the 2011 Dutch Star by Newmar.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., had some special visitors Saturday (July 17).
Approximately 100 RVers — 50 couples — descended on the museum and conference center as part of the “Centennial Caraventure,” a four-day RV caravan in honor of the RV industry’s 100th anniversary leading up to The Rally 2010 in Louisville, Ky. The rally is the largest RV rally in the country, and is expected to draw 12,000 RVers this year, the Goshen News reported.
“Centennial Caraventure” participants toured the Newmar factory in Nappanee Friday before attending a lunch and tour at the Hall of Fame Saturday. The luncheon was followed by a presentation on the industry’s history and a technology and lifestyle seminar with Bob Livingston, senior vice president of Affinity Group Inc., and leader of the Caraventure.
“What it is, is really an enthusiast’s rally where people become immersed in the history all the way up to present time RVs,” Livingston said. “We talk about the lifestyle, we talk about technical aspects of RVs, we’ll talk about any topic at all. Basically, we’re talking about RVs until we don’t want to talk about RVs anymore.”
Livingston said participants have been extremely receptive to the format and have been thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Among those participants were Stan and Cathy Nicholson of Santa Barbara, Calif. The couple actually purchased an Airstream RV from Livingston years ago when he was still working for a dealer.
“We just had a college graduate (in the family), so we took the opportunity to drive our RV out for that and for this, then we’re driving around the country,” Stan said.
He said the couple has been seriously RVing for about 10 years. They make the most of each year, with a long stretch still ahead of them this summer.
“We don’t plan on going home for another three months,” Stan said.
Ray Cupples Jr. and his wife, Bonnie, were also enjoying the experience. The pair, who live in Clarion, Pa., started with tent camping and folding camping trailers before moving on to the full-fledged RV lifestyle after their children moved out.
“We’re enjoying the area. We wish we had a little time to do more,” Ray said.
He said they particularly liked the factory tour, being interested in the technical end of things.
“We’re always looking to upgrade or add to our units,” Ray said.
According to Livingston, participation in the event was limited to 50 couples to ensure enough one-on-one time between event staff and the RVers. He said they will probably hire more staff and increase the size of the event next year.
Today, Caraventure participants head to Louisville. The Rally 2010 will take place Thursday through July 25.
”Larry Andree and his family have a great reputation in the greater Detroit market area in providing quality products with great service,” said Pat Terveer, Newmar director of sales. “This is a perfect match for Newmar to be able to provide our mutual customers with the opportunity to do business with such a fine dealership.’’
A&S will sell Newmar’s Bay Star and Canyon Star gas-powered motorhomes and the Ventana diesel pusher.
“A&S RV Center is pleased to carry Newmar motorhomes,” said A & S RV Center President Larry Andree. “We always seeks to partner with manufacturers who have similar values and objectives and Newmar, a family-owned company with a focus on quality and excellent customer service, is a great fit.”
A&S is a third-generation, family-owned dealership in operation since 1960. The company recently finished an expansion that doubled to nine acres it’s outdoor display area while adding service bays, increasing the size of the parts and accessories store, and adding a large indoor showroom.
In light of the current condition of the Elkhart (Ind.) County economy, Newmar Inc., Nappenee, Ind., will hold its 24th Annual International Kountry Klub Rally Aug. 3-8 at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds rather than in Perry, Ga., as originally planned.
Established in 1985, the Newmar Kountry Klub is an exclusive club for owners of Newmar products. Currently, membership exceeds 3,500 members.
“Newmar’s decision to move the rally made sense given the current economic state the county is in,” said Barney Barnett, Newmar International Kountry Klub director, in a press release. “Newmar is located in Elkhart County and we wanted to do something to help support local business and drive traffic to the county.”
The club has over 360 confirmed reservations and expects to end up with between 500 and 600 units participating in the rally at the fairgrounds.
“Surprisingly reservations are coming in ahead of where we have been in years past,” said Barnett. “We are hoping this is a good sign and that our expectations will be exceeded.”
Barnett and his staff have been working with local vendors to plan several of the events and classes that will take place during the rally. One project of particular interest has been tote bags the club will be using as welcome gifts.
The bags are being made in Goshen by former RV workers who have been laid off as a result of the RV industry downturn. The fabric being used to make the bags has been purchased or donated from scrap material from RV manufacturers and suppliers who have gone out of business or who have had to cut back in production.
The making of these bags has created new jobs and is gaining popularity. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee received one during his recent visit to Elkhart County. All of the items in the bags are from local businesses.
Along with Newmar factory tours, several other local tours have been arranged for rally participants, including the Nappanee Amish Acres Arts and Crafts Festival, A Foodies Delight Tour in Amish Country, American Countryside Farmers Market Dinner and Theater and in-home Amish meals.
“Newmar is looking forward to this year’s rally,” said Matthew Miller, Newmar president and chairman of the Klub’s Board of Directors. “We are confident the RV industry will turn around and we wanted to get together with our Klub members close to home for a week of fellowship and to show our loyal owners that Newmar and Elkhart County are open for business.”