Pacific Coachworks, Inc. (PCW) announces the addition of Holiday Travel Trailers of New Mexico to its dealer network, representing the Riverside, Calif.-based builder’s line of Powerlite travel trailers, fifth-wheels and toy haulers.
According to a press release, Albuquerque-based Holiday Travel Trailers is family owned and operated and has been in business since 1972 selling new and used RVs, motorhomes and boats.
“We are thrilled to have Holiday Travel Trailers as part of the PCW family,” said Jeff Daily, general manager of Pacific Coachworks. ”They offer high quality recreational vehicles coupled with exceptional customer service which has awarded them a fantastic reputation and repeat business.”
He added, “We are confident that Powerlite will meet or exceed Holiday Travel Trailers’ customer expectations and look forward to a prosperous relationship.”
In addition to Powerlite, Pacific Coachworks builds towables under the Econ, Tango and Sandsport labels. For more information visit www.pacificcoachworks.com.
Riverside, Calif.-based Pacific Coachworks Inc. (PCW) announced that Ketelsen Campers of Colorado is the newest dealer to handle its line of Sandsport toy haulers, according to a press release.
Located at the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, Ketelsen Campers is a full-service RV dealer selling new and used camping trailers, fifth-wheels, travel trailers and toy haulers.
“Ketelsen Campers is highly recognized in the RV industry. They operate a first-class dealership providing high quality recreational vehicles. We’re excited to have them represent our product and look forward to a long, successful relationship with them,” said Jeff Daily, general manager of Pacific Coachworks. “Ketelsen Campers are hosting a big RV event May 31 and June 1, at which time they will be introducing PCW’s Sandsport toy haulers.”
With PCW recently announcing an increase of 30% for its RV sales for the first quarter compared to last year, the company said the new partnership “will further strengthen our presence in the RV market, and certainly the Colorado and surrounding area.”
In addition to the Sandport line, builds travel trailers under the Econ, Tango and Panther brand names along with Powerlite toy haulers. For more information visit http://www.pacificcoachworks.com/.
Pacific Coachworks Inc. (PCW) recently named Paul Skrivanich as sales representative for the company’s Panther and Powerlite lines of travel trailers and fifth-wheels.
According to a press release, Skrivanich was previously sales manager at Camping World RV where he was responsible for recruiting and leading sales staff, conducting training sessions and increasing retail sales and profits of towable and motorized RVs. At PCW he will further develop sales in the Southwest territory and grow relationships with dealers.
In addition, Chris Gonzales joined the Riverside, Calif.-based builder as a sales representative, promoting the Tango travel trailer line and Sandsport toy haulers. An industry veteran, Gonzales recently managed his own wholesale business where he successfully increased the dealer network in seven states and British Columbia, Canada, while managing all aspects of dealer operations.
In his new role, Gonzales is responsible for developing sales and growing PCW’s relationships with dealers within the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
“We’re pleased to have Paul and Chris on board with the PCW team,” said Jeff Daily, general manager of Pacific Coachworks. “Their vast experience in the RV industry will undoubtedly assist in further enhancing PCW’s growth and brand recognition.”
Riverside, Calif.-based towable builder Pacific Coachworks Inc. reported initial sales of its recently introduced Panther series of premium travel trailers.
According to a press release, Baird Family RV in Irvine, Calif., and Tip’s RV in Layton, Utah, have retailed their first Panther trailers “despite just receiving them at their respective dealerships.”
“The positive response for Pacific Coachworks’ all-new products from dealers as well as retail consumers have been very exciting,” said Jeff Daily, general manager for Pacific Coachworks. “However, we know that we must remain open to suggestion as we rely heavily upon the dealers and their customers for feedback or suggestions as to how we may continually improve as a company.
“With the help of the dealer network we expect tremendous growth for Pacific Coachworks as we continue our quest to becoming the fastest growing RV manufacturer in the Southwest.”
Panther sales representatives Bobby Combs and Ernie Kish are working the territory and, according to the company, “are actively seeking the proper Panther representation in each market while responding to the several inquires that they have received regarding the new products.”
Pacific Coachworks Inc. has begun shipping its initial offering of the all-new Panther Xltralite, Widelite and Elite series trailers, according to a press release.
Brett Bashaw, CEO and president of the Riverside, Calif.-based company, said that the Panther “premier series trailers” will be introduced in August of this year with fifth-wheels scheduled for release in early fall.
The Panther product lineup will consist of three tiers of products designed to “meet the needs for every RV consumer,” said General Manager Jeff Daily. The line will include the Panther Xltralite, Widelite and Elite series trailers, each offering its own “exclusive set of standard and optional items based solely on consumer demand.”
Daily added that the initial response for Pacific Coachworks Panther products has been both “exciting and overwhelming.”
“Our order intake for the past six weeks has caused us to double our daily production rate and we’re just getting started,” he said.
Next up for Pacific Coachworks will be the Panther Powerlite toy hauler line with several innovative features designed to meet the needs of the most demanding off-road enthusiast.
The company said that Panther sales representatives Bobby Combs and Ernie Kish are actively seeking the proper Panther representation in each market while responding to the several inquires that they have received regarding the new products.
Riverside, Calif.-based Pacific Coachworks Inc. announced today (Oct. 11) it has sold a major interest in the company. The significant capital infusion will allow the company to establish a new operating line to fund current and future products, according to a release.
Founded in July 2006 by Tom Powell and Dane Found, the mid-market towable manufacturer is best known for its line of Tango travel trailers, fifth-wheels and Outdoor Kitchen Slideout models.
“We are pleased we can now say with certainty that we will be able to continue to provide the quality RV products and service our dealers and customers have come to expect,” Found said.
The company currently builds three to four units daily, a number that Powell anticipates will more than double by spring 2011.
“Pacific Coachworks intends to use its stronger post-merger balance sheet, combined with access to new capital resources, to expand its business through growth and/or acquisition,” Powell said, noting that the company plans to roughly double employment from recent levels. Pacific Coachworks expects to reach 150 employees by the second quarter of 2011, mostly by rehiring staff impacted by the slowdown.
“We want to thank our dealers, suppliers and customers for their continued support throughout the difficult market these past two years,” he added.
Pacific Coachworks also is participating in a number of upcoming RV shows and expects to introduce an expansion of their Tango, Twist and Turbo product offerings later this year, including new advancements currently in development.
A Canadian RV dealer who opened American All-Star RV in late 2009 off Highway 91 in Riverside, Calif., his first U.S. dealership, has closed the store less than a year later, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
Bruce Urban, owner and president of Western RV Country Group of Companies in Alberta and American All-Star RV, said in late October 2009 that he chose Riverside to be close to manufacturer Pacific Coachworks, whose travel trailers were some of his biggest sellers in Canada.
The dealership at 7207 Indiana Ave., which featured a patriotic color scheme and tall statues of athletes visible from the highway, closed in July.
Urban did not return calls seeking comment.
The dealership hadn’t sold any new travel trailers in 2009 and sold just nine in the first five months of 2010, according to vehicle registration information from Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) based in Michigan.
The company’s statistics don’t account for used RV or travel trailer sales, which can account for two-thirds of all dealership sales on average, according to SSI.
In six Southern California counties — Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange County, Inyo and Ventura — there were 2,292 sales of new RVs between January and May. There were 2,304 vehicles sold during the same five months in 2009. Nationally, sales were up 4% through May, according to the company.
Now that the dealership has closed, trailers built by Pacific Coachworks are no longer carried at any dealerships in Riverside, San Bernardino or Orange counties.
Dane Found, president of Pacific Coachworks, said the company is working on securing a new dealership locally.
When Gary and Dottie Williams ordered their MVP RV Inc. trailer in April 2009, complete with nameplates attached to the bunk beds for their grandsons, they expected to get it a month later.
They planned a cross-country road trip, but stayed in hotels instead.
When they took a vacation to the lake, they rented a trailer.
In between April 2009 and April 2010, the Moreno Valley company that was building their trailer shut down its factory like several other RV makers had done, according to The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.
While the company looked for investors and tried diversifying its business by going into the electric vehicle industry, salespeople at Giant RV showed Gary Williams other trailers. He said he couldn’t find anything comparable.
He didn’t need to. Gary and Dottie Williams picked up their finished MVP RV trailer at the Giant RV dealership in Montclair this month.
MVP RV, the Moreno Valley maker of their trailer, didn’t get the funds they needed to build electric vehicles but they found an overseas investor willing to back their RV factory.
“It’s such a great feeling to come back,” said Brad Williams recently in his Moreno Valley office. “We survived.”
Manufacturers and RV dealers are beginning to climb out of the wreckage wrought by the recession much like the industry has done early on during past business cycles when the worst appears at an end.
Would-be campers are hardly stampeding to RV dealers to purchase high-end Class A diesel motorhomes, Class C RVs or even pop-up tent trailers but they are looking, and some are even buying.
“We’re first to get hurt, and the first to recover,” said Tom Powell, CEO of Riverside-based travel trailer maker Pacific Coachworks.
In 1979, preceding the 1980 recession that lasted from January to July, RV shipments fell a staggering 48.9% to 199,200 vehicles sent to dealers.
Wholesale shipments fell another 46.2% in 1980 to 107,200 RVs. By 1981, the number picked up 24.6% to 133,600 units. Despite a recession that stretched from July 1981 into November 1982, shipments increased another 5.2% to 140,600.
With the exception of a dip in shipments in 1985, RV production increased nearly eight straight years until 1989. The recession started July 1990 lasting until March 1991. RV shipments picked up 24.6% by 1992.
With the exception of another dip in 1995, RV production grew again year over year for nearly eight straight years until 2000 when it dropped 6.6%. A recession began in March 2001, ending November. That year RV shipments dropped another 14.4%. But by 2002, it was up 21.1%
The most recent recession started December 2007.
Two popular Inland recreational vehicle makers, Weekend Warrior Inc. and National RV Inc., bowed out early on before the economy started to exhibit true signs of stress.
Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., a longtime RV industry icon based in Riverside since 1963, had managed to navigate recessions before usually emerging a stronger company after other competitors blew a tire. This time though, saddled with too much debt, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2009 selling off the motorhome division to an equity group out of New York that moved all of the company’s operations to Indiana.
Before, Southern California dealers could pick up the RVs they ordered in Riverside. Now some say they pay extra for shipping.
Elsewhere, Monaco Coach Corp. filed for bankruptcy in March 2009. Country Coach Holding Inc. was liquidated late last year.
In 2007, RV makers shipped 9.5% fewer vehicles. The number dropped another 32.9% in 2008, and continued to cascade another 30.1% in 2009 until there were just 165,000 shipped to dealers, the lowest level since 1991.
First to recover
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is expecting shipments to jump 30% this year to 215,900 vehicles.
“When things go down, the RV industry takes it in the gut,” said Joe Laing, director of marketing for El Monte RV which rents ands sells trailers. But it also seems to be one of the first to recover, he said.
Laing said El Monte RV staff noticed year-over-year sales growth since January.
“We don’t know that it means anything,” he said, hesitant to herald economic recovery based on their business. “We’re pretty optimistic that it looks like we’ve come through the worst of it.”
Frank DeGelas, owner of Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores including locations in Colton and Cathedral City, said he dumped older inventory at a loss to clear out his dealerships for new models being released by the manufacturers who remained.
Usually the recovery after a recession is strong and fast. This one, though, is taking its time.
He sold 11 Coleman folding camping trailers in three weeks, a sign that family buyers are looking for an affordable alternative, as well as Class B motorhomes and the larger Class A diesel RVs.
“I think I’ve been helped by my competitors failing,” he said. The pie may not be any bigger, he said of the RV selling market, but he gets a bigger slice now, he said.
DeGelas credits manufacturers who spent their downtime during the downturn designing new features.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, over 30 years, and I have never seen the amount of innovation,” he said of new models from manufacturers like Fleetwood RV Inc., now under new ownership. The Encounter, Fleetwood’s latest model, features a bunk bed that converts into a dinette.
“It’s almost like a ‘Transformer’ motorhome,” he said.
Pacific Coachworks Inc., which survived the lean times after having shut down production in the first half of 2009, developed a trailer with a slide-out outdoor kitchen and in another trailer, a slide-out queen bed.
“When things are going extraordinarily well, there’s not as much impetus to be innovative,” said Tom Powell, CEO of Pacific Coachworks.
The company has 100 employees, about half of the staff compared to its height in 2007.
Powell described new orders as solid, “but it’s not sensational” especially compared to stratospherically successful years in 2005 and 2006.
Powell said he wished more Inland RV manufacturers had survived the recession, that way suppliers would take root in the area too. As companies closed, though, so did suppliers and the cost of doing business for those who remained rose.
His company and others are now building based on orders rather than making RVs with the hope someone will eventually order it.
“I think we all learned to be a little more cautious,” he said.
Pacific Coachworks’ recent launch of the industry’s only powered outdoor “KSO” (Kitchen Slide-Out) exceeded company expectations, according to a news release.
“Dealers saw a huge opportunity to purchase a unique product that is sure to draw lots of retail attention during their spring show season,” said Dane Found, president of the Riverside, Calif.-based manufacturer. The Kitchen Slide-Out option is available on eight Tango travel trailer models ranging from 26 feet to 3 feet. It will also be offered on 2560RBSS and 2790BHSS fifth-wheel models. The outdoor kitchen concept is becoming more and more popular with customers simply because it reinforces the consumer’s desire to spend time outdoors with family, Found said. Tango’s patent pending slideout design can be incorporated into many more floorplans and sizes than side-mount kitchens currently offered by other manufacturers.
In addition to Tango “KSO” models, Pacific Coachworks launched a new line of Turbo toy hauler travel trailers.
“The Turbo received a huge thumbs-up from dealers for its outstanding quality and creative design,” Found said. The The 285KS displayed at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., featured a king-size bed slideout extending 49 inches on the roadside of the unit. The huge front bedroom featured exceptional change room space and storage.
Pacific Coachworks CEO Tom Powell said that “with the departure of several West Coast toy hauler manufacturers, we saw a void in the segment for a quality-built toy hauler.”
The aluminum-framed fiberglass laminated toy hauler is offered in four floorplans ranging from 24 feet to 34 feet. All Turbos feature particleboard free construction, roomy solid surface edged kitchen counters and country maple finished pocket-screwed lumbercore cabinetry that extended to the ceiling for additional strength and storage. Popular options include LCD TVs in the bedroom and living room, an 1,100-watt Jensen stereo with subwoofer, power lift bed, 4kw Onan generator with fuel pump station, power tongue jack and 16-inch aluminum wheels with Goodyear tires.
Undeterred by a recession that has battered the RV industry and its presence in the Southern California’s Inland region, a multimillion-dollar Canadian RV dealer is opening its first U.S. dealership in Riverside to be closer to a travel trailer manufacturer that the owner considers his “hidden secret,” according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
The dealership, American All-Star RV at 7207 Indiana Ave. off Highway 91 near Madison Street, will soon be filled with Riverside-based Pacific Coachworks’ line of Tango travel trailers, said Bruce Urban, owner and president of Western RV Country group of companies in Alberta.
Pacific Coachworks trailers, built at a factory in Riverside, have been one of Urban’s biggest sellers in Canada, he said, citing the company’s attention to detail and use of plywood inside the trailers instead of particle board.
And if the trailers can stand up to the Canadian wilderness, “they’ll definitely stand up in California,” Urban said.
When Dane Found and Tom Powell — founders of Thor California in Moreno Valley — started Pacific Coachworks in 2006, Urban was one of their first customers, and he remains the company’s largest dealer “by a long shot,” Found said.
At Thor, Found and Powell began selling Urban their recreational vehicles in 1996.
Urban may not be selling arcade games, but he has them in his dealerships anyway to entertain the children of would-be trailer buyers who may visit the red, white and blue sports-themed dealership once it’s finished. That’s why there’s sometimes a monster truck sitting outside, and perhaps a mini-golf course too.
“Atmosphere can sell,” he said.
For the adults, he plans weekly tours to see Pacific Coachworks trailers being made inside the Riverside factory nearby.
“There aren’t many dealers who have their manufacturing facility 15 minutes away,” Urban said. “When I knew we’d be that close and be able to give weekly tours, I thought this would really, really help people see what they’re buying.”
Urban got his start selling used cars in his mom’s driveway before expanding his dealership to a one-acre gravel lot in 1992, he said.
Today, he has six storefronts and sales of $130 million, he said. The Riverside store will be his seventh.
He thought about opening a dealership in the United States about a year ago, but “the market really cratered down there,” he said.
But he didn’t want to wait for another dealership to seize the chance to sell Pacific Coachworks trailers to the degree he wants to in Southern California.
“I wanted to have that product in that market,” he said. “History shows it’s a great RV market.”
The site of his new Riverside dealership has an RV past, having been home to Country Time R.V. Center and later Richardson’s RV, which has a few Inland locations.
An RV dealer industry group points to Census data that there were 3,129 RV sales locations nationwide in 2007, and about 160 have closed since January.
Dan Merkowsky, executive vice president of the RV Dealers Association of Alberta, called Urban, a member of the group, one of the smartest marketers he knows.
The number of RVs sold in Canada had fallen by about 50% to 50,000 vehicles this year because of the global recession, he said.
Urban said his sales have suffered a 15% decline this year.
He said he’s confident, however, that the travel trailer market will continue to fare better than sales of other RVs, such as Class A motorhomes, since they generally don’t cost as much.
“It’s not cool for grandpa to show up in a $200,000 motorhome when other people are struggling (financially),” he said. “The days of bigger-are-better is behind us.”