Forest River Inc. subsidiary Prime TimeManufacturing ranked No. 2 for combined travel trailer and fifth-wheel registrations in February, posting a 55% increase in unit sales compared to the previous year.
“Prime Time is very thankful and appreciative of the tremendous support given to us by our dealers,” said Jeff Rank, president of the Wakarusa, Ind.-based builder, in a press release. “We made some bold commitments early on about who we wanted to be as a company and dealers embraced our innovative business model. Over the last three years, the strong partnerships we’ve forged are obviously now paying huge dividends for us and our dealers.”
According to Statistical Surveys Inc., in the fifth-wheel segment Prime Time was the No. 4 retailing brand for February with a market share of 5.9%. Travel trailer registrations showed that Prime Time was the third best-selling brand for the month with a market share of 4.1%.
“I’m very happy for our company and our employees,” added Rank. “It’s always fun to win and jumping up to the No. 2 retail position in February is very rewarding for our team here at Prime Time.”
In advance of a highly anticipated spring selling season, Prime Time Manufacturing announced today (Feb. 4) a 71% increase in retail registrations for the month of January, according to a press release.
“Prime Time, like our dealers, has been very bullish on retail sales prospects going into 2013,” said Ken Walters, national sales manager for Wakarusa, Ind.-based Prime Time. “Our product managers unveiled a strong lineup of new, innovative floorplans, features and programs last fall at the Elkhart Open House and Louisville shows. Our dealers sensed the opportunity, aggressively stocked inventory, and subsequently had great success at the early retail shows. We expected strong growth, but a 71% increase over last year has been a pleasant surprise.”
Many of Prime Time’s largest dealers have benefited from record-level consumer traffic at their respective retail RV shows.
“With historically low interest rates still in place, there seems to be an upbeat attitude with our customers and they are coming out to buy a new RV,” said Eddie Unger, corporate sales manager of Tom Raper RVs in Richmond, Ind. “The Prime Time brands continue to be a hot seller for our dealerships and we have gotten off to a big start with their products so far this year.”
A division of Forest River Inc., Prime Time was founded in 2009 and enters 2013 as a top 10 brand in travel trailer and fifth-wheel registrations, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
“It’s easy to show a 71% increase when you’re just starting, but we’ve been around the block a few times now and to still be growing at this rate is a huge compliment to our team here at Prime Time and our incredibly loyal dealers,” noted Walters.
Just days after Forest River Inc. inked a deal to buy the sprawling Utilimaster Corp. campus on Wakarusa’s east side, Forest River subsidiary Prime Time Manufacturing is already building RVs at the site.
“We’re already into production,” said Jeff Rank, president of Prime Time. “We started moving stuff at the end of the year in preparation.”
The Elkhart Truth reported that the sale, announced last week by Utilimaster, brought some certainty back to the town. When Utilimaster announced 11 months ago that they were moving to Bristol, “that came out of the blue,” said Jeff Troxel, Wakarusa town manager who was a member of the town council at that point.
With the Forest River purchase now finished, “I’m excited about it,” said Troxel. He knew Prime Time was outgrowing its space just down the road from the Utilimaster campus. “I didn’t want to lose Prime Time,” he said.
“Hopefully Forest River uses the facility to its utmost potential,” Troxel said.
Pete Liegl, president and CEO of Elkhart-based Forest River, said, “We wanted to stay in that community with Prime Time because Prime Time has done so well and Jeff Rank has done an excellent job down there.”
In an interview with RVBUSINESS.com, Rank reported much of the production that Prime Time has moved into the former Utilimaster plant since the holidays, including Crusader and Sanibel towable production, was located until the end of the year at the former Hart Housing Group facilities in Wakarusa, recently sold by Forest River to Maryville, Tenn.-based Clayton Homes, a sister division with Forest River of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. according to Rank.
Rank says the Hart Housing sale was structured such that Prime Time’s operations could stay in that Hart Housing facility until the end of the year. So, Prime Time moved over the holidays — the end result being that Prime Time today is located in the original plant it has occupied on the south side of Wakarusa — the former Travel Supreme plant — in addition to part of the Utilimaster complex that Spartan’s Utilimaster commercial truck unit is vacating, a total of 325,000 square feet of production space for 400-employee Prime Time.
Rank says things are going well with the move, noting, “Oh, it’s fantastic. I mean, quite frankly, Prime Time loves being in Wakarusa. I mean, the town’s been good to us. So we were thankful as we were moving out of Clayton that Forest River was able to do this because we wanted to stay in Wakarusa, and obviously it’s good for the community that the jobs we have at Prime Time are staying in Wakarusa. On top of that, there’s a lot of buildings and a lot of land over there that Forest River has bought that could play into future expansions and give us additional opportunities to grow and extend our operations.
“You know, we’re going to continue growing. Prime Time grew 40-some percent last year in market share and we’re off to a great start again this year, and we’ve got several products that are actually being built in that same plant. As those products mature and get more volume, we’re going to need additional facilities for them as well. So, it would only be my hope that we could continue to grow there (in the Wakarusa area), but that’s a long time away. This deal just recently went down, and I can’t actually tell you that we’ve (Forest River) sat down as a group and talked about it.”
To read the entire Elkhart Truth article click here.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) presented Wakarusa, Ind.-based Prime Time Manufacturing Inc. with the Quality Circle Award for the third straight year in a ceremony kicking off the 2012 National RV Trade show in Louisville, Ky., according to a press release. Four Prime Time brands – Crusader, LaCrosse, Sanibel, and Tracer – were recognized for scoring 80% or above in overall dealer satisfaction as measured by RVDA’s Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey. “Earning the Quality Circle Award is a tremendous honor for our team here at Prime Time Manufacturing,” said Jeff Rank, president of the Forest River Inc. subsidiary, who appears in the photo (center) with the company’s management team. “We have over 350 employees that are 100% focused on providing industry-leading product, sales support, and customer service to our dealers and retail consumers. Their hard work and commitment is evident each and every day as we deliver a fantastic ownership experience to thousands of Prime Time customers. We sincerely thank our valued dealer-partners for honoring us with this prestigious award.” The DSI survey, which determines the Quality Circle Award winners, rates manufacturers’ performance in eight core areas: vehicle reliability/quality, parts support, dealership warranty support, vehicle design, sales support, sales territory, competitive price/value, and overall dealer communications.
A Partners in Progress brand committee meeting for dealers who carry brands built by Prime Time Manufacturing has been scheduled for Oct. 2 during the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas.
Partners in Progress brand committee meetings provide dealers with a forum to discuss brand-specific issues with top management from participating manufacturers. Only dealers who carry the specific manufacturer/brand may attend. Dealer volunteer leaders moderate the meetings.
Here is the complete list of Partners in Progress brand committee meetings scheduled during RVDA Convention/Expo:
• Forest River Inc. – 3:30 to 5 p.m.
• Jayco Inc. – 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.
• KZRV LP – 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
• Keystone RV Co. – 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
• Winnebago Industries Inc. motorized – 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Prime Time Manufacturing – 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Winnebago/SunnyBrook towables – 12:45 to 2 p.m.
• CrossRoads RV – 12:45 to 2 p.m.
• Heartland RV – 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.
• Dutchmen – 3:45 to 5:00 p.m.
The RV Dealers International Convention/Expo will be held Oct. 1-5 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The convention is sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), RVDA of Canada, and the RV Learning Center.
Wakarusa, Ind.-based Prime Time Manufacturing, a division of Forest River Inc., has expanded its Avenger product lineup with the introduction of the Champagne Edition Avenger travel trailer. According to a press release, full production began in May and features a champagne-colored high gloss fiberglass exterior. Prime Time officials recently delivered the first model to Alpin Haus RV and Marine in Amsterdam, N.Y. Shown in the photo, Andy Heck (R), president of Alpin Haus, was presented with the 2013 Avenger 23 FBS by Prime Time President Jeff Rank. Rank noted, “Alpin Haus RV and Marine has a long history of award-winning sales and service. They only became a dealer last fall but are quickly becoming one of our largest volume dealers and they’ve enthusiastically embraced Avenger and the new Champagne Edition. It’s an honor to deliver this very special Avenger to Andy and his team.” Alpin Haus has two retail locations selling recreational vehicles in the Albany, N.Y., market. Founded in 1964, Alpin Haus is an outdoor recreation specialist selling boats, snowmobiles, skis, pools and spas. Heck sees great potential with the new product, stating, “Avenger has made a big splash with our sales people and our retail customers. It has great interior eye appeal and lots of easy-to-sell features. Now with the Champagne Edition, we can offer our customers a luxurious exterior look at an entry level price point that gives us a clear advantage in our local market.” Base MSRP of the Avenger Champagne Edition is $15,300. For more information regarding Prime Time Manufacturing and the Avenger Champagne Edition travel trailer, visit www.primetimerv.com or call (574) 862-3001.
Wakarusa, Ind.-based Prime Time Manufacturing, a division of Forest River Inc, moved up to the No. 6 retail position for all fifth-wheel brands, according to the January release of registration data from Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.
“We introduced our first fifth-wheel, the Crusader, 18 months ago,” Chris Hermon, Prime Time vice president of sales, said in a press release. “To already achieve a level of sales success comparable to the best-selling brands in our industry is a tribute to the hard work of our incredible employees here at Prime Time and the outstanding efforts of our dealer partners across North America.”
Registration data shows that Prime Time fifth-wheels had a market share increase of 131% in January compared to the previous year. Prime Time travel trailers also recorded gains in January with a market share increase of 43%.
“We are excited about our continued growth with retail customers,” added Hermon. “Prime Time is quickly becoming a brand that is recognized for innovation, high value, quality and fabulous service after the sale. These qualities continue to create excellent long-term sales prospects for Prime Time and our dealers.”
Prime Time Manufacturing, a division of Forest River Inc., was recently honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award during a catered lunch ceremony at the company’s Wakarusa, Ind., facility.
Jeff Christner, Forest River director of Codes and Standards, presented the award to the 150 employees of the company’s Tracer and LaCrosse travel trailer division in recognition of their excellent results during routine Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) audits for 2011. Christner applauded the company’s workers for their commitment to quality and noted that the facility recorded only one written deviation for the entire year from RVIA.
RVIA employs a staff of full-time professional standards inspectors who conduct unannounced inspection visits to each manufacturer. The inspector performs an on-line inspection from chassis to final finish, checking representative sample RV units for compliance with over 500 safety-related requirements.
Bruce Hopkins, vice president of Standards and Education for RVIA, spoke during the presentation, noting, “Prime Time and Forest River continue to establish themselves as leaders in the industry with their commitment to quality, codes, and standards. RVIA congratulates Plant 48 for its outstanding performance.”
“Prime Time Manufacturing is honored to have earned this Outstanding Achievement Award,” said Prime Time President Jeff Rank. “Only having a single deviation for the entire year is a credit to the hard work of our employees and the invaluable daily feedback and assistance received from the Forest River Corporate Codes and Quality groups. It certainly is a team effort.”
Prime Time Manufacturing, a division of Forest River Inc., has expanded its product offering with the introduction of the all-new entry-level Avenger travel trailer.
Dealers and retail customers are having their first look at Avenger during this week’s Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey. Two models will also be on display for industry insiders at the Forest River display Sept. 20-22 as part of the Elkhart County 4th Annual RV Open House.
Avenger is the fifth brand to be introduced by Prime Time and represents the final stage in the company’s strategy to offer a full range of towable products.
“When we started the company two years ago, the goal was to be a full-line towable manufacturer,” said Jeff Rank, president of the Wakarusa, Ind.-based manufacturer. “In our mind, that meant having five products that served five distinct markets. Avenger completes that goal and now our customers have a choice of Prime Time products ranging from entry-level travel trailer to luxury fifth-wheel.”
Standard interior features for Avenger include glazed cherry hardwood cabinet doors, Armstrong “Tough Guard” linoleum with a five-year wear warranty, extra large slide rooms, 87-inch U-Dinettes and dual pots and pans drawers with full extension drawer guides. Exterior features include “2X2 construction,” enclosed underbelly, gas/electric DSI water heater, outside shower and Super Lube axles.
“When we were designing Avenger, we examined every feature and every component to maximize value to the end user,” said Product Manager Joe Luther. “We also wanted to build Avenger with a much higher standard of quality so we implemented processes and construction upgrades far superior to typical ‘stick and tin’ products that will provide our customers a fantastic ownership experience.”
MSRP for the new Avenger starts at $15,995.
For information regarding the Avenger, please consult www.primetimerv.com or call (574) 862-3001.
The all-new Sanibel fifth-wheel is in full production at Prime Time Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc.
According to a press release, the new fiver targets the luxury fifth-wheel buyer and is intended to compliment the Wakarusa, Ind., company’s mid-priced Crusader fifth wheel. Prime Time management recently delivered the first production model to Leisure Time RV in Oklahoma City. Base MSRP of the new Sanibel fifth wheel is $65,000.
Upon receiving the new unit, Debora Bingham and Ron Walker, dealer principals at Leisure Time RV, noted, “Sanibel looks absolutely fantastic and is loaded with lots of easy-to-sell features that high-end customers are going to love. Prime Time represents a big part of our business and we think Sanibel will be another great addition to our dealership”.
Sanibel Product Manager Jeff Wagner said Prime Time has a special relationship with Leisure Time RV, stating, “Ron and Debora were one of the very first dealers to sign up with Prime Time when the company was started in 2009. They have done a fantastic job representing all of our products in the Oklahoma City market and we are thankful for their continued commitment and support. It’s an honor to deliver the first Sanibel to Leisure Time RV.”
For more information regarding Sanibel and Prime Time Manufacturing, please call (574) 862-3001 or consult www.primetimerv.com.