Capitalizing on a void in the market for low-priced, lightweight toy hauler models, Prime Time Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc., will be introducing the new Avenger 18TH travel trailer toy hauler at the September 16-18 Elkhart County RV Open House.
“Our Prime Time dealers have been begging for us to enter this market,” said Joe Luther, Avenger product manager, in a press release. “Building upon the fantastic momentum that we already have with our Avenger trailers, this is a natural progression for the lineup. Even though we are targeting an entirely new customer with the 18TH, we’ve remained true to what’s made our products successful; great looks, intelligent floorplan design and aggressive pricing.”
The new SUT exterior features a full-sized ramp door with a 2,500-pound load capacity, oversized tires and axles, aluminum wheels and power tongue jack. A versatile Murphy Bed and folding dinette benches allow for over 17 feet of front-to-back hauling capacity that will accommodate two motorcycles. A pull-down screen enclosure, fully equipped kitchen, large bathroom, and cherry cabinetry throughout combine to provide excellent livability in the interior.
“With a dry weight of 4,500 pounds and a low price point, this new product is in a class all by itself,” commented Luther. “Not only will it appeal to the traditional toy hauler customers, but the flexibility and versatility provided by the innovative design will significantly expand the potential customer base to outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.”
The Avenger 18TH has a base MSRP of $19,575. A second Avenger SUT floorplan is slated for introduction at the Louisville Show in November.
Towable builder Prime Time Manufacturing, a division of Forest River Inc., continues to post impressive retail growth rates as the Wakarusa, Ind.-based company begins its fifth year.
According to a press release, final 2013 numbers from Statistical Surveys Inc. show that Prime Time’s travel trailer brands increased total retail sales by 47% while its fifth-wheel brands grew sales by 62%. With a combined market share increase exceeding 30% for 2013, Prime Time is one of the fastest growing retail manufacturers in North America, the company said.
According to National Sales Manager Ken Walters, the consistent sales growth is a function of “a unique business model, great dealers and impressive product.” He added, “Our business model continues to be a very dealer-centric and retail driven model. We put our dealers first and offer products that are a smart investment for them. They’ve felt great about increasing the amount of Prime Time products on their lots over the years and customers have chosen to buy that product over a myriad of other options. We couldn’t ask for a better lineup of dealer partners.”
Prime Time President Jeff Rank noted, “We are no longer a new start-up company where it’s easy to show huge year-over-year increases. Prime Time is well established in the Top 10 of our industry yet we still continue to grow significantly faster than our peers. It is truly a testament to treating your dealers well and developing great product with great quality.”
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers’ Association (RVDA) presented Prime Time Manufacturing with the prestigious Quality Circle Award for the fourth consecutive year in a ceremony kicking off the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, all five Prime Time brands – Avenger, 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.
“Prime Time has over 500 employees who are 100% focused on providing industry-leading product, sales support, and customer service to our dealers and retail customers,” noted Jeff Rank president of Prime Time, a division of Forest River Inc.. “Earning the Quality Circle Award is something all of our employees take very seriously and there is great pride in knowing that each of our eligible brands has won the award every year since our inception. 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.
Prime Time Manufacturing, a division of Forest River Inc., will introduce the all-new Spartan toy hauler during the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 51st Annual National RV Trade Show running Tuesday (Dec. 3) through Thursday in Louisville, Ky.
The complete Spartan lineup will include several fifth-wheel models, an offering of travel trailers, and a selection of smaller, lightweight toy haulers targeting half-ton tow vehicles.
“We will have a wide range of Spartan products for our dealers so that they can fully capitalize on the explosive growth in the toy hauler segment,” said Spartan Product Manager Brian Weaver. “The fifth-wheel on display at Louisville is positioned directly in the heart of the high-volume fifth -heel market and we are incredibly excited about its great looks, abundant features and strong value.”
Standard items on the Spartan fifth-wheel include upgraded electronics from Samsung and Sony, pillowtop queen bedding from Denver Mattress, residential Lane furniture, dual awnings with LED lighting, 7,000-pound EZ Lube axles, and a winter package featuring 12-volt tank heaters and R-52 insulation. Base MSRP for the Spartan fifth-wheel is $58,995.
“Spartan is designed to be rugged and versatile for the most extreme toy hauler enthusiast, yet have all the beauty, comfort and convenience of a luxury motorhome,” added Weaver.
Prime Time is located in Booth No. 3234 in the North Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center. For additional visit www.primetimerv.com.
Prime Time Manufacturing, enjoying a 57% increase in retail sales for 2013, has added three product managers to its management team and is making plans for the introduction of a new toy hauler at the upcoming Louisville Show.
According to a press release, Paul Morrison has been promoted to the position of product manager for the LaCrosse Luxury Lite travel trailer. Morrison has been with the Wakarusa, Ind.-based Forest River Inc. division since 2010 as a regional sales manager.
In addition, Adam Smith has joined Prime Time after a successful tenure in management for another leading RV manufacturer. Smith is assuming product manager responsibilities for the Tracer Executive and Tracer AIR travel trailers.
Industry veteran Brian Weaver has been appointed product manager for an all-new Spartan toy hauler. Prime Time reported that the new product line will debut at the Louisville show with several fifth-wheel floorplans. A group of travel trailer floorplans is planned for 2014.
National Sales Manager Ken Walters noted, “Prime Time is having another fantastic year of retail success all over North America. However, there are numerous growth opportunities available to Prime Time dealers if we continue providing the absolute best product in every segment that we compete. We are asking each of our three new product managers to bring a laser-like focus to their respective product lines so that each one can be a dominant seller for our dealers. We want to continue being the hottest company in the industry”.
Prime Time Manufacturing, a division of Forest River Inc., recently surpassed a significant company milestone with the shipment of the 10,000th travel trailer produced by its Tracer/LaCrosse manufacturing group.
To mark the occasion, company leaders were on hand to serve lunch and thank over 160 employees for their efforts, according to a press release.
“Division 48 was the very first Prime Time plant we started in 2009. That small group of employees had a commitment to build innovative, high-quality products that customers would love to own,” said Prime Time President Jeff Rank. “Now, that very same commitment to quality has become the foundation with which all of our employees and all of our manufacturing facilities operate. Building 10,000 units is a great accomplishment, but Plant 48’s positive contributions to the culture of Prime Time will always be appreciated.”
The Tracer/LaCrosse division has been a recipient of the prestigious Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) for three consecutive years. May retail statistics list Prime Time Manufacturing as the No. 7 retailing towable manufacturer in the United States with a year-to-date sales increase of 48%.
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.