Wakarusa, Ind.-based Prime Time Manufacturing, a Forest River Inc. subsidiary, announced that it has been notified the builder will be receiving the prestigious Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) for the second straight year.
Three Prime Time brands – LaCrosse, Tracer, and Crusader – will be honored during the “Celebrate Excellence: All-Industry Gala” at the RVDA National Convention on Oct. 5. Each of the brands was recognized for scoring 80% or above in overall dealer satisfaction as measured in the Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey conducted by RVDA.
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 is again honored to have earned the Quality Circle Award with each of our eligible brands,” said Prime Time President Jeff Rank. “Winning is a tremendous credit to the hard work and commitment of nearly 300 employees who have come together with a joint mission to build high quality products, while providing industry-leading services to our dealers.”
“The DSI survey is an important tool for the measurement of the quality of our products, our manufacturing processes, and our sales and service policies,” said Rank. “We want to thank our valued dealer partners for honoring us with this prestigious award. Prime Time has geared up with an outstanding line-up of innovative and high quality towables for 2012 and we look forward to serving our dealers and retail customers with more award-winning products and services.”
Prime Time Manufacturing recently built the 1,000th Crusader fifth-wheel at its production facility in Wakarusa, Ind. The milestone unit was sold and delivered to Southern RV Supercenter, a multi-store dealership headquartered in Bossier City, La., which is the largest volume Crusader dealer in North America.
Prime Time President Jeff Rank made the arrangements for the sale of the special 298 BHD Crusader. “Southern RV was one of the very first Prime Time dealers when we started the company in 2009,” he said. “We are thankful for their continued commitment and support of Prime Time Manufacturing. It’s an honor to deliver Crusader number 1,000 to Jim and his team in recognition of their outstanding sales success.”
In accepting the 1,000th Crusader, Jim Hicks, president of Southern RV Supercenter, noted, “Like all of the Prime Time products, Crusader has several fantastic floorplans with lots of easy-to-sell features. Our retail customers think the Crusader looks great and our sales department loves to sell them. Crusader has quickly become a big part of our business.” Southern RV Supercenter has additional locations in Tyler, TX and Lafayette, LA.
Prime Time Manufacturing is a division of Forest River Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. company. Prime Time, founded in July 2009, offers towable RV’s under the brand names of Crusader, LaCrosse, Tracer and Sanibel. For more information regarding Prime Time Manufacturing, visit www.primetimerv.com or call (574) 862-3001.
TV viewers watching ”RV 2011” on HGTV New Year’s day generally got glowing cable TV reviews of 20 motorhomes and towable RVs displayed last September at the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show in Hershey, Pa.
Host Chi-Lan Lieu guided two families with children and a third couple through the maze of RVs at the Hershey Show on the grounds of Hersheypark.
Each family had different goals — the Herbst family was looking to upgrade while the Styles family sought their first RV, a high-end motorhome or towable and Lindsay and Chad Drvak were looking to accommodate rescued dogs.
Lieu, in turn, showed different RVs that she thought would meet their goals. Although none committed to buying an RV during the program, each chose one that they thought best suited their needs.
Among the units highlighted were Fleetwood RV Inc.’s high-end American Revolution and Tiffin Motor Home Inc.’s diminutive Allegro diesel pushers, Winnebago Industries Inc.’s Access minimotorhome, Prime Time Manufacturing’s Crusader fifth-wheel and Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.’s SS Ideal van camper.
The Herbsts chose a Dynamax Dynaquest XV Class C motorhome; the Styles, a Dutchmen Voltage high-end sport utility fifth-wheel (SURV); and the Drvaks, an Earthbound travel trailer.
The hour-long program marks the 13th year that HGTV has highlighted new RV products, and will be rebroadcast at unspecified times during the year.
Producers of the program worked with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and its agency, Barton Gilanelli, to put the program together.
Two-year-old Prime Time Manufacturing, Wakarusa, Ind., a fast-growing division of Forest River Inc., has introduced the 2011 Crusader, its first fifth-wheel.
”For a little fifth-wheel, there is a lot of storage and a very residential feel,” said Jeff Rank, Prime Time president and co-founder.
Available in six 29- to 36-foot floorplans, 34-foot 298BHD floorplan features a fully equipped exterior kitchen with a stone facade. ”Clearly outdoor kitchens are the trend,” Rank said. ”Everyone has one on travel trailers, but it’s just starting to filter its way into fifth-wheels.”
The Crusader features an aerodynamic front cap that affords an 88-degree turning radius which allows towing by short-bed pickup trucks without having the need for a slider hitch.
Standard features on the fiberglass-and-aluminum Crusader, which joins the Tracer ultra-lite and LaCrosse laminated trailer in Prime Time’s lineup, include soldid surface countertops, large pantries, cherry-glazed cabinets, crown molding and wardrobe slideout. MSRPs range from $27,000 to $45,000.
On Prime Time’s agenda for 2011 is the Sanibel full-profile fifth-wheel, along with a stick-and-tin entry level trailer in late summer and then a sport utility RV (SURV) by the Louisville Show.
”At that point we will be in every major segment and then we will stop introducing new brands and and try to make all of them better,” Rank said.
Wakarusa, Ind.-based Prime Time Manufacturing has announced the promotions of Joe Luther and Dan Sellers to product managers for the company’s Crusader, LaCrosse, and Tracer product lines, effective today.
“Joe and Dan have been instrumental in the successful start-up and subsequent growth of Prime Time,” Chris Hermon, Prime Time Manufacturing vice president of sales, stated in a news release.
“They have a long history of developing outstanding dealer relationships based on hard work, integrity, and a real understanding of the RV industry. Although Jeff Rank and I will continue to be very involved in all product decisions, Prime Time is fortunate to have these two talented individuals ready to take our brands to the next level.”
Luther will be product manager for the company’s fifth-wheel products that include the recently introduced Crusader and the soon-to-be-introduced Sanibel. Prior to joining Prime Time as a regional sales manager, Luther was national sales manager for Gulfstream’s Class C Motorized division for 10 years. In order to stay close to the retail customer, Luther will retain a small sales territory in the southeastern U.S. Living in Granger, Ind., Luther and his wife, Cheryl, have four daughters.
Sellers will assume responsibility for Prime Time’s travel trailer products – the ultra lightweight Tracer and the luxury lightweight LaCrosse. A 22-year industry veteran, Sellers has worked at some of the industry’s leading manufacturers in various capacities with direct sales experience in over 60% of the United States. Sellers will have a small sales territory in the Midwest. Dan and his wife, Gayle, reside in Wakarusa, Ind., and have two adult children.
For information regarding Prime Time Manufacturing, consult www.primetimerv.com or call (574) 862-3001.
Prime Time Manufacturing is a division of Forest RiverInc, a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. company.
Prime Time Manufacturing has expanded its product offering with the introduction of the all-new Tracer Micro series travel trailer targeted toward minivan and small crossover tow vehicles. Industry insiders got their first look at the new Tracer Micro during the just completed Forest River Inc. dealer open house in Elkhart, Ind., according to a news release.
“The thinking behind the new Micro is simple,” according to Jeff Rank, president for the Wakarusa, Ind.-based manufacturer. “Prime Time wanted a travel trailer that can easily be towed by a minivan with 3,500 pounds of towing capacity. Unfortunately, most of the units in this weight range really compromise livability and function. With Micro we’ve combined great looks, the right features, and many of today’s lightweight composite materials to create a perfect balance between weight, price, features and eye appeal.”
Three floorplans, all with slideouts, are being offered in the Tracer Micro series with shipping weights starting at 2,550 pounds fully loaded. Standard interior equipment includes cherry cabinets and cherry hardwood cabinet doors, automotive styled leather wrapped dinettes, microwave, air conditioner and CD player. On the outside, a full-sized awning, stabilizer jacks, spare tire, stereo speakers, television hook-up and aluminum wheels are included as standard equipment.
The MSRPs for the new Tracer Micro series start at $14,900.
Prime Time Manufacturing is a division of Forest River Inc, a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. company. Prime Time offers towable recreational vehicles under the brand names of LaCrosse, Tracer, and Crusader.
For information regarding the Tracer Micro, consult www.primetimerv.com or call (574) 862-3001.
As Forest River Inc. marks its best sales year since being founded in 1995 by Peter J. Liegl, the multi-divisional company anticipates hosting 2,800 people at its third annual dealer meeting, Sept. 29-30, at its corporate headquarters in Elkhart, Ind.
”I guess we are going to have a 40% increase this year in attendance,” Liegl told RVBUSINESS.com. ”The response has been phenomenally good.”
The show will feature Forest River, Coachmen, Palomino and Prime Time recreation vehicles along with buses, cargo trailers, manufactured homes, commercial vehicles, ice houses, pontoon boats and bathroom units manufactured by other divisions.
In an exclusive interview with RVBUSINESS.com, Liegl estimates that Forest River’s sales for 2010 will be in the range of $2.5 billion, up 74.2% compared to last year.
”We’ve never had a better year in our whole history,” Liegl said. ”We’re happy with that. But by the same token, we picked up a lot of pieces of the pie (market share) where other people went out of business.”
Soon to join Forest River’s lineup is the reincarnation of the Shasta brand in a new division under the direction of industry veteran Brad Whitehead that will build stick-and-tin travel trailers, minimotorhomes and laminated trailers and fifth-wheels. Shasta’s new lineup will make their debut Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the 48th National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
”We won’t have anything from Shasta at our dealer showing, but there’s a need for a Shasta-type product and we’ll have it at Louisville,” Liegl said.
Although the recent proliferation of northern Indiana dealer meetings has raised some concerns within the industry regarding the ultimate impact on the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Louisville Show, Liegl said that Forest River’s dealer show is meant to compliment the Louisville Show, rather than replace it.
”I think we need both,” Liegl said. ”No 1, Louisville is limited to RVs. By the same token, space is extremely costly there. I’ve got my show here in a field next to corporate headquarters. I can display more at no cost.”
Liegl, at the same time, said the Louisville Show by itself isn’t long enough to spend the time necessary with Forest River’s dealers. ”Our show just gives us more time to spend with our dealers communicating,” he said. ”That’s all Louisville is, communicating. But with our own show, we’ve got more time to do that.”
The Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary’s foray into staging its initial dealer meeting in 2008 with the theme ”Pick Your Partner” was spurred by the desire to ”let dealers know that financially, unquestionably, we were the strongest (RV manufacturer),” Liegl said.
”We wanted to make it known that they should make sure that their ‘partner’ was going to be here through thick and thin,” Liegl added. ”And obviously, it worked very successfully for us.
”In effect we were saying to dealers that they needed to know who they were doing business with because if your manufacturer goes out of business, you’ve got a problem, not only a problem getting your warranty, but a problem selling them and getting them financed.
“Every dealer out there understands that very well today when they look at the manufacturers that went out of business and the problems they had with the product that they had on their lots.”
Liegl said the theme for this year’s gathering will involve a ”thank you” to dealers for making Forest River the success it has become.
in the big picture, Liegl said a host of RV manufacturers holding dealer open houses and shows the same week in September is, in reality, boosting attendance at Forest River’s gathering.
Those other companies hosting dealers include Gulf Stream Coach Inc.; Thor Industries Inc. subsidiaries Keystone RV Co., Thor Motor Coach (recently created from the consolidation of Four Winds International Corp. and Damon Motor Coach), Breckenridge and Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.; Monaco RV LLC; Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles; Dynamax Corp,; EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC; Sunnybrook RV; and Carriage Inc. Meanwhile, Jayco Inc.’s annual Master Sales Training Session for dealers’ sales staffs is partly slotted in the same time frame.
”Having the competition have their (dealer shows) at the same time has boosted our numbers,” Liegl said. ”We’re getting commitments (from competitors’) dealers that they are coming to ours too.”
Rapidly expanding Prime Time Manufacturing has announced details of a consumer incentive program designed to spur retail sales during the upcoming fall season.
The program, called Prime Time’s “Reason To Buy” Touring Edition, is available on all 2011 model LaCrosse and Tracer Executive Series travel trailers produced between Sept. 1, 2010, and Nov. 30, 2010, by the Wakarusa, Ind.-based manufacturer.
Chris Hermon, Prime Time vice president of sales, says the program is a proactive approach to addressing the traditional slowdown in retail sales that occurs after the Labor Day weekend.
“The Reason To Buy Touring Edition offers consumers up to $3,900 of free upgrades not normally available on LaCrosse and Tracer.” Hermon said. “It’s simple; we want to give customers a reason to buy now. With these incentives, Prime Time dealers are in a better position to compete for available customers or turn idle prospects into willing buyers.”
Participating dealers will receive point-of-purchase sales support and Prime Time has launched several web-based initiatives to increase retail interest. According to Hermon, “Retail customers are coming to primetimerv.com in increasing numbers and staying for long periods of time due to its informative and interactive format. The Reason To Buy Touring Edition will be featured prominently on the site to help generate awareness. We are also working with several industry web sites targeting retail customers to help get the word out.”
The program announcement represents a significant turning point for the young manufacturer. “For the last 14 months, we’ve focused our resources on launching the company with a foundation of industry-leading quality and customer service. Unlike many of our competitors, we were not in a position to offer heavily discounted products, yet, Tracer and LaCrosse have enjoyed remarkable market acceptance. We are excited to now leverage Forest River’s unmatched financial strength to help our dealers win in a much bigger way,” added Hermon.
For specific details regarding the Reason To Buy Touring Edition, consult www.primetimerv.com or call (574) 862-3001.
Prime Time Manufacturing, a division of Forest River Inc., has expanded its product offering with the introduction of the company’s first fifth-wheel, the mid-priced Crusader.
Full production of the new Crusader started in June at Prime Time’s facility in Wakarusa, Ind., and officials recently delivered the first production model to General RV in Wixom, Mich., according to a news release
Loren Baidas, president of General RV, and several members of the dealership’s management and sales team were presented with the 2011 Crusader 270RET fifth-wheel by Prime Time president Jeff Rank and Chris Hermon, Prime Time’s vice president of sales.
According to Rank, “General RV is not only one of Prime Time’s largest dealers, but also a huge dealer for all of Forest River. When we started the company, General was one of the first dealers to come aboard and we are thankful for their continued commitment and support of Prime Time Manufacturing. It’s an honor to deliver this very special Crusader fifth-wheel to Loren and his team.”
General RV, with nine locations, is the nation’s largest family-owned dealership. In acceptance, Baidas was quick to compliment the young company.
“The new Crusader has a great look and lots of easy to sell features. It will definitely be a nice addition to our dealerships. Prime Time is quickly becoming a bigger part of our business plan and we are excited to be a factor in their rapid growth,” he said.
After the presentation, Hermon was able to show several unique features of the new Crusader including the innovative Super Turn front cap, Slam Latch pass thru baggage doors, Quiet Cool ducted return air conditioning and solid cherry hardwood cabinet doors and drawers. During the walk-through with the dealership, Hermon emphasized, “We’ve loaded Crusader with features not normally found on a mid-profile fifth wheel and priced it very aggressively to deliver more value.”
Additional Crusader upgrades on the 270RET include solid surface countertops, an RCA Soundwave entertainment system, bumper mounted swing arm grill, hitch cover and a 42-inch LCD with electric lift.
Base MSRP of the new Crusader fifth-wheel is $29,500.
For more information regarding Prime Time Manufacturing and the LaCrosse, Tracer, and Crusader brands, please consult www.primetimerv.com or call (574) 862-3001.
Watch today’s Featured Video to learn more about the following Should I Attend My Ex Boyfriends Show story.
An RV company in Elkhart County, Ind., reached a milestone. It has delivered more than a thousand units and announced a new product line. And for a company that didn’t exist eight months ago — the results aren’t bad, according to WSBT-TV, South Bend.
Last September, Prime Time Manufacturing Inc., a division of Forest River Inc., set up shop in a vacant RV plant in Wakarusa. The complex previously housed Travel Supreme Inc. It started making a line of travel trailers and eventually hired up to 130 employees.
“In a short seven, eight months we’ve been able to open up a plant, and just most recently, we delivered our 1,000th unit and we are excited for a lot of reasons,” said Chris Hermon, vice president of Prime Time Manufacturing.
One reason is that they will soon introduce a new line of fifth-wheels, which will translate into more jobs.
“We’re getting ready to announce here very shortly that we will have 30 to 40 people hired and then by the end of the year, we will expect to have 80 to 100 people in a new fifth-wheel plant and the product will be called ‘Crusader,’” said Hermon.
A number of people now here at Prime Time have a lot of time under their belt in RV production, some were recently unemployed but all are glad to be back in the workforce.
“It’s nice to be back at a place and have a good paycheck coming in on Fridays again, and feel confident about the next day,” said Shane Abney, who has 22 years of RV experience.
“The people that are working here are very, very happy to not have to go home at night, and worrying about not having a job, coming in and having a good place to work,” said Jeff Abney, who has 26 years of RV experience.
Prime Time is one of the latest new RV companies to start in Elkhart County. Could more new companies like theirs spring up and bring TV employment levels back up to those of the past?
“Some people might say unemployment levels will never get up to what they once were, but I am not ready to say that,” said Kyle Hannon of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t think anyone can predict; that industry continues to evolve.”