Recently formed Prime Time Manufacturing introduced LaCrosse, its first entry into the towable RV market, during the 2nd Annual Forest River Pick Your Partner sales event this week in Elkhart, Ind. Designed to offer an affordable alternative to the more commonly used “stick and tin” construction, the aluminum-framed LaCrosse offers a laminated fiberglass exterior in eight models ranging in length from 26 feet to 36 feet. According to Chris Hermon, vice president, LaCrosse has many upgraded exterior standards normally found on more expensive RVs including remote keyless entry, bus style slam baggage doors, electric awnings, electric stabilizer jacks, and “EZ Tow” wide stance suspension. On the inside, LaCrosse features an extra large slide room called MAX SLIDE which utilizes a large 87” U-shaped dinette.
Other interior appointments include an air mattress hide-a-bed, adjustable shelf pantry, LCD television, DVD player, full extension drawer guides, raised panel kitchen overhead cabinets and residentially inspired furnishings and fabrics. Prime time has started full production of LaCrosse at its facility in Wakarusa, Ind. Prime Time Manufacturing is a division of Forest River Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company.
Forest River Inc. expects more than 1,600 people from about 600 RV dealerships to attend the company’s second annual dealer show Sept. 23-24 at its Elkhart, Ind., headquarters.
Some 300 towable and motorized RVs will be on display, according to Forest River General Manager Jeff Babcock. ”This is by far a bigger show than last year,” Babcock said. ”We are going to have 150 more units here than we did last year.”
Forest River’s new division, Prime Time Manufacturing (initially called Lifetime RV) will show a 32-foot double-slide prototype of its new laminated fiberglass-and-aluminum LaCrosse travel trailer and fifth-wheel series that will retail from about $22,000.
“We will be starting to ship the first part of October,” said Prime Time President Jeff Rank, who founded the division with Vice President Chris Hermon.
On the motorized side, Forest River will introduce an entry-level, gas-powered Georgetown motorhome retailing in the high-$70,000s — somewhat less than previous versions.
”We are going to be going after the lower-end gas market,” Babcock said. ”The motorhome market is starting to come back and I think we’ve purged most of the inventory that was out there. There’s no question that we are going to be a power in the motorhome business. We are going to go after it aggressively.”
Additionally, new floorplans will be introduced in Forest River’s retro-look R-Pod travel trailer while the company’s Coachmen division will show redesigned Chapparal, Brookstone and North Ridge fifth-wheels in the first collective showing of Coachmen’s lineup since Forest River purchased Coachmen Industries Inc.’s RV division last December.
As Forest River did last year, the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary will cover food and lodging costs for visiting dealers.
”We’ve had an unbelievable response from dealers,” Babcock said. ”Last year was small potatoes compared to what’s going to be going on this year.”