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Class B Builder Roadtrek Gets Equity Boost

February 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

logoIndustrial Opportunity Partners LLC, a Chicago-based private equity firm, is going to make a multi-million dollar investment in Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. within the next couple of weeks, Roadtrek announced today (Feb. 22).

Roadtrek, based in Kitchener, Ontario, is the No.1 Class B motorhome maker.

IOP’s investment insures that the company has the capital to make increased ongoing investments in product improvements, new products, new markets (like China and possibly Europe) and new processes, and continues to offer limited supplemental wholesale floorplan to U.S. dealers, something Roadtrek’s competitors cannot afford to do, Roadtrek stated in a news release.

The existing Roadtrek management team, led by Jeff Hanemaayer as co-chairman and  Jim Hammill as president will continue to manage the company. Upon completion of the IOP investment, Andy Weller, one of IOP’s Operating Principals with significant experience in manufacturing and transportation companies, will provide additional leadership as the other co-chairman.

“We are extremely enthusiastic about working with IOP to continue to provide our customers with an unrivalled combination of product design, quality, price and service,” said Hanemaayer.

IOP is focused on investing in middle market manufacturing businesses with strong products, customers and markets. IOP provides both financial resources and management assistance to support its investments in better serving their customers and, in turn, growing sales and earnings at such companies. Despite the recent unfavorable economic environment, they have not had a single failure among their portfolio of companies.

IOP’s current investment portfolio includes Algoma Hardwoods Inc., FAS Controls Inc., Center Manufacturing Inc., Gulf Coast Machine & Supply Co., E.B. Bradley Co., Carlson Systems Holdings Inc. and Edelbrock LLC.

IOP was the “staking horse” in an attempt to buy cargo trailer maker Pace American Inc. in 2010. Sun Capital Partners Inc., a private equity capital firm based in Boca Raton, Fla., ultimately bought the cargo trailer maker.

For more information on IOP, visit www.iopfund.com.

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HGTV Show Features 20 Models on ‘RV 2011′

January 4, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Chi-Lan Lieu

Chi-Lan Lieu

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.

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Stat Surveys: Sept. Class B Sales Off 17.2%

November 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Class B sales

Class B sales

Retail sales of Class B motorhomes dropped 17.2% in September from September 2009, Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) has reported.

It was the first year-over-year decline for Class B sales this year, following a steady improvement starting in 2009.

Year-to-date, Class B sales still remain a healthy 28.8% ahead of the 2009 pace.

Kitchener, Ontario-based Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. remained the industry leader in September with a 40.6% market share, followed by fellow Canadian builder Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. with a 21.9% share. Winnebago Industries Inc. was the leader among U.S. builders with a 19.8% share and in third place overall.

Year-to-date, Roadtrek is the industry leader with a 42.1% market share, followed by Pleasure-Way with a 22.1% share and Winnebago with an 18.3% share.

To subscribe to this or other SSI reports, contact Scott Stropkai, SSI national RV sales manager, at (616) 281-9898 ext. 128, or  616-446-8179 (cell).

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Murray to Lead Roadtrek’s Midwest Sales Team

September 30, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. has announced the appointment of Joe Murray as regional sales manager for the central U.S. region.

Murray is a 43-year veteran of the Class B van business.

“We are tremendously excited to add Joe to our strong sales team. Adding someone with Joe’s talent and experience just reinforces our No. 1 position in North America,” said Paul Cassidy, vice president of sales for the Kitchener, Ontario-based company.

Murray will work as part of the team to grow sales in North America, with a specific focus of supporting and growing sales in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

Murray’s cell number is (810) 537-1339.

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Stat Surveys: Class B Sales Up 14.6% in July

September 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Stat Surveys logoRetail sales of Class B motorhomes or van campers rose 14.6% in July over July 2009, Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) has reported.

Canada-based Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. remained the industry leader with a 40% share of the U.S. market.

Thor Industries Inc. moved into the No. 2 spot with a 20.9% share, nosing out another Canadian firm, Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd., which had a 19.1% share.

Only six of the eight participating firms reported retail sales for the month.

Year-to-date, Class B sales are ahead of the 2009 pace by 42.8%.

Year-to-date, Roadtrek is solidly in the No. 1 spot with a 41.1% market share, followed by Pleasure-Way with a 22.2% share and Winnebago Industries Inc. with an 18.3% share.

To subscribe to this or other SSI reports, contact Scott Stropkai, SSI national RV sales manager, at (616)9898 ext. 128, or (616) 446-8179 (cell).

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FMCA Convention Drew 2,000-Plus Coaches

August 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Monaco RV Vesta

Monaco RV Vesta

Alex and Jan Alexander were in the 17th week of a tour of the West Coast in their 2006 Country Coach when they pulled into the gates of the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond, Ore., for the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 84th International Convention Aug. 11-14. One of more than 2,000 motorhome families to attend the mid-week event in central Oregon, the young couple from St. James City, Fla., intended to spend the four days soaking up information.

“We’re here for several reasons,” Alex noted after exiting the Tiffin Motor Homes manufacturer’s display. “We wanted to see what’s going on in the industry — but, most importantly from an educational standpoint, to visit the displays and see the latest in engines and electronics … it (Redmond) has a little bit of everything.” And, while the first-time visitors to the convention hadn’t considered upgrading their luxury coach prior to the event, Alex did note that “we may change our minds. Right now, we’re looking at an Allegro bus.”

According to Jerry Yeatts, FMCA event director, the Alexanders’ upbeat attitude personified the 84th convention, which also was highlighted by the public debut of the new Vesta motorhome from Monaco RV LLC and the West Coast introduction of the Insignia from Jayco’s Entegra Coach division.

Newell Coach display

Newell Coach

“We had a little over 2,000 families there, and about 200 coaches on display,” he said. “Compared to the last time we were here, it was probably comparable, numbers-wise — but as far as attitude and enthusiasm, it was amazing. The members were probably in their best mood we’ve seen in quite a while. Seems like sales were up, spirits were up, and overall it was a great convention.”

It also apparently was quite successful for a number of exhibitors. “One OEM said that the higher-end coaches they brought were sold,” Yeatts said. “Another dealer who brought in 11 coaches sold six.”

Shannon Nill, general manager of Guaranty RV, Junction City, Ore., echoed Yeatts’ assessment on the overall atmosphere of the program. “We sold 18 RVs at the Redmond rally, about evenly distributed between new and used,” Nill noted, out of about 75 units the dealership supplied to several displays including Monaco, Newmar Corp. and Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. “Beyond the sales, however, one huge point was that the mood of the customer was really strong compared to last year’s rally. People were eager to RV. The gatherings of this kind after a slowdown are even more important than normal.”

This year marked the fourth time FMCA has held a convention at the Redmond fairgrounds, but was the first time the association kicked off the event with a Wednesday “preview” day. Gates opened at 5 p.m. on “hump day” for touring outdoor manufacturer displays, followed by access only to indoor exhibits Thursday morning. All displays became accessible at noon and thereafter.

Entegra Insignia by Jayco Inc.

Entegra Insignia by Jayco Inc.

“We really didn’t receive any comments concerning shifting the pattern,” Yeatts said. “The gate on Wednesday was greater than normal, but we don’t know if that’s attributable to starting later in the week, or later in the day.”

The Vesta, introduced to dealers two weeks prior to the Redmond convention, immediately attracted quite a bit of attention from rally attendees due to its unique aerodynamic styling.

“We’ve had a lot of customers come up to us that hadn’t really considered a Class A before just because of the size,” said Ryan Lee, marketing director for the Coburg, Ore., manufacturer. “They take a look at this, with the sleek design, and see that it’s really easy from an ergonomic standpoint to sit up there in the driver’s seat and drive that coach.”

Built on a proprietary 26,000-pound GVWR Monaco Roadmaster chassis and designed in conjunction with wind-tunnel testing, the single-slide 32-foot Vesta (a 35-foot floorplan also is planned) features a sloping front fascia, low center of gravity and tapered rear section. MSRP for the 32-foot coach is $195,000-$200,000.

“It’s pretty striking,” Lee said of the styling. “One of the things that we’re trying to do at Monaco is that, when a coach rolls down the road we want people to know it’s a Monaco; we want people to know it’s a Holiday Rambler (Monaco’s sister division). And this type of styling is going to get us there.”

Winnebago Via

Winnebago Via

Along with the Vesta, Monaco also brought several models with fresh 2011 floorplans to Redmond. “We’re showing our first 2011 Dynasty and Camalot here at the show,” noted Mike Snell, senior vice president of sales and product development for Monaco. “The Dynasty has a 500hp engine, and we’ve changed the paint scheme and have really upgraded the interiors. On the Camelot, we did the same: changed the front facia, the backsplash, put in a ceiling insert in the living room — we really dressed up the inside. We also have our slide-in-a-slide Diplomat here. We had the slide-in-a-slide in the Dynasty, and we added it to the Diplomat, which is a 43-footer.”

The Entegra Insignia, which debuted almost simultaneously at Affinity Group’s The Rally, July 22-25, at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center and Redmond, is the Jayco division’s “entry-level” coach for the high-end Entegra line. Built on a 32,400-pound GVWR Freightliner XCR chassis powered by a 360-hp Cummins ISB diesel engine, the $265,000 MSRP Insignia features heated-and-enclosed holding tanks, frameless flush-mounted slideout rooms, gel goat fiberglass sidewalls and a steel-reinforced front cap and windshield frame plus interiors sporting glazed maple hardwood cabinets and leather hide-a-bed sofas.

Yet another new unit drawing a crowd was the 2011 model from Newell Coach Corp. Upgrades to the 2011 welded-steel-and-aluminum Newell motorcoaches — the first since the 2006 model year — include upgraded front caps with bright-white “string-of-pearl” LED running lights that outline the outer edges of the headlights, plus rear-body trim and redesigned side moldings. Interiors feature wood windowsill trim bordered with seamed leather, carbon-fiber instrument panels and automated air conditioning and heating.

The upbeat atmosphere at Redmond was, in the view of many dealers staffing the manufacturer exhibits, a reflection of a more optimistic viewpoint already noted at their respective dealerships.

Brian Kehoe, a sales consultant for Sandy, Ore.-based Johnson RV Sales who was manning the Entegra display, noted that the dealership “has experienced four months consecutive of record sales for the company. It’s been fantastic. All the way through, from the B class, C class, Class A gas and diesel units.” The dealership, site of the former Fred’s RV, opened under the Johnson RV Sales umbrella last year and features 12 service bays and three buildings — including an indoor showroom — on seven acres.

At the Tiffin exhibit, Rick Neat, a salesman from RV Corral, Eugene, Ore., one of three dealerships providing coaches for the display, called August “the best month in two years.

“There’s more business out there,” following the shuttering of dealers and OEMs alike during the recession, he said, adding that consumer credit is likewise on an uptick. “On the big money, it’s starting to ease up a bit. A lot of people are going to credit unions now, which are getting a lot more flexible than they were in the past.”

Mike Alverez, with All Seasons RV, Bend, Ore., concurred. “Our banks have loosened up,” he said at the Winnebago Industries Inc. exhibit. “They’ve changed on how they are financing. They are looking at people in a better light, where before it was tough to get financing accomplished. The other thing, too, is that GE, our flooring company, has backed off; they are letting us get product in here, and we’re making the turns we need to make to keep it going.”

Freightliner display

Freightliner display

Along with new coach designs and features, Redmond also was one of the first consumer shows to feature motorhomes fitted with new 2010 EPA emissions-compliant engines, and several exhibitors — including Gaffney, S.C.-based Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. and Spartan Chassis, Charlotte, Mich. — fielded questions from consumers and dealership personnel somewhat confused about the technical merits of the two competing drive systems developed to meet the EPA criteria. Cummins Inc. utilizes an aftermarket treatment system, while Navistar’s new MaxxForce engines employ Advanced EGR technology.

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Stat Surveys: Motorhome Sales Flat in March

May 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Total Class A and C retail motorhome registrations of 1,704 were flat in March compared to 2009, down by just two units, according to Statistical Survey Inc.

First quarter total sales of 3,971 also represented a decline of 6.3% compared to last year.

According to the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company, Class A sales in March fell 1.4% to 922 units, compared to 935 last year, while year-to-date registrations dropped 8.5% to 2,357.

Class C motorhome registrations of 782 coaches, however, were up 1.4%, although first quarter sales showed a 2.9% drop to 1,614 units.

Forest River Inc. was the top seller in March with it’s Coachmen subsidiary capturing 14.5% of the market with sales of 247 units while Forest River’s other brands recorded sales of 172 coaches for a 10.1% market share.

Thor Industries Inc. was second in total sales for March, retailing 307 units for an 18% market share.

Class B sales for the month, which Statistical Survey records separately, increased 53.5% to 109 units compared to March 2009, while total first quarter sales of 341 units represented a 76.7% increase.

Two Canadian firms, Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., and Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd., were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in Class B sales for March with Roadtrek capturing 33.9% of the market with the sale of 37 units while Pleasure-Way sold 26 units for 23.9% share of the market.

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Stat Surveys Inc.: Feb. Class B Sales Up 82%

April 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Retail sales of Class B motorhomes rose 82% in February over February 2009, Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) reported today (April 12).

In its inaugural report on Class B sales to RVBUSINESS.com, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SSI noted that Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., based in Kitchener, Ontario, led the way with a 47.7% market share in February. Fellow Canadian builder Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. was second with a 19.8% share. Thor Industries Inc. was the top U.S. builder with a 14.4% market share. Winnebago Industries Inc. rounded out the top four.

Sales of eight Class B builders were cited in the report.

For year-to-date, Class B sales are up 90.2% over the first two months of 2009. Roadtrek held a 45.3% share for the first two months, followed by Pleasure-Way, Winnebago and Thor.

A small market category by comparison, Class B wholesale shipments in 2009 totaled 1,200 units, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

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Roadtrek Continues to Tout Class B Rebound

March 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

While monthly sales of class A and C motorhomes continue to be down on a year-over-year basis, class B sales have been up for the last six months (August 2009 to January 2010) according to Statistical Surveys Inc., the de facto source of retail registrations for RVs.
In fact, A’s and C’s were down 19%. During that same period, class B sales were up a whopping 33%, according to a news release from Class B leader Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., Kitchener, Ontario.

“The rebound in Class B sales is probably the best kept secret in the industry,” said Roadtrek Chairman Jeff Hanemaayer. “And I think it’s a trend that will continue. We have the oldest buyers so we’ll benefit as more Baby Boomers move into their late 50s and 60s.”

Roadtrek noted that it continued to dominate the class B segment with 44.6% of the market in 2009. In addition, when all types of motorhomes are combined, Roadtrek ranked as the No. 11 motorhome manufacturer right on the heels of No. 10 Newmar Corp.

“Although 1 of every 13 motorhomes sold in the last six months was a class B, many self-described, fullline RV dealers still don’t sell B’s. If they were sold in as many places as A’s and C’s, I can’t imagine how many more we would sell,” he concluded.

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Mike Thompson’s RV to Carry Roadtrek Brands

February 22, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., Kitchner, Ont., announced today (Feb. 22) that Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores in California has signed with Roadtrek to sell and service its No. 1 selling Class B motorhomes.

Mike Thompson’s is one of the largest and financially strongest dealers in the U.S. Roadtreks will be sold at all of its four southern California locations: Santa Fe Springs, Fountain Valley, Colton and Cathedral City.

“Mike Thompson’s is a perfect fit for Roadtrek,” stated Roadtrek chairman Jeff Hanemaayer in a news release. “Like us, they’ve been around for almost 40 years. They offer award-winning customer service from great service and parts facilities achieving a Customer Service Index of 97%. We couldn’t be happier having them there to take care of the many current and new Roadtrek owners in the largest Class B market.”

“Their professionalism and enthusiasm for the business has been obvious in all our dealings from the start,” noted Roadtrek President Jim Hammill. “Their reputation in the industry gives us great comfort that we are teaming up with the best.”

“Mike Thompson’s RV Superstores is already the No. 1 RV Dealer in California and with great product lines. Roadtrek gives us the opportunity for significant incremental sales by helping us enter the Class B van motorhome market with the industry leader in market share, quality and CSI.” said Mike Thompson’s owner Frank De Gelas. “We are very impressed with the Roadtrek manufacturing facilities, their product and their people.”

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