Using an old name for a new division, Forest River Inc.’s new Shasta Recreational Vehicles’ unit will go into production with the new wood-framed, aluminum-skinned Shasta Revere travel trailer line in early November.
“The ‘stick-and-tin plant’ is just about ready,” Shasta division General Manager Brad Whitehead told RVBUSINESS.com. “With the exception of Class A’s, we’re going to be a full-line manufacturer.”
The Revere, in a dozen 20- to 32-foot floorplans with up to two sliderooms, will debut Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.
“We are going to be very competitive with every other ‘stick-and-tin’ in the marketplace,” Whitehead said. “I think it’s an opportune time to get into the market. People are still buying travel trailers, and the market is up.”
The next phase — laminated fiberglass Shasta travel trailers and Class C motorhomes — will be available by spring, with a fifth-wheel series to follow next fall.
The Shasta Revere will be built in a 70,000-square-foot factory in Middlebury, Ind., where Pilgrim RVs were manufactured until the company went out of business.
A second 120,000-square-foot facility is being prepared for Shasta laminated towables and Class C’s with a third plant scheduled to be outfitted for Shasta fifth-wheels.
The Shasta nameplate was retired in 2004 by Coachmen Industries Inc., the RV products of which were acquired in December 2008 by Forest River.
Whitehead emphasized the Shasta division will operate independently of Coachmen and Forest River’s other divisions. “We are not a sub-brand of Coachmen,” Whitehead said.
The division currently employs 15 people, a number that will increase as the various Shasta products come online. “Once we get up and running, I can easily see a few hundred employees (in the first two) facilities,” he said.
Without going into specific details about upcoming product, Whitehead said the “new” Shasta will incorporate historical Shasta features while adding modern twists. “What we are trying to do is stay true to something that is retro but at the same time fresh,” Whitehead said. “We want to bring pieces of the Shasta heritage (but) at the same time you’ll see things that are linear and elegant.”
Whitehead said he expects dealers and retail customers to rapidly accept the new Shasta.
“It’s certainly going to be a recognizable product in the dealer network and there are a lot of people out there who have memories of Shasta products. We are going to lean into that.”
The big question on the minds of industry veterans? Will the new Shasta incorporate Shasta’s easily recognizable “flying wing?”
Yes and no.
“Not on the first ones,” Whitehead said. “We are going to have product where they might show up, but you won’t find 30-pound wings hanging off the back of the coach.”