Towable builder Open Range RV Co. is moving ahead with a planned expansion at its headquarters in Shipshewana, Ind., that would include additional manufacturing space, new equipment and the hiring of 10 to 15 workers.
According to a report in the Goshen News, Open Range has applied for a 10-year phase-in tax abatement with the Shipshewana clerk-treasurer’s office. Estimated costs for the expansion are $580,880 for construction on the addition to its current facilities and $475,000 for manufacturing equipment. The newspaper reported that Open Range filed a request for a little more than $1 million in tax abatements.
In a separate report by KPCnews.com, the LaGrange County Plan Commission has given the go-ahead for the construction.
“This growth will allow the company to improve product flow and production,” Open Range Production Manager Jason Martin told the commission. Open Range President Randy Graber could not be reached for comment.
Open Range, founded in August of 2007 by industry veteran Graber, builds travel trailers and fifth-wheels under the brand names Light, Open Range, Mesa Ridge, Journeyer, Residential, and Roamer along with the Rolling Thunder toy hauler line.
When the new Sprinter travel trailer rolls of the production line Sept. 19, Keystone RV Co. will reach a milestone not achieved by many other manufactures, according to a press release.
The unit will represent the 500,000th RV that has rolled through the company’s facilities in Goshen, Ind., and Pendleton, Ore. On hand to celebrate the achievement will be company officials, employees and Holiday World of Houston, a key dealer partner from Texas.
Founded in 1996 by six industry veterans, including Cole Davis, Keystone has grown to become the No. 1 manufacturer of towable RVs. Some of the most recognized Keystone brands include Montana – the No. 1 selling fifth-wheel for 10 consecutive years – along with Cougar, Springdale, Outback, Raptor and Sprinter, the first Keystone brand.
According to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., Keystone now controls a commanding 23% market share for combined travel trailer and fifth-wheel sales through July. Keystone said its growth has also been good for Goshen and Elkhart County. The company directly employs over 3,000 workers and indirectly employs thousands of others.
“We continue to operate by the principals upon which Keystone was founded,” said President Bob Martin. “Our ongoing success is a tribute to many people. Cole started us on the right path and Ron and Bill Fenech helped us advance and grow. The employees at Keystone today are passionate about what they do and they are, I believe, the best in the industry.”
What does the future hold for Keystone? “RV vacations are one of the most affordable ways to enjoy the outdoors,” said Martin. “Keystone will continue to offer a full spectrum of models to meet every family’s budget and needs. As consumer preferences change, we will innovate and evolve to deliver the most attractive RV value for the money. In other words, we will continue to do what we have done successfully over the past 15 years.”
The company is set to kick off a huge dealer open house on Sept. 20 at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart. Keystone will showcase over 90 new products, introduce several new brands, and play host to nearly 1,000 of its dealer personnel.
Monaco RV LLC, manufacturer of motorized and towable recreational vehicles, is preparing to showcase the breadth of its product offering at Elkhart County’s 4th Annual Open House September 19-22. Monaco RV will showcase its “Next Generation of RVs” at a display a few minutes south of the RV/MH Hall of Fame, at the intersection of C.R. 17 and U.S. 20.
Monaco will display nearly 50 different product offerings from its diverse portfolio of brands covering nearly every segment of the market. On display will be: Monaco brand diesel, gas, Class A and B motorhomes; Holiday Rambler diesel, gas, Class A, B and C motorhomes; Holiday Rambler travel trailers and fifth-wheels; R-Vision travel trailers and fifth-wheels; and Bison horse trailers with living quarters.
The display will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and lunch will be served daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monaco RV will also have sales and management personnel available to provide information, offer demonstrations and answer questions.
“We are excited to be able to bring our ‘Next Generation of RVs’ to dealers who will be in the Elkhart area,” said Mike Snell, senior vice president of sales and product development. “We believe our partnership with Navistar, has brought us new technology, new engineering and superior designs that have never been seen in the RV market before. Our 2012 models are the best products we have ever offered.
“We plan to expand on these products and raise the bar even higher in the future. We will continue to focus on innovation, quality and customer service to deliver the finest, most customer appealing products to our dealer partners.”
Pacific Coachworks Inc. has begun shipping its initial offering of the all-new Panther Xltralite, Widelite and Elite series trailers, according to a press release.
Brett Bashaw, CEO and president of the Riverside, Calif.-based company, said that the Panther “premier series trailers” will be introduced in August of this year with fifth-wheels scheduled for release in early fall.
The Panther product lineup will consist of three tiers of products designed to “meet the needs for every RV consumer,” said General Manager Jeff Daily. The line will include the Panther Xltralite, Widelite and Elite series trailers, each offering its own “exclusive set of standard and optional items based solely on consumer demand.”
Daily added that the initial response for Pacific Coachworks Panther products has been both “exciting and overwhelming.”
“Our order intake for the past six weeks has caused us to double our daily production rate and we’re just getting started,” he said.
Next up for Pacific Coachworks will be the Panther Powerlite toy hauler line with several innovative features designed to meet the needs of the most demanding off-road enthusiast.
The company said that Panther sales representatives Bobby Combs and Ernie Kish are actively seeking the proper Panther representation in each market while responding to the several inquires that they have received regarding the new products.
Today’s Featured Video comes from HGTV’s popular series on RVs.
RV wholesale shipments were reported at 13,500 units in July this year, off 14.0% from last month and off 21.1% from this same month one year ago, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported.
Shipments had been improving steadily since the beginning of the year, and on a seasonally adjusted basis July’s total represented an annual rate of 171,000 units, the highest level since October last year.
July’s total was the smallest percentage decline in month-over-month comparisons since April 2008. Towable RVs were off 18.7%, while motorhomes were behind this month last year by 43.8%. Year-to-date, totals of 86,200 units were behind the first seven months last year by 52% through July.
By product segment, shipments were as follows:
- Travel trailers, 8,500.
- Fifth-wheels, 2,700.
- Folding camping trailers, 1,300.
- Truck campers, 100.
- Total towables, 12,600.
- Class A motorhomes, 400.
- Class B motorhomes, 100.
- Class C motorhomes, 400.
- Total motorized, 900.
Camping World has launched a “Cash for Campers” incentive, giving up to $7,500 cash allowance for motorized RVs when current RV owners purchase a new vehicle.
It is designed to mirror the the government program “Cash for Clunkers” currently supported by the automotive industry and Department of Transportation.
Camping World’s self-funded recycle and save initiative is focused on improving the quality of vehicles currently in circulation as well as stimulating the economy in heavy-hit manufacturing states such as Iowa and Indiana, according to a news release from the Lincolnshire, Ill.-based retailer. The “Cash for Campers“ program incentivizes RV consumers to transition into new and more fuel-efficient motorized RVs when they trade in an older, less fuel-efficient model.
Camping World has aligned itself with the three top selling motorhome manufacturers who are leading the charge toward improving environmental issues with efforts in such areas as chassis selection, fuel savings through design and long-term durability. These changes are evident in their current motorhome line-up such as the Winnebago View and Navion, Damon Avanti and Four Winds Serrano.
Marcus Lemonis, Camping World chairman & CEO, said, “As the market leader, Camping World currently retails over 18% of all new motorhomes sold in the U.S. We believe that an accelerated transition of the current installed base ultimately accomplishes several important goals: to remove less fuel efficient models from the roads, increase the demand for new and more efficient motorhomes which will ideally result in assisting the RV manufacturers in putting people back to work.”
Camping World also plans to permanently retire less fuel-efficient models ages 1984 and older through a salvage process. Lemonis further detailed, “If a consumer owns a less fuel-efficient and less technologically advanced motorhome and is interested in trading it in through the”Cash for Campers“ program, their unit is eligible for a cash allowance toward select new models at Camping World.”
The company expects to launch similar programs in the near future on recycling towable models as well as select RV accessories with more details to be released as plans get underway.
More details about the program can be found at CampingWorld.com/cashforcampers.