Responding to strong dealer orders during September’s Elkhart County RV Open House, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC is expanding its popular Trail Runner travel trailer line with the introduction of a tri-colored laminated sidewall option.
The move comes on the heels of Trail Runner’s inclusion among several Heartland brands as recipients of the distinguished Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). The honor is the first for Trail Runner and recognizes manufacturers who achieve top scores in dealer surveys measuring key policy, product and procedure areas.
“I am extremely thankful to our dealers for their loyalty and product input,” said Nick Eppert, general manager for Elkhart-based Heartland, in a press release. “I am also very proud of the Heartland team. It has been amazing to see how far Trail Runner has come over the past 2 1/2 years.”
That growth was punctuated during the Open House as Trail Runner introduced several new floorplans along with the industry’s first full-body paint look exterior in a traditional aluminum-and-wood entry-level trailer. Eppert reported that the tri-colored laminated wall option would be available at the upcoming Louisville Show.
“Our dealers asked for a more upscale look, inside and out, and we delivered that at Open House,” Eppert said. “The new tri-colored laminated wall option will give our dealers another edge, offering a high-demand step-up option in the highly competitive half-ton market while still maintaining an aggressive price point.”
Heartland President Chris Hermon added, “Heartland’s strategy is to provide our dealer partners with product that stands out in the market, offering strong eye appeal, features that key into consumer trends, and pricing that outstrips our competitors. Nick and his team have accomplished that with the Trail Runner and continue to stay at the forefront of the market with the addition of the tri-colored laminated sidewall option.”
Heartland Recreational Vehicle’s makeover of its Trail Runner brand last fall successfully rejuvenated the conventional-built travel trailer line, spurring retail sales and creating sustained demand with the company’s dealer body.
“Our dealers were very specific in their needs,” said General Manager Nick Eppert in a press release. “Through telephone and face-to-face conversations, the need for lower dry weights and a more aggressive price point came through loud and clear. Accordingly, we made some monumental changes in the product that really paid off.”
The reengineered, sharply priced Trail Runner now boasts “more models designed for the half-ton truck market than ever before,” according to Eppert, who reported that dealers took note of the changes.
Julie Leach, sales manager for Leach Camper Sales in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a respected dealership that is currently marking its 50th year of operation, noted, “We at Leach Camper Sales have truly enjoyed our relationship with Heartland’s Trail Runner edition. We have had excellent support from our sales rep and the warranty department. They have responded to our needs immediately and without hesitation. That has allowed us to achieve a dramatic increase in our sales area. We have currently experienced a 30% increase from 2011 to 2012 with five more months to go. We look forward to our continued success with Heartland.”
Building on the success of the Trail Runner, Heartland launched the Trail Runner Super Lite Edition (SLE) at the 2011 Louisville Show. “This product brings even lower dry weights and price points to the table,” Eppert said. “At Louisville, we showcased two models in our display, and dealer reaction was outstanding. Based on our dealer’s input we quickly expanded the offering.”
The Trail Runner SLE currently offers seven floorplans, available with non-slideouts, traditional slides and galley sliderooms.
Eppert said that several new introductions for both the Trail Runner and SLE are planned at this year’s Open House, adding, “Even though we are coming in at a more aggressive price point, the Trail Runner brand is still loaded with popular features that RVers are looking for.”
Amenities include Beauflor linoleum, real-wood cabinet doors and drawers, full-extension ball bearing drawer guides, pocket-bored screwed cabinets and radial tires with EZ-Lube hubs.
“I am thrilled with Heartland’s passion to be awesome in travel trailers,” said Eppert. “The future is very bright for the Trail Runner brand and its dealers.”