Travel Lite Inc., New Paris, Ind., has introduced the entry-level Travel Lite 770 Super Lite truck camper that uses an exotic wood from South America to cut down on the weight. ”We’ve use banack wood in the sidewalls, which dramatically reduces the weight,” said Dustin Johns, vice president of the family owned company founded in 1998. ”We also looked at the overall applications. That helped us strip the weight out to make it easily compatible for half-ton trucks.” With a base dry weight of 1,335 pounds, the 770 Super Lite is 12 feet long and 7 feet wide and can be mounted on any full size pickup truck, including those with 5 1/2-foot short beds. ”It works with all full size trucks,” Johns said, noting that with a base MSRP of $7,995, the Travel Lite 770 Super Lite should appeal to those in the market for a used camper. The Super Lite 770 includes a wardrobe, porta-potti, icebox (or optional fridge), cabinets with maple doors over the stainless steel sink and two-burner stove and convertible dinette. Johns reported the company also intends to introduce its first travel trailer series in the near future. ”We have ramped up for it and are very excited for the launch of our new ultra-lite travel trailer line” Johns said.
Monaco RV LLC, Carriage Inc., Travel Lite Inc., Fleetwood RV Inc. and Newmar Corp. are joining forces to display new products Sept. 19-22 on a 17-acre parcel of land on the northeast corner of U.S. 20 and C.R. 17 during Elkhart County’s 4th Annual RV Open House Week.
In what amounts to a classic case of how the emerging Open House casts industry competitors in unusually cooperative roles, the five adjacent exhibits will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily – and later when necessary — with a joint catered luncheon available 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. all four days, according to Ed Kinney, vice president of sales and marketing for Carriage, who played a pivotal role in organizing the display area.
The five-company exhibit, on the southeast side of Elkhart and a few minutes from the larger Forest River Inc. and Thor Industries Inc. displays, offers easy access, ample parking and close proximity to other manufacturer displays in the area, according to a Thursday (Sept. 1) Monaco release.
“We’re all splitting the costs, which are really low,” says Kinney, adding that there will be well over 100 units on display at the joint exhibit. “Everybody’s in this together.”
Kinney says this corporate cluster results from the experiences of some companies that felt their locations during last year’s Open House were too remote from the daily dealer traffic. Carriage’s management last year hosted dealers at the company’s home plant in Millersburg, a good 20-minute drive south and east of Elkhart.
Monaco’s main plant is in Wakarusa, Ind., while Newmar is in Nappanee, Ind., Travel Lite is based in New Paris, Ind., and Fleetwood is located about an hour’s drive southeast in Decatur, Ind.
There will be a tent set up amid the displays, said Kinney, adding that access to the paved parking area is off of C.R. 17.
“We look forward to bringing our products closer to dealers who will be in the Elkhart area,” noted Monaco’s Mike Snell, senior vice president of sales and product development. “We want it to be effortless for dealers to see our products, to learn about our advantages and connect with our employees and company. The manufacturer-dealer relationship is all about fostering good relationships based on open communication. At the same time, we want to provide the best, most state-of-the-art RVs on the market.”
“We’ll have lunches every day for dealers and visitors,” Kinney added. “We’re just real excited. It’s going to be a great turnout. It’s a nice layout. It’s a perfect piece of property – easy in, easy out, lots of easy parking. So, we’re just thinking of convenience for the dealers. And, you know, we’re three minutes from the Hall of Fame (where Thor will be set up). It doesn’t get better than that.”
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The roster of RV manufacturers participating in Elkhart County’s 4th Annual RV Open House in September increased again today (July 25) with the announcement by Carriage Inc., that the Millersburg, Ind., luxury fifth-wheel OEM would be showing its towable product on part of a 15-acre parcel a few minutes south of the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
Moreover, Ed Kinney, vice president of sales and marketing for the Millersburg, Ind., RV builder, reports that his company will be sharing the site with Coburg, Ore.-based Monaco RV LLC and Travel Lite, a truck-camper manufacturer headquartered in New Paris, Ind.
And Kinney told RVBUSINESS.com that he’s still got room for more open house exhibitors “if any other manufacturers wish to join us.”
The location, at the intersection of County Road 17 and U.S. 20 in southeast Elkhart, provides easy access and plenty of parking in close proximity to other manufacturers’ open house displays for some of the 4,000 dealer personnel expected to visit Elkhart County during open house week – Sept. 19-23.
“Last year, we tried it (participating in the open house) in Millersburg, but it was too far for dealers who are only in town for a couple of days,” said Kinney. “This new location is the perfect spot.”
Carriage will have approximately 15 units on display during the event, with hors d’oeuvres and drinks available beneath a tent. “Once we determine all the manufacturers participating (at the site), we’ll decide what to do about added entertainment,” he added.
Carriage’s display will be manned 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, “but obviously, whatever the dealer’s needs are, we’re going to be there,” said Kinney.
Interested parties may contact Kinney at email@example.com for additional information.