Gulf Stream Adding Conquest, Innsbruck Model

September 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Gulf Stream Coach Inc. has added a new floorplan to its Conquest and Innsbruck travel trailer lines, set to debut during next week’s Elkhart County RV Open House.

According to a press release, the 277DDS is designed for active camping families, featuring two full-size bunks, a private master bedroom with residential solid-panel doors and a walk-around queen bed, and two family-friendly entry doors, including one that opens directly into the bath.

Gulf Stream said that the new floorplan is also “loaded with standards” as part of the company’s “high-content, high-value strategy.”

“When our dealers do a features and benefits walk-through with retail customers, they’re constantly saying, ‘it’s included,’” said Randy Baskerville, national sales manager for the brands. “That’s an incredibly powerful retail tool. Customers want value, without gimmicks or hidden costs. They want a travel trailer that doesn’t require a long list of extra-cost options to be livable, and the new 277DDS is a perfect example of that idea.”

He added, “Because we are an independent manufacturer, we have the flexibility to respond to direct input from our dealers and provide products and pricing that deliver stunning retail performance.”

The new Conquest and Innsbruck will be showcased in Gulf Stream’s display at County Road 6 East and Northland Drive in Elkhart and at the company’s headquarters in Nappanee, Ind. For more information contact Randy Baskerville at (574) 320-2630 or


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Heartland Rolling Out ‘Elite Edition’ Wilderness

September 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland's Elite Edition Wilderness trailer

Marking a successful first year in the growing lightweight laminated market, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC introduced a new bunkhouse floorplan in its Wilderness travel trailer brand along with an eye-catching Elite Edition exterior package that creates the look of a full-body painted coach.

According to a press release, the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder will officially debut the latest additions to its 2013 Wilderness line as part of the Sept. 18-21 Elkhart County RV Open House Week.

“Heartland was determined to hit a certain price point with the Elite package,” said Heartland President Chris Hermon. “This package has only been offered at price points thousands of dollars more than the Wilderness. Our dealer body will be thrilled not only with the aggressive pricing, but also the weight of the new Wilderness.”

Mike Creech, general manager, reported the all-aluminum Wilderness had successfully gained market share over the past year as consumers, and dealers, recognized the brand as a “true value piece” in the high-volume trailer segment.

“When Heartland brought the Wilderness to market at last year’s Open House, there were three things that really set it apart,” Creech said. “Like all Heartland products, the line was aggressively priced. We also knew that the top-selling units were extremely lightweight, so our design team did a great job of cutting weight without sacrificing quality. But I think the feature that really grabbed people was the 7-foot crowned interior ceiling height. That has been a game-changer.”

The Elite Edition adds a finished look to the exterior, featuring all-tan fiberglass walls, accented by new graphics and “black trimmings,” according to Creech. He added, “It’s pretty dramatic. We’ll be showcasing the Elite package at the Open House, and are anticipating very strong dealer response.”

With the debut of the “mainstream bunkhouse” model, the Wilderness line sports 12 floorplans, ranging in lengths of 21 to 35 feet with dry weights running from 4,000 to 6,500 pounds. “One of the set-apart features with the new bunkhouse model is that it has a deep, 36-inch slideout that really opens up the floorplan,” Creech said.

Other amenities across the entire line include upgraded interior décors, vinyl flooring and accent wallboards in the bedroom and slideroom areas. “Instead of just being plain, the wallboards are a richer, darker color,” Creech said. “It really adds a residential touch.”

MSRPs for the Wilderness line range from $19,000 to $28,000.

Heartland will be showing product at the Open House as part of Thor Industries Inc.’s massive display area at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. For additional information on the Wilderness contact Creech at (574) 210-1976 or










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Gulf Stream to Debut Bath Slide at Open House

September 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Nappanee, Ind.-based Gulf Stream Coach Inc. has introduced an innovative bath slide in its Gulf Breeze and Streamlite travel trailer brands, according to a press release.

“The new bath slide from Gulf Stream adds significant floor area, storage, counter space and convenience to the baths of several new Gulf Breeze and StreamLite Floor Plans,” says Tim Dennig, national sales manager for the Gulf Stream’s lightweight division.  “Our dealers told us their customers would appreciate a bigger bath, but didn’t want us to compromise the rest of the living area of floorplans they love. When the bathroom wall moves out, owners get a bath that has plenty of elbow-room for full-size adults.”

He added, “The bigger bath can double as a changing room, plus there’s room for a big linen cabinet, four times as much counter space, and at least double the under-counter storage of many traditional RV baths.”

Gulf Stream will debut the bath slide in its Gulf Breeze and Streamlite floorplans Sept. 17-20 as part of the upcoming Elkhart County RV Open House. The company will be hosting displays at the corner of County Road 6 East and Northland Drive in Elkhart and at the Gulf Stream facility in Nappanee.

For more information about the new bath slide contactDennig at (800) 888-8917, ext. 5146 or e-mail


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Echo Hires Phillips; Displaying at Open House

September 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Elkhart, Ind.-based Echo Manufacturing LLC, a builder of lightweight travel trailers and toy haulers, announced the appointment of Charlie Phillips as national sales manager.

According to a press release, Phillips has more than 20 years experience in both wholesale and retail, most recently in the Midwest with a major manufacturer.

“Working for a small manufacturer like Echo is something that I always wanted to do,” said Phillips. “To get in on the ground floor and grow a company is exciting and challenging. I’m looking forward to the hard work and rewards”

Echo also announced participation in the annual Elkhart Open House slated for September 18-21 in northern Indiana. Echo will be set up at the corner of Beck Drive and County Road 17 on Elkhart’s east side, less than a mile away from the major manufacturers.

Joining Echo RV in its display will be park model builder Elkhart-based HL Enterprises Inc. and Columbia Northwest Inc., headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, Pa. The display will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

For more information on Echo visit or (877) 495-1546.


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EverGreen RV Hosts Hog Roast at Open House

September 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is inviting dealers to a “Hog Roast Celebration” on Sept. 19 in conjunction with Elkhart County RV Open House Week. According to a press release, the event will run 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at EverGreen’s display near the entrance to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.

The Middlebury, Ind.-based builder will be showing its diverse product line, including the Ever-Lite, i-Go and Ascend brands along with the all new Bay Hill fifth-wheel and Sun Valley travel trailer.

According to the company, the ‘New EverGreen’ provides dealers with more profitable product lines, new competitive pricing, larger territories and no clone products selling against its quality brands.

EverGreen’s Dealer Open House will run Sept. 18-20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information go to or contact: EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC, 10758 County Road 2, Middlebury, IN 46540; Phone: (574) 825-4298; Fax: (574) 825-4299.



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VIDEO 2: Today’s RVs Feature Comfort, Luxury

August 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s video comes from KPTV FOX 12, Portland, Ore., featuring an overview of RVing and a tour of a Denali travel trailer by Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.

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CrossRoads RV’s Project Part of ‘Growth Mode’

August 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

CrossRoad's Cruiser Aire towables

Things are going very well for CrossRoads RV, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.

And further evidence of that became evident Monday when the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. in conjunction with the town of Topeka and CrossRoads RV announced the construction of a new 22,000-square-foot corporate headquarters building at the company’s 45-acre campus in Topeka, Ind.

The headquarters will be constructed near the company’s plant. The project will result in up to 10 new positions.

“We are in a growth mode here,” said Alexandria Trusov, marketing director for CrossRoads RV. “And we have expanded beyond our current capacity and needed more space.”

Currently more than 500 people work at the campus, which includes four plants, a customer service center and the current corporate headquarters.

This does not count the estimated 250 people expected to be added by 2014 when a 93,000-square-foot facility will be completed at a cost of $3.9 million.

CrossRoads RV, a division of Thor Industries, manufactures a wide variety of recreational vehicles, including toy haulers, travel trailers and destination trailers. Some of its better known brands include Zinger, Z-1, Rushmore and Sunset Trail Ultra-Lite.

CrossRoads RV is also a sister company to Redwood RV in Syracuse.

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Heartland’s Trail Runner Attacks Trailer Market

August 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland RV's Trail Runner

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.”


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NYT Calls Out Five Leading-Edge Towable RVs

August 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following is an article that appeared in the New York Times, profiling five towable RVs that stand out in the marketplace. Included in the list was the EverGreen RV Element, Jayco Seismic, Airstream International Sterling, Taxa Cricket and Most Futuria Sports + Spa. To read the entire article click here.

For a long time, travel trailers came in two basic varieties: the big white shoebox or the Chiclet-shape pop-up; Airstream’s iconic aluminum bubble was a notable exception.

The shoebox still makes a large footprint in the travel-trailer market, but as overall sales have grown since 2005, to 165,100 conventional and pop-up trailers last year, some manufacturers have found success with more adventurous designs.

Yet finding the market’s sweet spot is trickier than backing into a campsite. A Dutch start-up, Your Suite In Nature, attracted attention in 2010 with a pop-up that opened into a canvas approximation of the Sydney Opera House.

The Opera was stunning and well appointed, but at 33,000 euros (more than $40,000) it was quadruple the average price of a pop-up. Manufacturing ceased in March after only nine Operas were produced. In an e-mail, the company’s founder, Rob Vos, cited high production costs as well as low sales.

Yet the passing of the Opera hasn’t prevented other trailer companies from trying to break out of the box. Here are five other head-turning trailers:

EVERGREEN ELEMENT: A radically raked front end helps to make this trailer, from EverGreen Recreational Vehicles of Middlebury, Ind., a bit more aerodynamic than most.

Inside, the Element looks like a crew compartment on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”: there is a lot of blond wood, rounded edges and flush-set appliances.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $40,000, about twice the price of the average conventional trailer. But EverGreen’s chairman, Kelly Rose, said the price reflected the use of composite materials, rather than wood and particleboard. “Composite won’t mildew or rot,” Rose said. “It just won’t break down, and that keeps the Element’s resale value high.”

To read the entire article click here.





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Airstream Turns 80: A Look in Rear View Mirror

August 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The following is an article in the Huffington Post profiling Airstream Inc. as it marks its 80th anniversary. To view a slide show of the iconic brand click here.

The Airstream recreational vehicle, all curves and chrome, was originally designed to evoke the open road and the aviation age. Hawley Bowlus, the man who created the brand’s toaster-over-in-a-wind-tunnel look was also the chief designer of Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis. His America was all about going places and the Airstream was intended to be both a way to get there and a way to stay.

Over the years, the vehicles have gone from being associated with innovation to being of a piece with thrift store Americana — what Instagram is to cameras, Airstream is to vehicles — yet, in 1932 when company founder Wally Byam was just moving beyond tinkering in his back yard, he was engaging with a very modern notion: Mobility is the ultimate luxury.

The irony, of course, is that a company catering to Americans’ travel yen has itself been nothing if not stationary. The popular vehicles are still manufactured in Jackson Center, Ohio and their names still betray these roots. Buyers can choose between Sport, Flying Cloud and Classic Limited models. There is also an International, but that seems almost antithetical to the whole endeavor.

Despite its proud middle-American sensibility and heritage, Airstreams have always been more than middle class kitsch. They helped ferry generations of children and parents to beaches and wild places. They may not have conquered the West, but they certainly made it more accessible, allowing the denizens of America’s growing suburbs to get back into the outdoors. If Airstreams now look tiny next to the rolling mansions being offered by recreational vehicle manufacturers, there is a reason: They were designed to help us get away, not to help us schlep everything along with us.

Eighty years later, an Airstream in the driveway still means one foot out the door, an American stance if ever there was one.

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