March 2015
Volume 39 - Number 8



Industry News

Carefree RV

March 30, 2015 3107
Boosts Park Model RV Product Line
Cavco Acquires Chariot Eagle of Ocala, Florida

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PHOENIX, Ariz., -- Cavco Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: CVCO) announced that it has completed the purchase of the business and operating assets of Chariot Eagle, Inc., a Florida-based manufacturer of park model RVs and manufactured homes.

Cavco's acquisition of Ocala, Fla.-based Chariot Eagle provides the company with additional park model RV product lines, while further strengthening the company's geographic reach in the Southeastern United States, where Chariot Eagle founder Bob Holliday has built a loyal following for the past 30 years.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring aboard entrepreneur Bob Holliday and his team of highly experienced people and to integrate the strong Chariot Eagle brand and family of product offerings with our own growing business," said Joseph Stegmayer, Cavco's chairman and chief executive officer.

"We have been patient in seeking additional growth opportunities for our park model RV and cabin businesses and believe that this acquisition will be a positive long-term strategic move for Cavco and our customers."

Chariot Eagle will continue to produce park models using its existing brand name and Holliday will continue to serve as Chariot Eagle's president.

"Joining forces with the largest and most recognized company in the park model RV and cabin businesses is the right move at the right time," Holliday said. "Our company cultures are similar with an emphasis on quality products and attentive service, treating people fairly, innovation and production flexibility. We know that we will benefit from Cavco's size and strength, which will only help us better serve our current and prospective customers."

Source Cavco Industries, Inc

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March 25, 2015 3105
TriMas Announces John Aleva as President of Cequent Americas

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John Aleva

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -- TriMas Corporation (NASDAQ: TRS) – a diversified global manufacturer of engineered and applied products – announced today the transition of leadership within its Cequent business segment. Tom Benson, president of Cequent Performance Products, will be retiring at the end of April. John Aleva, currently president of Cequent Consumer Products, will succeed Benson and be promoted to the new position of president, Cequent Americas, effective April 28, 2015. In this new role, Aleva will lead the Cequent Americas segment, consisting of Cequent Consumer Products and Cequent Performance Products, which, over time, will be integrated. Aleva will report to Mark Zeffiro, group president of Cequent.

It was announced in December 2014 that TriMas is pursuing a tax-free spin-off of 100% of its Cequent businesses into a new stand-alone, publicly traded company. The spin transaction is targeted to be completed in mid-2015. Cequent is a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of custom-engineered towing, trailer and cargo management products, and other accessories, with a global footprint and a diverse customer base of aftermarket, original equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and retail customers.

“John Aleva is a seasoned operations leader with more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry. We expect John to contribute greatly to the future success of the Cequent Americas business,” said Dave Wathen, president and chief executive officer of TriMas. “Tom Benson has dedicated his career to his business, people and customers, and has been successful in all of these areas. He pushes himself for continuous improvement and sets a great example. All of us at TriMas wish Tom an enjoyable and rewarding retirement, and congratulate John on his promotion.”

“With John’s leadership skills, operational expertise, and strong customer relationships, John is well-positioned to successfully lead Cequent Americas,” said Mark Zeffiro, group president. “John has consistently demonstrated his ability to develop and lead high-performing teams, drive focus on the customer and deliver outstanding results.”

John Aleva was appointed president of Cequent Consumer Products in October 2005. He joined the company as director of integration in 2003, prior to which he worked in the Detroit office of Deloitte Consulting LLP and also held positions at an automotive OEM manufacturer and a Tier 1 supplier. John holds a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, both degrees from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Source Cequent

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March 18, 2015 3100
Equal-i-zer Hitch Receives Fourth Consecutive Peach Award

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The American manufacturer and innovator in sway-control technology received a Peach Award from Stag-Parkway for the fourth consecutive year, as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Matt Darrington, Fastway territory rep.March 17, 2015- Provo, UT-- It has been a fantastic year for Progress Mfg. Inc., makers of The Original Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch. The company received the Readers’ Choice Gold Award from Trailer Life for the third year in a row, is celebrating its 70th year in business, and was recently recognized with a Peach Award from Stag-Parkway, at the distributor’s annual RV conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Stag-Parkway seeks partnerships that create mutual success and recognized Equal-i-zer hitch as an exemplary supplier partner. Equal-i-zer hitch was also recognized in 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014, for exhibiting exceptional customer service, superior sales, and providing excellent dealer education and support. Other companies recognized include: RV Design, TRC, Go Power! Safe-T-Alert, and MB Sturgis Inc.

“We are very honored to receive this award for the fifth time,” stated Rich Elliott, VP of Sales and Marketing. “Stag-Parkway has been an important partner to us, and being honored by Stag is a huge compliment.”

As the company celebrates its 70th anniversary, the focus for the year is to continue improving systems, educating dealers, and providing the very best trailer products available.

“This year is an exciting one,” states Product Manager, Matt Best. “We are launching new products, and preparing for continued growth and success. We want our customers and dealers to know how much we appreciate their support, and we are going to continue engineering only the highest-quality hitches and trailer accessories- products that will stand the test of time.”

Source Equal-i-zer Hitch

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March 17, 2015 3098
Blue Ox Concludes Latest OXSMART Training Seminar

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2015 OXSMART Training Graduation Class

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OMAHA, Nebr., -- Earlier this month 28 service technicians from across the country gathered in Omaha, Nebraska, to participate in Blue Ox's annual OXSMART Training Seminar.

Blue Ox President and CEO Ellen Kietzmann said, "This training is designed with the technician in mind so they can install Blue Ox products more quickly, service Blue Ox products more efficiently and recommend Blue Ox products more confidently.

"The training is conducted by Blue Ox's product experts that truly understand each line such as tow bars, baseplates, weight distributing, braking systems, steering controls, etc. It is not a classroom training program, but emphasizes hands-on instruction."

OXSMART training spans two days with the first day comprised of field trip to Pender, Nebraska, for factory tours where technicians saw Blue Ox products being manufactured; and experienced hands-on gooseneck installations; SWAYPRO installations and test drives.

The second day's session held at the Century Link Center in Omaha where technicians were trained in the installation of towed vehicle baseplates and braking systems. Technicians were also asked to install Trucenter steering controls; sway bars; and Trac Bars on Class A and Class C motorhomes.

Baseplate and chassis component installation is followed by a full seminar covering frequently asked customer questions regarding Blue Ox tow bars and recreational/commercial towing. Kietzmann said, "One of the many benefits of being a Blue Ox dealer is the opportunity to join our team for hands-on installation training. Blue Ox OXSMART Training is a special advantage available to our dedicated dealers."

Source Blue Ox

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March 04, 2015 3090
Two Campground Industry Leaders Appointed to Positions with Visit California

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Gene H. Zanger and Debbie Sipe

SACRAMENTO, Calif., -- Two prominent campground industry officials have been appointed to prominent positions with Visit California, the non-profit marketing organization that keeps California top of mind as a travel destination.

Gene H. Zanger, a co-owner and operator of the historic Casa de Fruta tourism complex and its 300-space RV Orchard Resort in Hollister, was appointed to the Visit California board last week, while Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, was appointed to Visit California's Rural Tourism Committee.

Visit California is a not-for-profit, 501(C)(6) corporation formed in 1998 to work jointly with the State of California's Division of Tourism to implement the annual Marketing Plan, which promotes California as a travel destination. The 37-member Visit California commission comprises individuals from all 12 regions of California. Members represent five principal industry sectors: Accommodations, Restaurants and Retail, Attractions and Recreation, Transportation and Travel Services, and the Passenger Car Rental Industry. Sipe will also serve on CalTravel's Government Relations Committee. The California Travel Association (CalTravel) is California's only statewide organization representing the "collective" voice of advocacy for Travel, Tourism & Hospitality.

Zanger is well known in the campground industry nationally, having received the campground industry's highest honor for an individual: the Stan Martin Memorial Award, which he received in 2010 from the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds. Sipe, for her part, oversees the California campground industry's government affairs and marketing efforts, including, the statewide travel planning website.

Source Visit California

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February 13, 2015 3088
Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge Surpasses 50% of $1 Million Goal

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ELKHART, Ind. - Recent donations and pledges exceeding $50,000 pushed the total dollars pledged past the 50-percent level in the $1 million goal of the RV/MH Hall of Fame's Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge campaign. Those recent commitments included Craig Bollman (Homefree Village Resorts) who made a cash donation of $25,000; Ed Evans (EPM) who pledged $25,000 payable at $5,000 a year for five years; and Jason Lippert (Lippert Components) who made a cash donation of $5,000, bringing the total pledged and donated to $522,573.

The Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge campaign was launched in October 2014 when Kevin Clayton, chief executive officer of Clayton Homes Inc., pledged $200,000 to help the RV/MH Hall of Fame become debt free in five years. He challenged other large and small companies, as well as individuals, in the manufactured housing (MH) industry to step up and help raise a total of $1 million.

Since that time, many MH companies and individuals have made pledges and donations.

Darryl Searer, chairman and president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall), said, "I am continually amazed and thankful for the generosity of those individuals and companies in manufactured housing industry who have opened their hearts and pocketbooks to help us eliminate the Hall's debts and preserve the rich legacy of their industry."

However, Searer said, "There's more work to be done. This is an excellent opportunity for those who have made a good living from the MH industry to give back to their industry in a way that will have a lasting effect and also enhance their own legacy. And if they do, I'm confident that we will meet our goal."

Judy Jankowski, the Hall's vice president of development, is contacting other leaders in the MH industry asking for their support of the campaign.

For those companies and individuals who would like to participate by making a pledge or donation visit

Pledge forms are also available for download.

Donations can also be sent to:

Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge
RV/MH Hall of Fame
21565 Executive Parkway
Elkhart Indiana 46514

All donations to the Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Challenge are tax deductible.

Source RV/MH Hall of Fame

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February 02, 2015 3084
Lazydays Celebrates Airstream Store in Tucson with Ribbon-Cutting Event

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(From left to right: Justin Humphreys, Airstream Vice President of Sales; Chris Trapeni, General Manager at Lazydays Tucson; Randall Lay, Vice President and CFO at Lazydays; Tim Sheehan, President and CEO at Lazydays)

TUCSON, Ariz. -– Lazydays, the RV Authority, celebrated the grand opening of its sleek new Airstream Store at its Tucson, Arizona location. Nearly two hundred people gathered to celebrate the new store which opened earlier this month. The Airstream Store at Lazydays features 2,000 square feet of all things Airstream paired with Lazydays’ promise of an unparalleled customer experience.

Tim Sheehan, CEO of Lazydays and Randall Lay, CFO of Lazydays were present at the ribbon-cutting alongside Chris Trapeni, the General Manager of Lazydays in Tucson. Airstream Vice President of Sales, Justin Humphreys was also in attendance and spoke to the crowd about the collaboration between two industry leaders providing an immersive shopping experience that represents the adventurous spirit of the Airstream brand. In addition, Airstream enthusiasts from across the county were in attendance for the Alumafiesta rally taking place at Tucson/Lazydays’ KOA Campground on-site.

“This was truly a special day for us here at Lazydays Tucson,” said Chris Trapeni, General Manager at Lazydays Tucson. “To see nearly two hundred loyal Airstreamers come out to celebrate with us and check out the new store was incredible! I hope Airstreamers will consider Lazydays a place to call home for many years to come.”

“We were blown away by the turnout today!” said Justin Humphreys, Airstream Vice President of Sales. “I always enjoy getting to meet our loyal Airstream customers and hear their stories. We were thrilled to be able to celebrate this new store at Lazydays alongside so many of them.”

The Airstream Store at Lazydays in Tucson is now open at 3200 E. Irvington Road. The store carries the full product line of Airstream models including touring coaches and travel trailers as well as accessories, souvenirs and branded apparel. This 100% dedicated Airstream store will deliver the quality sales and service that is the Lazydays standard.

Source Lazydays and Airstream

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January 22, 2015 3073
Winnebago Launches Winnebago RV Insurance

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FOREST CITY, Iowa, -- Winnebago Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WGO), announced a new Winnebago RV Insurance offering.

In conjunction with Farm and City Insurance Services (FCIS), Winnebago RV Insurance offers a wide complement of coverage. From RV to personal insurance plans, Winnebago RV Insurance is designed to provide all of the coverages and services needed to feel at home while on the road.

"We've chosen FCIS due to the strength of our long-time relationship and their proven ability to provide RV owners with knowledgeable and impressive customer service," said Winnebago Marketing Director Chad Reece.

Winnebago RV Insurance obtains quotes from four national providers through FCIS. All RV brands are eligible for a no-obligation quote. Customers who also join or renew their WIT Club membership will receive a free extension of their membership term as an extra benefit.

"We are pleased to join forces with one of the best brand names in the RV industry," said FCIS President Courtney Wooge. "This new program is an exciting opportunity for FCIS and Winnebago to help thousands of RV owners nationwide."

If interested in completing the no-obligation insurance quote form, visit or call 1-800-642-4892.

Source Winnebago Industries, Inc.

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January 22, 2015 3070
Spartan Chassis Introduces PremierCare Maintenance Plan

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CHARLOTTE, Mich., -- Spartan Chassis, Inc. (Spartan), a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq:SPAR), announced that it will introduce PremierCare - a free maintenance plan for your motorhome chassis - beginning in 2015. PremierCare will initially be available exclusively at Motor Home Specialists in Alvarado, Texas, prior to the program expansion at a later date.

PremierCare - the industry's first and only three year* or 50,000 mile complementary chassis maintenance plan - is available on all units sold at Motor Home Specialists equipped with a Spartan chassis. The plan applies to the Foretravel Realm on Spartan's K3GT chassis, the Entegra Cornerstone on Spartan's K3 chassis and the Entegra Anthem and Aspire, both of which are on Spartan's MMGT chassis.

PremierCare is a worry-free guarantee for the first three years* of ownership. Owners can enjoy free scheduled maintenance, roadside assistance and 550+ North American service centers.

Spartan's PremierCare plan and the extensive services that protect your chassis can be performed with just three visits to a Spartan-authorized service center.

Spartan's PremierCare introduction is a component of the company's D.R.I.V.E. initiative, as it is about building excited customers and brand loyalists.

D.R.I.V.E. is Spartan's operating strategy based on five tenets:

  • Diversified Growth
  • Redefining Technology and Innovation
  • Integrated Operational Excellence
  • Vibrant Culture
  • Excited Consumers/Brand Loyalists

* K3GT chassis includes three years (36 months) of free maintenance. K3 chassis includes two years (24 months) of free maintenance, not three years (36 months). MMGT chassis includes one year (12 months) of free maintenance, not three years (36 months).

Source Spartan Motors, Inc

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January 06, 2015 3061
Thor Announces Acquisition Of Towable Manufacturer Cruiser RV And DRV

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ELKHART, Ind., -- Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE: THO) announced the acquisition of towable recreational vehicle manufacturer Cruiser RV (CRV) and luxury fifth wheel recreational vehicle manufacturer DRV by its Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC subsidiary, in a series of integrated transactions which included the purchase of equity interests, as well as the purchase of certain real estate used in the ongoing operations of the business. The total purchase price, paid in cash, is approximately $47.4 million, subject to post-closing adjustments.

"We are pleased to welcome CRV and DRV to the Thor family. Cruiser RV has a long history of building light-weight travel trailers that appeal to a broad base of RV consumers, while DRV brings a strong presence in the high-end fifth wheel market," said Bob Martin, Thor President and Chief Executive Officer. "We see a number of opportunities to leverage Thor's strength in purchasing and distribution to the CRV and DRV businesses, while utilizing their existing market strengths to enhance our overall position in lightweight travel trailers, which has been one of the fastest-growing segments of the RV market, as well as luxury fifth wheels, where we previously had a more limited presence."

Founded in 2002, Howe, Indiana-based Cruiser RV and DRV, will maintain their current production facilities, work force and management team after the acquisition. The combined companies generated sales of approximately $135 million in calendar year 2014. The newly acquired operations will become a part of Thor's Heartland subsidiary with a management structure reporting to Heartland President, Chris Hermon.

"We are excited by the opportunities we see as we welcome Cruiser RV and DRV to Heartland. With a successful history, solid production infrastructure, talented workforce and strong dealer base, there will be a number of broad-based benefits to this acquisition," said Chris Hermon, President of Heartland Recreational Vehicles. "With their production base in Howe and LaGrange, about 35 miles from Elkhart, CRV and DRV have a more stable workforce that is less affected by the recent tight labor conditions we've seen in Elkhart. In addition, as we look to grow our combined business over the long-term, we will have ample space to expand operations in Howe as demand increases, a luxury unavailable to Heartland at its existing production complex."

"At CRV and DRV, we are excited about teaming up with such strong financial partners as Thor and Heartland. They share our vision for continuing to provide our dealers and consumers with great products and reliable service. This transition offers us great potential to grow our businesses," said David Fought, CEO of CRV and DRV.

Jeff Fought, President of CRV added, "Thor has a strong history of successful acquisitions in our industry. Partnering with Heartland gives us the opportunity to continue our record of outstanding performance while maintaining the culture and leadership that has driven our success."

Source Thor Industries, Inc.

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