September 2014
Volume 39 - Number 2


Contents


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Industry News
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September 17, 2014 2943
Thor's Keystone Subsidiary Building New Plant In Goshen


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ELKHART, Ind., Sept. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE:THO) announced that its Keystone subsidiary has begun construction on a new plant for travel trailer production adjacent to its existing complex in Goshen, Indiana.

"As a leader in the towable RV industry, we see continued growth opportunities in our core markets," commented Matt Zimmerman, Keystone President. "Our investment in this new plant will allow us to expand travel trailer production and better serve our dealer partners. Our dealers are committed to Keystone and optimistic regarding the future of our market, providing us with the confidence to make a sizable investment of nearly $6 million in the new plant and related equipment. This additional capacity presents us with an opportunity to expand our product breadth and better meet the needs of our dealers and consumers with the high quality features and value they have come to expect from Keystone."

Keystone's new 120,000 square-foot travel trailer plant is the latest addition to a sprawling Keystone campus in Goshen, Indiana. With this expansion program, Keystone expects to increase overall travel trailer production capacity, allowing the Company to better meet the continued growth in demand for towable RVs.

Zimmerman added, "Keystone is growing in a big way. It's imperative that we continue to invest in our infrastructure to support that growth. Supplying product in a timely manner is critical for our dealers. This new investment will enable us to continue to deliver in a big way."

Source Thor Industries, Inc.

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September 17, 2014 2939
Thor Announces Expansion Projects At Heartland


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ELKHART, Ind., -- Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE: THO) announced several projects to expand production and office space at its Heartland subsidiary in Elkhart. The projects include the purchase and renovation of an existing office building, expansion of a plant dedicated to production of lightweight travel trailers, expansion of a production facility to produce Toy Haulers, the renovation and dedication of a single facility to the production of destination trailers and the purchase and renovation of a building for a new service center.

"Heartland has made great strides in growing our sales and enhancing our market position to the point where we need to make an investment in infrastructure to support our future growth," commented Chris Hermon, Heartland President. "In total, we are planning to invest nearly $8 million in new or renovated facilities to take better care of our dealer partners and retail consumers, at both the front end with enhanced production and the back end with superior service after the sale. We are truly excited with this expansion program as it will allow us to not only meet the needs of dealers and consumers but also exceed their expectations."

Heartland's expansion program includes a new dedicated facility to build lightweight travel trailers with greater efficiency and even higher quality standards. The Company also renovated another facility to house the production of its #1 selling toy hauler. Heartland announced that it would begin producing destination trailers in a dedicated facility with year round production, illustrating its leadership in that unique market. Finally, Heartland is improving its service capabilities with the addition of 15 service bays to meet the needs of retail customers, as well as a new service lounge to enhance the customer experience.

With its focus on products that are growing fastest in the market, Heartland expects to increase overall production capacity by nearly 20%, while adding approximately 85 jobs in Elkhart.

Source Thor Industries, Inc.

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September 17, 2014 2938
Lippert Components Announces Custom Glass Printing Capabilities for RV Kitchen Backsplashes and Other Applications


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ELKHART, Ind. - Lippert Components, Inc. (LCI®) announced the introduction of custom glass printing capabilities, and will debut custom printed glass kitchen backsplashes on the 2015 Jayco Starcraft and Evergreen Lifestyle.

“We purchased our specialized glass printer in order to prototype new frameless window designs swiftly and more efficiently move them into full production to improve customer service,” said Josh Roan, LCI Vice President of RV Windows. “We quickly found we could do so much more. We can print realistic replications of marble, ceramic tiles and more on glass providing classic styles, but with a significantly shortened installation time.”

LCI Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray added that the printer permanently etches ceramic ink into the glass during the tempering process, delivering a durable surface with very high resolution print quality. “Printed glass backsplashes and decorative accents are lighter and much easier to clean than other materials like heavy ceramic tiles,” said Murray. “Not only do we see a wide range of RV applications for this process, but we also believe custom glass printing has potential in manufactured housing and other adjacent markets.”

The LCI Engineering team has been working with customers on various applications and sees opportunities for additional custom glass printing product lines across the industries it serves. LCI Engineer Jim Schoeffler explained, “We’ve barely scratched the surface on possible applications for custom glass printing for RV interiors and exteriors. Our customers have broadened our scope of product ideas, and we expect the pool of creativity will continue to grow in all the industries we serve,” said Schoeffler.

Source Lippert Components, Inc.

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September 13, 2014 2934
RV Industry is Healthy and Growing Despite Early 2014 Headwinds, Says GE Capital


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CHICAGO--The recreational vehicle (RV) industry continues to experience strong and steady growth, according to performance data from GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF), a major provider of financing to the industry. Early headwinds this year including the unusually cold weather that impacted manufacturing and transportation issues that slowed down shipments haven’t derailed the positive trajectory of the industry.

This upbeat sentiment is expected to be on display at the seventh annual RV Open House, a major industry gathering for dealers and manufacturers, September 16-18 in Elkhart, IN. “This is a busy time of year for both dealers and manufacturers as new models are introduced and orders are placed for next year,” said Tim Hyland, president of CDF’s RV group. “Dealers should feel confident in continued consumer interest and a relatively healthy economy as they plan their inventory needs for next year.”

Through June, CDF data is showing dealer inventory turnover running at a strong annual rate of over 2X and aging rates, reflecting inventory over one year old, remains healthy at under 10 percent. Additionally, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is predicting that the industry should expect to grow almost 9 percent in shipments for the full year, up from just under 6 percent projected earlier in the year.

“While the industry is growing at a slightly slower pace than 2013’s record year, it is still growing, and just as importantly, dealers are doing an excellent job in managing inventory,” said Hyland. “While weather and shipment delays contributed to a slower start to the year, the industry is in good position to meet or exceed RVIA’s full-year shipment projection.”

The RV industry’s resurgence after a tough period following the downturn five years ago is helping to fuel the broader U.S. middle market’s performance.

Seventy percent of middle market companies, representing approximately 200,000 firms with revenues of $10 million to $1 billion, project revenue grow this year, according to the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM)’s latest poll. The NCMM, a partnership between GE Capital and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, also reported in its second quarter Middle Market Indicator that 63% of middle market companies will make capital investments that add jobs, equipment, enable acquisitions or train employees.

“The RV industry, like many recreational industries, is closely aligned with consumer confidence,” said Hyland. “With the NCMM reporting record high confidence in the U.S. economy and manufacturing experiencing strong growth, the RV industry will benefit from this positive trend.”

CDF has supported the RV industry with flexible inventory financing products for more than 30 years. Inventory financing, also known as floorplan financing, allows dealers to stock, market and sell a wide variety of products from RV manufacturers.

Source GE Capital

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September 10, 2014 2925
Winnebago Minnie Headed for Australia


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FOREST CITY, Iowa, -- Winnebago Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WGO) is now shipping the Winnebago Minnie to Australia as part of an agreement with Australian-owned Winnebago RV Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apollo.

Apollo CEO Luke Trouchet and Executive General Manager Operations Paul Truman recently visited Winnebago Towables in Middlebury, Indiana to inspect the first Winnebago Minnie® to be delivered to Australia as part of Apollo's initial order of Australian designed and compliant caravans. Winnebago representatives on hand to meet them were Chairman, CEO and President Randy Potts; VP, CFO Sarah Nielsen; Towables President Johnny Hernandez; Towables National Sales Manager Brion Brady; as well as export specialist, Doug Spencer.

Luke Trouchet, CEO of Apollo said bringing Winnebago to Australia and New Zealand realised a long-held ambition and represented an exciting milestone for his family-owned company, which was established in 1985. "It's a real privilege to represent Winnebago in Australia and New Zealand, and we know the market is very keen to at last have access to this iconic brand," Trouchet said. "We're absolutely delighted to see the first Minnie caravans heading Down Under and we are sure they will be out on the road in no time."

Potts continued, "We look forward to continuing to grow our relationship with Apollo and the export of our first Minnie is a great step to a long and successful relationship."

Source Winnebago Industries, Inc.

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September 09, 2014 2921
Camping World and Good Sam Announce Acquisition of Mid-States Campers and RVs in Rapid City


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LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. -- Camping World announce that an agreement has been signed to acquire Mid-States Campers & RVs, an existing RV dealership in the Rapid City, South Dakota market. Plans are for the location to undergo renovation to feature additional service bays, a Camping World retail store and a state of the art collision center preparing the dealership to join over 100 other Camping World SuperCenter locations across the U.S.

"We are pleased to begin the acquisition of Mid-States Campers & RVs and expand our market share throughout South Dakota and the greater Midwest area," said Marcus Lemonis, Chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam. "For almost 50 years, the Trupe family has proudly served the Rapid City area with top notch service and the best products. We look forward to upholding the values and commitment to customer service that Bob Trupe started nearly half a century ago."

The SuperCenter will officially be named Camping World of Rapid City and located at 10400 Recreational Drive in Summerset, South Dakota with easy access off Interstate 90. This will be Camping World's first full service location in South Dakota, offering a wide array of services including RV sales, service, collision, parts and accessories for the outdoor enthusiast. The dealership will feature motorhomes and towables from the finest manufacturers and brands including Winnebago Industries, Fleetwood, Thor Motor Coach, Itasca, Coleman, Heartland, Keystone, Forest River, Crossroads, Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Jayco, Starcraft, Coachmen and many more.

On the accessory side, the new retail location will feature new and innovative products including interactive displays and customer experiences from the top vendors such as Dometic, Honda, Thetford, Goodyear, Winegard, ADCO, Camco, Roadmaster, Husky, Reese, Cequent, Exide, Ultra-Fab, Coleman, Valterra, Dicor, Champion, Rand McNally, Max-Air, BAL, Furrion, Select Comfort, ASA Electronics, Cummins, Onan, WFCO, Weber, HWH, Presto-Fit, Stromberg-Carlson, Atwood, RDK Products, Magellan, King Controls, Charbroil, Amerigas, Exxon Mobil products, Norcold and many more. Camping World also creates and carries its own private label lines of exclusive products for the RV, outdoor and home markets.

Lemonis continued, "I always look for three things: People, Process and Product in relation to enhancing our Camping World and Good Sam presence. The management and staff of Mid-States Campers and RVs clearly meet that test. Our goal is to add more quality manufacturers and brands, increase our presence in the market, and grow the workforce. The Rapid City area is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts with five national parks and monuments all within an hour's drive allowing RVers to hike, camp, and just enjoy life. We are excited to begin serving this market."

The new SuperCenter in the Rapid City market is in line with Camping World's future growth plans and the company expects to soon announce several additional markets of expansion throughout the country.

Camping World of Rapid City will also be adding additional positions for seasoned and professional RV sales associates, technicians and retail support as the facility expands, and is pleased to have the current employees at the Mid-States Campers and RVs location join the Camping World staff.

Source Marketwired

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September 04, 2014 2913
Highland Ridge President Travels Historic Route 66 in 2015 Open Range


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SHIPSHEWANA, Ind., - Highland Ridge RV, Inc. President, Randy Graber, began a two week trip traveling on Route 66 from the west coast back to Shipshewana, Indiana, on Saturday August 30th, 2014. He will be stopping off at several campgrounds on the way with a 2015 Open Range 3X 349RLS. Check out the Highland Ridge RV Facebook page to follow Graber on his adventure.

Source Highland Ridge RV

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September 04, 2014 2912
Starcraft Celebrates 50th Anniversary by Giving Away Travel Trailer


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TOPEKA, Ind., – On Thursday, September 4, Starcraft RV wrapped up its 50th anniversary celebrations by awarding a new Ar-One Maxx 25BHS to Jim and Donna Cornin of Morrow, Ohio. The couple received the unit at Colerain RV in Cincinnati, OH.

"Celebrating our 50th year in business was a great milestone that not many have been able to do in our industry" said Akos Sefcsik, president of Starcraft. "We thought what better way to kick-off and end our 50th anniversary celebrations than by a sweepstakes." He continued, "It was a fun campaign. We're happy to be able to give this Ar-One Maxx to the Cronins."

The sweepstakes titled "Ar-One Golden Giveaway" ran for a year. Participants had two ways of entering, either online or at a Starcraft dealer. Starcraft received nearly 65,000 entries over the duration of the sweepstakes.

"I think it's a generous gesture and a great idea for Starcraft to run a sweepstakes like the AR-ONE Golden Giveaway and Colerain RV is excited to be a part of it" said Chuck Jung, owner of Colerain RV. "I'm confident that the Cronins will be happy not only with their new Starcraft unit, but also with being a customer of ours."

The Ar-One Maxx 25BHS features a queen bed in the front, full bath with tub/shower combination and bunk beds in the rear along with a well-equipped kitchen with U-dinette.

Source Starcraft RV

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August 25, 2014 2895
Nexus RV to Open Factory Direct Outlet in Fort Worth


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ELKHART, Ind., --.Nexus RV, the factory direct manufacturer of Class C, Super C and Class B+ motorhomes has announced another location for a factory showroom. Nexus RV will have products on display in Fort Worth, Texas.

“Our strategy to give customers an opportunity to touch and feel our products is working”, stated Claude Donati, President and Co-Founder. “We have been able to gain many customers through our factory direct showroom in Temecula, California.” Donati continues, “The customers appreciate the low pressure, leisurely experience they have when they enter our showroom. Our sales staff remotely guides the customers through the products and answers any product questions.

Nexus RV has taken a page out of Tesla Car Company’s approach by offering strategically located showrooms throughout the country. According to the company they plan to open an additional five showrooms over the next year. “The future locations for those showrooms will be in markets where our customers would support the investment,” stated Dave Middleton, Vice President and Co-Founder.

“We will have our products in Fort Worth by the end of September“, stated Middleton. For more information contact the company at www.nexusrv.com or via phone 574-970-0848.

Source Nexus RV

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August 21, 2014 2888
Jayco Motorized Division Adding Manufacturing Facility; Jobs


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MIDDLEBURY, Ind., – Jayco's Motorhome Group annoounced plans to expand its manufacturing facilities at its headquarters, adding up to 50 jobs by the end of 2015.

"The expansion comes as a result of the high demand of our motorized products." said Derald Bontrager, president and CEO of Jayco Corporation. "The motorized team continues to exceed expectations, leading to enormous growth and success of the division. We're looking forward to the expansion and the opportunities it will bring."

The new building will serve as the Entegra Coach manufacturing facility and will allow the current motorized building to house Jayco motorhomes. Jayco plans to have construction completed by second quarter, 2015.

Source Jayco, Inc.

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