Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Born Free introduces its first towable RV at Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Dodgen Industries, renowned for its high quality Class C Born Free motorhomes, unveiled its first-ever travel trailer this week at the RV National Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The concept Born Free Trail-R Lodge is poised as a high-end titan with the quality of construction and amenities on par with its Class C motorhome.

The trailer is 23 feet long, eight feet wide, with a hefty base weight of 6,160 lbs. According to Dennis Day, vice president of the Born Free commercial division, the trailer was built in response to the overall market conditions and to fit in with the company’s new wholesale marketing strategy. This is a new approach for Born Free, which has sold its RVs only on a factory direct basis until recently. Day said the company's new dealer base will give it more market penetration while firming up after-sale support for its RVs, which carry a three-year bumper to bumper warranty, as well as a 10-year fiberglass and floor warranty.

While the production unit may see some significant changes, the concept trailer framing, built by Aluma Trailer, features a full two by eight inch aluminum trailer frame with cross members on 16 inch centers. The body construction is built in basically the same way as its motor coaches, except the roll bar construction is made of aluminum instead of steel. The glossy fiberglass construction is attractive and easy to maintain, and the coach features "basement" style compartments under the floor, which is unusual for this style trailer, but does result in a higher than usual trailer frame. The Trail-R Lodge will be available as a true four-season unit, with standard radius thermo-pane windows, and a fully enclosed and heated underbelly. The waste holding tanks are under the floor, but the fresh water is located under the galley sink.

The concept unit has a GVWR of 8,000 lbs., and a net cargo carrying capacity as equipped of 1,840 lbs., which is ample for a unit this size, and allows good use of the many solid wood cabinets inside the coach, as well as the outside storage. The Trail-R Lodge is slated to come with a substantial standard equipment list, which includes a 13,500 BTU Roof A/C, a 30,000 BTU LP furnace (which is impressive for a coach this size), Jack TV antenna, 26” LCD TV, and A&E manual awning. Options will include a microwave/convection oven, rear trailer hitch for tandem towing, stabilizer jacks, bedroom TV and more.

In addition, the coach is equipped with two-20 lb LP gas cylinders which are mounted on the tongue but which may be integrated into the front cap on production units. The coach comes with two absorbed glass mat maintenance free deep cycle batteries, which are installed within one of the underside compartments.

Day says the Trail-R Lodge will have an estimated MSRP of $85,500. He expects production to begin during the first quarter of 2012.

Jayco unveils 2012 White Hawk ultra lite travel trailer

LOUISVILLE, Ky – The 2012 White Hawk, Jayco’s newest entry into the ultra lite travel trailer market, was unveiled this week at the RVIA National Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The White Hawk has an impressive list of features and amenities and can be towed by most half-ton pickups and mid-sized SUVs.

“We recognize the light weight market is more competitive today than ever before,” said Sid Johnson, Jayco director of marketing. “The goal was to provide a unit that could be towed by most family vehicles but offers standard amenities and features not traditionally found on units in this price range. We wanted to make the entire camping experience even more enjoyable for the owner, from towing to set up to take down.”

The 2012 White Hawk provides considerably more room with its deep slide outs. Each is 36 inches deep, adding twice the expandable living space over traditional lightweights.

It also offers several unique standard features including the Chil N’ Stor outdoor baggage compartment with a 1.5 cubic foot exterior refrigerator, Max View dinette window for extra light and comfort, Wide Stance Tracker Axles for more stable towing, several extra exterior lights for added safety and convenience, a thermal package with a heated and enclosed underbelly, and a standard premium exterior paint option. The White Hawk’s Kitchen includes recessed halogen lights, feature kitchen cabinetry, large rounded countertops, deep 60/40 acrylic sink with sink covers, decorative backsplash, 6.3-cubic foot Norcold refrigerator with external temperature adjustments and black metal door inserts, and an Atwood high-efficiency oven.

Other standard amenities include dark-tint safety glass windows, four-inch crowned, fully-walkable roof, marine-grade exterior speakers, residential-style furniture and carpeting, hidden switch command/charging center, burnished, cherry stained hardwood cabinetry, ball bearing drawer guides, woodgrain accent wall paneling and dinette table, Atwood high-efficiency furnace and water heater, and central air conditioning with directional and closeable vents.

SOURCE: Jayco News Release and

Fleetwood adds diesel option on its classic motorhome

Fleetwood RV Inc. debuted a front-diesel chassis option for its 2012 Bounder Classic Class A motorhome at this week’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

Fleetwood said the new, front-engine diesel adds increased power and contributes to better fuel efficiency, featuring a Cummins ISB 6.7L engine, full air suspension and air brakes. According to a news release the platform represents a collaboration between Fleetwood RV and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC).

“One of the most exciting features of the new Bounder Classic diesel is that it has air brakes and air-ride,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV. “It offers a premium ride and drive, which is something our customers have been asking for.”

The diesel chassis on the Bounder Classic also eliminates the “dog-house” -- a hump between the driver and passenger seats. The flat floor in the cockpit allows both the driver and the passenger to have improved access to the cockpit area. It also creates additional legroom when the chairs are swiveled to be part of the living area.

Consumer research in this product category has shown potential buyers have concerns about increased noise and heat in front-engine diesel applications, which Fleetwood said has been addressed in the new Bounder Classic. The coach features a newly engineered cockpit sub-floor and engine compartment with premium thermo-acoustic liners and insulation. The result is a driver’s cabin that is said to be quieter and has less noise intrusion than comparable gas powered coaches at cruising-speeds.

Lance Campers introduces its largest travel trailer

Lance Camper announces has debuted its newest travel trailer, the 2385. It's the largest travel trailer in the Lance product line-up. The new RV features a large kitchen with almost eight feet of counter space, a full wall slide with “Super Dinette” and private bedroom.

With a dry weight of 4615 pounds, the 2385 is an easy tow for most V-8 powered SUVs and light duty trucks. “The full wall slide and enormous kitchen really make this trailer stand out,” said Gary Conley, national sales manager for Lance Camper. “For RVers looking for the quality they’ve come to expect from Lance in a larger package – this is it.”

"Graffiti-bombed" motormhome has life as mobile art gallery

NEW YORK, N.Y. --'s ArtV is a 36 foot Class A motorhome retrofitted as a mobile, pop-up art gallery that is staking a claim on the future of displaying art. From New York's Chelsea neighborhood to Florida for North America's largest international art fair, ArtV is there--and making waves.

Every day the graffiti-bombed mobile gallery will shuttle anyone and everyone that hops onboard regardless of VIP status between the myriad of art fairs comprising the world's largest conglomeration of art for sale. While doing so, Welcome to COMPANY will provide collectors a welcome respite from the art orgy by hosting a gypsy-style mobile party with DJ music and free-flowing, complimentary "beverages."

"This is the coolest thing I've experienced in the art world in years. As an emerging artist, I have been wresting with how to make my art more accessible, really reach the public and not just the two percent jaded art snobs. This mobile art gallery literally takes the artwork to the streets. Totally dope," commented Dani Howard of Brooklyn during the city's recent art crawl.

Disrupting the traditional gallery system seems to be a hot trend, what with the proliferation of online art websites; but as one of the fastest growing companies, is easily the most ambitious. In addition to its mobile art gallery, this early stage company hosts a monthly meetup for new art enthusiasts called The Collector Series™ and they are producing a documentary series to discover emerging artists in each of NYC's boroughs, which will air on cable TV beginning in January for six weekly episodes.

"Art is life and if there is a way to make it more approachable to everyone without the attitude or economic intimidation, then I gurantee we will try it. It is way too much fun so why not?" claims Founder/Prexy CJ Follini.

Source: WelcometoCOMPANY news release and

Evergreen RV brings all-composite construction to all 2012 Ever-Lite trailers

Middlebury, Ind., Nov. 30, 2011 -- EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, LLC. is building its original all composite Ever-Lite travel trailers in all seven of its Deep Slide models plus its 27RB and the 29FK floor plans for 2012. EverGreen recently debuted two new economy minded brands for 2012, the i-Go Lite and Ever-Lite Select brands.

Limiting production of the original Ever-Lite brand makes it the only EverGreen product built for buyers seeking an all composite, more durable, longer lasting, sustainable travel trailer. A total of nine floor plans will be produced in the full composite Ever-Lite brand for 2012.

ComposiTek Construction
According to a company press release, Ever-Lite's exclusive ComposiTek construction makes it 20 percent lighter than competing brands. The all-composite walls, floor and roof mean that in addition to being lighter than wood products, it is also far stronger, and resists rot, mold and mildew. The ComposiTek manufacturing process replaces 50 sheets of lauan plywood in each trailer to yield an RV with virtually no harmful VOC off-gassing air--especially noticeable to people with allergies or eye sensitivity to formaldehyde.

A four-point, gear-driven slide out is engineered to simultaneously open and close at all corners of the Deep Slide units. This provides a tighter seal when closed and smooth operation which the company claims is superior to conventional two-point cable systems. The 100 point factory testing of every Ever-Lite includes simulated six inches of rainfall in 12 minutes with the slides in both the open and closed positions.

SOURCE: EverGreen News Release and

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New, all-electric motorhome debuts at RV trade show.

LOUISVILLE, Ky., November 29, 2011-- MVP RV, Inc. is showing off an all-electric, zero-emissions Class C motorhome at the National RV Trade Show that opened today. The 24-foot pre-production E Tahoe is powered by lithium-ion batteries.

MVP is showcasing a similar, all-electric Class A vehicle in China.

The RV is fitted with a drive train, external charger, and battery system developed by Harbor City, Calif.-based Balqon Corporation, which develops zero emission heavy-duty electric trucks, lithium battery packs and electric vehicle drive systems.

According to Scott Degnan, MVP vice president of sales, production models will produce more power than the pre-production model. The pre-production E Tahoe uses 96, 260-amp-hour-batteries to generate 332 volts DC. The production model will have 1,000-amp-hour-batteries.

Depending on options and use, the coach should travel about 100 to 250 miles on a charge. A full recharge takes about 90 minutes. The pre-production coach requires a 240 volt AC shore line connection for charging. The company is exploring various on-board recharging options. MVP expects the batteries to last 10,000 cycles.

The battery system is liquid cooled. Unlike present day RVs, the entire coach will operate off the 96 batteries instead of separate automotive and house systems.

The coach has about 10 percent less storage space than a traditional Tahoe due to space occupied by the batteries. The batteries weigh about 3,000 pounds. The extra weight is offset by the absence of a powertrain: the company has not released the actual difference.

Degnan would not discuss price, but said the coach should be available for retail sale by the third quarter of 2012.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We will have more detailed report on this RV within a week or two. Our big question: is this "for real" or a gimmick? It's hard for us to imagine why anyone would buy an RV that needed constant recharging, especially when such facilities are rare.

Airstream unveils Sterling concept trailer

Louisville., KY. (November 29, 2011) – Airstream unveiled its newest design concept today at the 49th annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. The Airstream Sterling Concept Trailer, designed by architect Christopher Deam, continues the partnership between Airstream and Deam that started more than a decade ago with the 2001 Airstream International CCD.

The most striking design feature of the Sterling Concept trailer is the use of anodized aluminum surfaces for the interior. Deam wanted to bring the unmistakable appearance of the Airstream’s exterior to the interior of the unit and use a premium, lustrous material that provided plenty of light and reflectivity. The aircraft-like aesthetic and modern monocoque design required high precision, resulting in a product that is both aggressively modern and timeless.

The Sterling Concept trailer features bright yellow woven vinyl flooring that has a soft, luxurious feel and is perfectly complemented by the white ultra-leather upholstery and classic midcentury Merimekko fabric used throughout the unit. All countertops and roof lockers are edged with pure aluminum extrusions which harmonize with the aluminum interior skin and premium fixtures in the galley and lavatory.

“Airstream is the ultimate object of design,” said Deam. “The Sterling Concept trailer project was a true collaboration with Airstream and forced us both to push the limits of what is possible. For a designer it is always great to work with a brand where you can exercise furniture and product design together with manufacturing – it is the ultimate!”

The Sterling Concept captures what is essential about Airstream travel trailers and imparts to it a modern flair, demonstrating Airstream’s continuing commitment to be a thought leader for the RV industry. “This concept trailer represents a fresh take on Airstream, and we think it will appeal to people who are design-savvy and appreciate quality construction and unique, modern design,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler.

According to Wheeler, the Sterling Concept trailer will be presented at various events over the next couple of months before a final production decision is made.

SOURCE: Airstream Press Release

Airstream adds 24 hour roadside and technical assistance program

November 29, 2011 -- National Motor Club (NMC) today announced a partnership agreement with Airstream, Inc. Beginning with Airstream’s 2012 models, all units will include a two-year Coach-Net RV technical and roadside assistance program.

The program began mid-September and expands Airstream’s service and provides factory-trained reps to assist Airstream owners 24/7 wherever they travel throughout the United States and Canada.

“We believe the addition of Coach-Net is a great way to round out our service offering and add support to our valued owners,” explained Justin Humphreys, Airstream’s vice president of sales. “Whether they are on the side of the road, in a campground, or just have a technical question after hours, we want to give our owners peace of mind knowing that they have a respected, knowledgeable RV industry leader available to help.”

For 55 years, National Motor Club (NMC) has provided emergency roadside assistance and other travel related services over its 55-year history. Through its Coach-Net line of services, NMC has served the RV industry for the last 25 years and is included with vehicle purchase in 70 percent of all new RV models.

Thor introduces new Palazzo diesel motor coach

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 29, 2011 -- Thor Motor Coach showed off its new Palazzo diesel motorhome at the Louisville National Trade Show today. The Palazzo’s foundation is a 26,000-lb GVWR Freightliner rear diesel chassis powered by a 300 horsepower Cummins ISB/660 Ft-lb Toque engine.

Features includes two slideouts, Vizio Home Theatre Bar, a residential Whirlpool refrigerator, cockpit PC workstation, solid surface countertops and a 6,000 watt Onan generator.

The RV features more than 5,000 pounds of cargo carrying capacity. It's patio area is completely covered by the awning, and slide rooms do not take away from living area or storage access. The interior of the coach has eliminated the typical diesel cockpit wind noise, the living area is not fully traversed to get to the bath, and cabinet and wardrobe storage is spacious. “Outside of the box thinking, plus an understanding of what will make a dealer successful with today’s diesels, are the reasons we created the Palazzo, explained Dana Simon, VP of Sales and Marketing for Thor Motor Coach.

Lance Camper debuts small trailer

LOUISVILLE, KY, Nov. 29, 2011 -- Lance Camper debuted today its latest and smallest travel trailer, the 1274, at the National RV Trade Show. The RV features a large slide-out, a pop out tent sleeper and dry bath. With a dry weight of 2,250 pounds, the 1274 is an easy tow for vehicles with a 5,000 pound tow rating. “The 1274 feels a lot larger than it is with the pop-out tent sleeper,” said Gary Conley, National Sales Manager for Lance Camper.

Monday, November 28, 2011

FMCA executive director resigns, new interim director named

Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2011 -- The Family Motor Coach Association, FMCA, an international organization for motorhome owners, has announced that longtime staff member Jerry Yeatts has assumed responsibilities as executive director of the association.

Mr. Yeatts will take on responsibilities formerly handled by Bradford Koshland, who tendered his resignation in early November for family reasons. He had served in the position for less than one year.

“Brad made a very difficult decision that required him to set aside his duties at FMCA headquarters in Cincinnati and take on a new challenge with his immediate family,” said FMCA president Charlie Schrenkel. “We certainly understand the need to put family first, and we wish Brad well with this and all of his future endeavors.”

In addition to fulfilling the obligations of executive director, Mr. Yeatts also will maintain oversight for the member services area. Previously, he served the association as director of conventions and commercial services for more than a decade.

“Jerry is well-acquainted with the RV industry and well-versed in the needs of FMCA. His years of experience will be an asset as he leads the association and also works to grow FMCA’s membership base,” Mr. Schrenkel noted.

Heartland RV to debut lightweight toy haulers at National Trade Show

Elkhart, Ind., Nov. 28, 2011 - Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC will introduce its line of lightweight Torque toy haulers at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

Available in both travel trailer and mid-profile fifth-wheel floorplans, Heartland said Torque will give dealers “an all-new option in the very fast growing toy hauler segment.”

“Torque is like nothing else in the RV industry,” said General Manager AJ Jones in a press release. “When looking at the current trend in toy haulers, most companies are building units that are higher-priced with heavier GVWR’s. That means that most manufacturers are only competing for shelf space in the higher price points. Torque offers a completely new approach, specializing in lightweight, inexpensive toy haulers.”

Heartland said it has emerged as one of the top-selling toy hauler manufacturers this year with its Cyclone/Road Warrior brands, which had increased market share by nearly 22% in the U.S. and 45% in Canada through September, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.

Jones noted, “It is the perfect time to release Torque, with the huge momentum swing that we are having in the toy hauler division. This is a product that will not compromise any of our existing toy hauler sales – it will only supplement what we are already doing with different price points and weights never seen before.”

Initially, Torque will be offered in seven floor plans – three travel trailers and four mid-profile fifth-wheels – ranging in a variety of lengths and sizes. Prospective dealers will be able to see the all-new Torque product at Booth No. 5025 in the West Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) during the Louisville Show.

PHOTO: 2012 Torque Fifth Wheel.

SOURCE: Heartland news release and

Forest River to debut futuristic Aviator travel trailer

Forest River Inc. will introduce its luxury Aviator travel trailer at this week's National RV Trade Show. “When we sat down to design the Aviator over a year and a half ago, we wanted to bring to market a luxury travel trailer that would revolutionize this industry. Low maintenance, customer friendliness and a unique look were the criteria we used in developing this product,” said Kevin McArt, general manager for the new unit.

Features in the Aviator include an aerodynamic front cap with integrated windshield, contoured composite sidewalls and a maintenance-free fiberglass roof. The RV is entirely wood-free. “Not only is the absence of wood material a strong environmental commitment, but the implementation of aluminum and composite materials add higher strength tolerances and are impermeable to moisture,” noted McArt.

Aviator is also the first RV unit in any segment to introduce Smart Technology, a system that uses a Sony tablet computer. “We’ve assembled a system of familiar components that when combined together deliver unparalleled access to information, entertainment and ease-of-use for our customers,” said Cody Schade, regional sales manager for the Aviator.

According to Schade, Mobile Onboard Smart Technology (MOST) allows customers to share a direct service link not only with the dealer network but also with Forest River. It provides a personal, interactive guide including how-to videos and tutorials, troubleshooting, and any question a customer may encounter on set-up, appliances, or other features.

SOURCE: Forest River news release and