Monday, February 25, 2013

Sequestration looms over National Parks

WASHINGTON – If the current stalemate in the nation's capital is not soon resolved, RVers and other visitors to National Parks may see some unpleasant fallout. The shadow comes as the Service releases information on how much the parks contribute to the national economy.

Parks continued to be important economic engines for local communities, with visitors generating $30.1 billion in economic activity and supporting 252,000 jobs nationwide in 2011, according to a peer-reviewed report released today.

"Places like the Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty take our breath away and inspire us with their beauty and history, but our national parks also serve as anchors for our nation’s economy," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "People who visit parks need transportation, places to stay, and meals to eat – all of which support businesses and provide jobs in local communities."

The statistics for 2011 are based on the spending of nearly 279 million national park visitors; more than one third of that total spending, or $13 billion, went directly into communities within 60 miles of a park. The numbers are on par with previous years.

Interior Chief Salazar and director of the National Parks, Jonathan Jarvis warned that mandatory budget cuts under sequestration will result in reduced hours of operation for visitor centers, shorter seasons, and possibly closing campgrounds, hiking trails, and other recreational areas when there is insufficient staff to ensure the protection of visitors, staff and resources. Should Congress fail to act before the March 1 deadline, the public should expect reduced hours and services not only at America’s 398 national parks but also at the 561 national wildlife refuges and over 268 public land units.

This week the Service also released its 2012 visitation numbers showing an increase of 3.8 million over the previous year for a total of 282.8 million visitors to the National Park Service’s 398 parks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Airstream Interstate keeps top Class B motorhome ranking for 2012

JACKSON CENTER, Ohio, February 20, 2013 – Airstream announced today the brand’s Airstream Interstate, for the second year in a row, was named the number one selling Class B motorhome model in the U.S., according to Statistical Surveys Inc. In 2012, Airstream grew its market share in the touring coach segment by 20 percent and increased unit sales by 58 percent.

“We are pleased but not surprised that the Interstate has held the top spot for two years running,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler. “Our focus on delivering a premium experience for our luxury buyer has been very effective, and our strong dealer network has been the key to our success in the marketplace.”

The Interstate, built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, fuses the legendary quality and design of Airstream with Mercedes-Benz’s comfort, control, and luxury. The unit continues the tradition of extraordinary design and handcrafted quality that has made Airstream a style classic for more than 80 years. The unique blend of these two premium brands yields a fuel-efficient, luxurious, safe, and comfortable way for travelers to explore the open road.

Airstream had a record-setting 2012, marking it the best-selling year in the company’s 82-year history.

SOURCE: Airstream news release and

RV Hall of Fame announces 2013 inductees

ELKHART, Ind., February 20, 2013 — The board of directors of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation (Foundation) has announced the names of those who will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall) as the Class of 2013. The induction ceremonies will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana, during the annual induction dinner on Monday, August 5, 2013.

Darryl Searer, president of the Foundation, said, "It is my great pleasure to welcome these new inductees who will join the honored rolls of industry leaders, pioneers and innovators who have made significant contributions the RV and manufactured housing industries. I join their friends, family and colleagues in congratulating the following honorees."  

Craig M. Bollman, a housing community developer/operator from Mobile Home Communities in Littleton, Colorado.
Beginning in the 1960s, he built his community into the first publicly traded land-lease community in the nation. For many years, he was the largest owner of manufactured home communities in the USA. He has served as the housing industry's representative to the Small Business Administration

Theresa M. Desfosses, a housing industry veteran of retail, communities, and manufacturing from State Manufactured Homes in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
Since 1968 she has led her company in retail sales of both HUD code and modular homes and the development and management of communities providing over 600 home sites in Maine and New Hampshire. As President of Burlington Homes, a HUD code manufacturer, she is the only woman to be the active leader simultaneously in all three divisions (retail, community and manufacturing). She is a founding member of the Maine MHA and a board member of the Manufactured Association for Regulatory Reform   

Kirwan Elmers, an RV Bus converter from Custom Coach in Columbus, Ohio.
Beginning with his father in 1955, for more than 50 years he has been a major innovator in the creation of luxury RVs from bus shells. Among the innovations he helped to engineer are, the first automatic transmission in an intercity bus shell (1956), first backup camera in a motor coach (1965), first cruise control in a motorcoach (1967) and the first quick change lounge area that automatically converted to a bedroom(1986). He served ten years as President of the FMCA Commercial Council

C.M. Fore (deceased)an RV manufacturer from Foretravel, Inc. in Nacadoches, Texas.
Since founding his company in 1967, he has been a leader in the evolution of luxury Type A motorhomes. He was among the first to use diesel engines in motorhomes, and among the first to build pusher chassis. He built the first uni-body motorhomes and pioneered the use of many household features such as multiple air conditioners, central vacuum systems, ice maker refrigerators and more. He led the concept of factory owned stores by creating factory outlets in major markets around the country.
Lawrence C. Lippert, an RV and MH industry supplier from Lippert Components in Goshen, Indiana.
Beginning his company in 1955 with two employees, he built it into the largest component supplier in the industry. He provides every thing from frames and chassis to roof materials for both homes and RVs. His products have included axles, countertops, mattresses, draperies and furniture. Now a third generation family led company, he is recognized for building a generous corporate citizen employing over 4500 workers in 12 states.

Thomas P. Meyers, a housing manufacturer from Guerdon Industries in Louisville Kentucky. 
For over 50 years he led several housing manufacturers to dynamic and varied growth. Guerdon Industries was the first to enter overseas markets in a significant way with plants and sales in South America, Asia and the Middle East. At its peak, Guerdon was operating 57 plants with 7,000 employees. At Commodore Homes he led 27 factories producing 20,000 floors per year. He founded Meyers and Associates and provided consulting services to manufacturers world wide.

Claude N. Palmer (deceased)a housing retailer from Palmer Homes in Waverly, New York.
Since 1971 he has provided a source of affordable housing to families in south central New York. He has received top retailer recognition from 7 manufacturers. He developed Holly Park Terrace with 99 oversize lots in 1970 and created Custom Modular Homes Company to build upscale state code modular homes. He was the first in his region to offer home/land financing packages.

Mathew Perlot (deceased)an RV manufacturer from Safari Motorhomes in Harrisburg, Oregon.
For more than 25 years he has been recognized as an innovator and leader in the motor home industry. He pioneered the concept of the affordably priced diesel pusher, and the automatic awning. He was honored as RV Executive of the Year in 1994. He took Safari and Beaver public in 1996 and eventually sold to Monaco.

Thomas Walworth, an RV and manufactured housing industry consultant and statistician from Statistical Surveys Inc. in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Under his leadership, his company has become the recognized official scorecard for sales in both the RV and manufactured housing industries in the US and Canada. He has served for over 20 years on the RVIA Market Information Committee. His data has become relied upon for marketing planning by every major company in either industry.

SOURCE: RV/MH Hall of Fame news release and

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Winnebago RV tops motorhome industry in 2012 volume growth

FOREST CITY, IOWA, February 14, 2013 — Winnebago Industries, Inc. has been recognized by Statistical Surveys, Inc., as the top performing motorhome manufacturer based for calendar year 2012 based on the largest volume and the largest overall growth in motorhome retail registrations.  

In the U.S. motorhome retail registration report issued yesterday, Winnebago Industries was listed as the top selling manufacturer for Class A and Class C motorhomes in calendar 2012, with market share of 20.6 percent compared to 19 percent the year before. Winnebago Industries’ volume growth was 16.1 percent above retail registrations during calendar year 2011 compared to industry growth of 7.3 percent.

In the United States, Class A market segment, Winnebago Industries was also the top-selling market leader with 22.2 percent for calendar 2012. In addition, the company also led the U.S. Class A gas market segment with 24.2 percent market share, and grew its U.S. Class A diesel market share to 19.4 percent and U.S. Class C market share to 18.5 percent for calendar year 2012.

SOURCE: Winnebago News release and

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicago RV Show to feature adventure filmmaker John Holod

CHICAGO, IL, February 12, 2013 — Cinematographer John Holod will present a program of highlights of his RV adventure films to attendees of this week's Chicago Camping at RV Show. The 45th annual event kicks off Wednesday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. 

Holod has traveled the world producing travelogues, but in recent years has focused on travel by recreational vehicle, with productions on most regions of North America. Highlights from his most popular series of DVDs, which spotlight RV travel to and in Alaska, will be included in his Chicago program.

The veteran filmmaker released his newest DVD last month, "Route 66 RV Adventure." Holod will debut highlights of that production at the Chicago show, its first major audience of RV enthusiasts. "Driving Route 66 is right up there with the Alaska Highway on most RVers' bucket lists," said Holod. "Many RVers — if not most — do not realize that about 80 percent of the old highway is still there and can be easily driven with any RV. The film is especially relevant to the Chicago audience because that's where Route 66 began on way west to Santa Monica, California."

Holod's programs will begin at the top of the hour throughout the show. More information about his productions, all of which are available on DVD, is available at Holod's website


Friday, February 1, 2013

Route 66 RV dealer network expands into Canada

OVERLAND PARK, KS, January 31, 2013 – With ten new locations on board and another ten locations in the works, the ROUTE 66 RV Network is aggressively expanding in Canada.

“We’ve been contacted by interested dealers from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia” says Rob Merrill, ROUTE 66 partner. “What attracts these dealers is the unmatched opportunity to tie their local dealership to one common North American brand. 

The new ROUTE 66 Canadian dealers currently on board are:
  • Triangle RV Centre – Sylvia Thistle-Miller - Sidney, BC
  • Chemo RV Sales & Service – Jason Bell - 150 Mile House/Quesnel, BC
  • Kelowna RVs – Randy Woodside - Kelowna, BC
  • R.V. Lifestyles –  Neil Freidenberg - Calgary, AB
  • Village RV – Darren Gelowitz - Regina, SK
  • Transcona Trailer Sales – Garth Bromley - Winnipeg, MB
  • Hiemstra Trailer Sales – Wayne Heimstra - London, ON
  • Arrkann Trailer & RV Center — Ken Freidenberg — Edmonton, AB
One of the founding dealers of The Network in Canada, Sylvia Thistle-Miller of Triangle RV in Sidney, BC believes ROUTE 66 not only serves dealer’s needs but also the interests of their customers. “Unlike other RV dealer networks, ROUTE 66 seeks to add value to our customers’ experience after they buy an RV. They can get savings at nearly 500 KOA campgrounds in North America, traveling discounts through the ROUTE 66 RV Club and the peace of mind that comes with the new ROUTE 66 roadside/tTech24 program.”

Additional dealers will be added to the ROUTE 66 RV Network in Canada with the recommendation from these and other future member dealers. Each dealership’s territory will be clearly defined to ensure every dealership enjoys market exclusivity in offering The Network’s unique dealer and consumer program benefits in the U.S. and Canada.

The ROUTE 66 RV Network is the largest network of RV dealers in North America with nearly 150 locations in 44 states and provinces.

SOURCE: Route 66 news release and