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Northwood Manufacturing

The power of the Internet has caused regional RV maker Northwood Manufacturing Inc., La Grande, Ore., to expand production into Kentucky from its home base in the Pacific Northwest. "Because of the Internet, we get a lot of calls from the East," said Northwood President Ron Nash. "A lot of people didn't know that we were strictly a West Coast company. Building a plant in Kentucky will let us be closer to where our market has been moving." Northwood's shifting geographic... Read more

Cruiser R.V. Corp.

Cruiser R.V. Corp., Bristol, Ind., has been on a mission for more than a year and a half: resurrecting yet again the Shadow Cruiser brand name. Yet again, because this is the third time around for Shadow Cruiser RVs. Privately owned Cruiser R.V. set up shop in April 1999, using some of the assets of the former Shadow Cruiser Corp., which had gone into bankruptcy following its failed efforts to re-establish the Shadow Cruiser brand. "My son convinced me to get back in the business," said... Read more

Coach House

Family-owned Coach House Inc., a Florida manufacturer of Class B motorhomes, entered the Class C market in June with the Platinum 232, which had been under development for 15 months. "It is a natural transition," said Coach House Vice President Steve Gerzeny. "The Class B segment of the market has been relatively flat for the last three years. About a year and a half ago, we hired Ron Frank, who was among the original owners of Xplorer Motorhomes. We wanted him to pioneer a Class C... Read more

Carri-Go

Carriage Inc., long known for manufacturing high-quality fifth-wheel and travel trailers, intends to appeal to veteran RVers who want to downsize — and baby-boom generation buyers who aren't ready to pay $100,000 for an RV — with its new Carri-Go Class C motorhome. The Carri-Go's introduction foreshadows Carriage's aggressive re-entry in to the motorhome market. "I would not be surprised to see Carriage develop other motorhome products, including Class A motorhomes,"... Read more

Petersen's Excel

Making fifth-wheel trailers in the prairie community of Smith Center, Kan. (population: 2,100), presents both challenges and opportunities for privately owned Peterson Industries Inc. "Because we aren't in Indiana, we don't fall into the trap of building another 'me too' unit," said Peterson President Bryan Tillett. "We are forced to be innovative and operate as efficiently as possible. The bad thing is that everything we purchase has to be freighted to us, most... Read more

Yellowstone's Return

Gulf Stream Coach Inc.'s Yellowstone brand is re-entering the Class A motorhome market with four units intended to attract current owners of Yellowstone towables and Class C minimotorhomes. "We want to give Yellowstone owners a chance to move up in a brand they like and they know," says Claude Donati, Gulf Stream's national sales and marketing manager for motorized products. Gulf Stream, with headquarters in Nappanee, Ind., last built a Class A motorhome carrying the Yellowstone... Read more

Xplorer's Xcursion

The design of a new line of Class C motorhomes — the 2000 Xplorer Xcursion — isn't bound in tradition. For one thing, the Xcursion is built on a DaimlerChrysler Dodge Ram 3500 cutaway pickup frame. And, the Xcursion offers buyers a diesel option that usually is not available in minimotorhomes. But the 25-foot Xcursion traces its roots to industry pioneer Ray Frank, who started building motorhomes in 1958 when they were still called "house cars." Ray Frank's son, Ron,... Read more

Itasca Horizon

When Winnebago Industries Inc. set out last year to differentiate its Itasca line from the legendary Winnebago brand name, the Forest City, Iowa, company faced two challenges. "The first thing we wanted to do is build the Itasca identity," said Ron Buckmeier, Winnebago Industries' vice president of product development. "Within the industry, it's pretty well known. Beyond that, it's not that familiar of a name. "Second, we wanted to position the Itasca slightly off... Read more

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