SunnyBrook RV Inc., Middlebury, Ind., long known for the quality construction of its medium-priced SunnyBrook brand of towables, is moving into the entry-level market with the SunnyBrook Lite travel trailer.
After a run of 700 units on its SunnyBrook production line, the company plans to build the SunnyBrook Lite in a newly constructed 100,000-square-foot plant scheduled to open in Middlebury next summer.
Our main product is a medium-price unit geared toward people 55 and older, said SunnyBrook President Elvie J. Frey Sr.
The new series is geared more toward the first-time buyer who is likely to use it on the weekend and for short trips. Entry level in the trailer business is where the numbers are. The decision almost was a no-brainer.
SunnyBrook Lite initially will be offered in three models: one at 24 feet and two at 27 feet. Acceptance in the market will determine if the Lite line grows to the size of the medium-priced SunnyBrook, which consists of 20 models in lengths from 24 feet to 34 feet. The initial SunnyBrook Lite production run, which began in November, will be completed by mid-January, after which the company will assess the market, Frey said. We will be tracking the retail market reaction pretty closely how quickly they move off dealers lots; what options are customers ordering.
The SunnyBrook line is sold as Mobile Scout in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and western Louisiana, and the new Lite travel trailer will be marketed as a Mobile Scout Special Limited Edition in those states.
The Mobile Scout brand was owned by W.D. Thorton, the father of one of our founders Tom Thorton, Frey said. It was recognized in that area of the country and it gave the company instant name recognition, although a lot of dealers east of the Mississippi had never heard of it. SunnyBrook RV, which was formed in 1992 with 13 employees, currently has 160 workers, and likely will add as many as 100 more as SunnyBrook Lite goes into production, Frey said. Frey said the company has looked at the recent downturn in the wholesale RV market due primarily to the availability of floor financing, higher retail interest rates and high gasoline prices as a chance to diversify its product line. We've taken the opportunity of the slowdown to begin to build these lites, Frey said. That way we will know when we get ready to put the product into full production what we need to put into the manufacturing facilities.
Frey said SunnyBrook Lite will sell for about $3,500 less than comparable SunnyBrook models, which range in price between $16,200 for a basic 24-foot model to $47,500 for a 34-foot triple-slide fifth-wheel fully loaded with options. SunnyBrook Lite standard features include Dometic 13,500-Btu ducted AC, A&E awning, tongue-and-grove plywood-floor decking, queen bed, under-bed storage, under-floor fresh water tanks, in-floor ducted heat, microwave, miniblinds, rubber roof, monitor panel, molded tub surround and jack-knife sofa.