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Kibbi/Renegade: The Brawnier, the Better

Building commercial-style motorhomes on medium- and heavy-duty truck chassis – plus cargo trailers for racing professionals – has become the mainstay for Kibbi Inc. dba Renegade, Bristol, Ind. Renegade’s specialized product lineup includes a hybrid Class C motorhome built on one of three Freightliner chassis, a “Toterhome” Class C with a “gooseneck” fifth-wheel-style towing platform in addition to hard-side cargo trailers with heavy-duty lifts that are adapted primarily for automobile... Read more

Sportsmobile Raises the Bar – and Roof – With Unique Class B's

Having started building Sportsmobile van campers in 1961, Charles Borskey, 71, has seen all of the ups and downs the RV industry has experienced over the last four decades. And he’s seen the market shifts. “A long time ago, our market was young families with a couple of kids and a few retired people,” Borskey said. “Now it’s reversed, although we are finding that more and more young people are getting back into it. “The one thing about Class B’s is that 95% of our customers also use... Read more

Allen Camper Thrives in Small Niche

With 34 floorplans in its Idle-Time travel trailer, fifth-wheel and park model lines, Allen Camper Manufacturing Co. Inc., Allen, Okla., is a small regional manufacturer with a flexible attitude. “One of the bigger things that attracts people to Idle-Time is that we can do specialty things that the larger manufacturers can’t or aren’t willing to do,” said Allen Camper President Jerry Peay. “We can add or delete windows or add or delete cabinetry or move a wall. We can make changes that... Read more

Play-Mor: An SUT Pioneer

Family-owned Play-Mor Trailers Inc. has carved a niche for itself in the RV industry by specializing for many years now in cargo trailers with living quarters up front. While most manufacturers began to offer sport-utility trailers (SURVs) only a few years ago, Play-Mor built its first one in the mid-1980s. “We were looking to expand our market and it was a good choice,” said Play-Mor President John Willibrand, son of founders Dick and Melba Willibrand. “We’ve always been a player in niche... Read more

Chalet RV

Chris Hanson went shopping for an RV four years ago, but ended up buying a company, Chalet RV, which manufactures A-frame Chalet hard-sided folding-camping trailers. “I called the company one day while looking for a dealer,” said Hanson, now president of Chalet RV Inc., Albany, Ore. “I struck up a conversation with the owner and one thing led to another,” Hanson said. “We negotiated for about six months.” At the time, Hanson was a facilities manager for Hewlett Packard in Oregon. Chalet... Read more

Gulf Stream's Lean Approach

The speed with which Gulf Stream Coach Inc.’s motorized division developed the new Class B Touring Cruiser and added the four-slide Quattro floorplan to its Yellowstone, Friendship, Tour Master and Scenic Cruiser Class A diesel brands is a testament to the company’s commitment to “lean manufacturing.” Neither the B Touring Cruiser nor the Quattro option existed – even as doodles on paper – as recently as October. Both, however, were offered as prototypes to dealers at the Louisville Show... Read more

Coach House

Motorhome RV manufacturer Coach House Inc., Nokomis, Fla., has undergone a complete transition in the last two years, moving from the Class B to Class C segments of the RV market. While making the change and creating the Platinum Class C minimotorhome, Coach House borrowed from Florida’s boating industry to design a patented one-piece molded fiberglass body using construction methods that are relatively rare in the RV industry. “It’s a difficult process,” said Coach House Vice President Steve... Read more

Timberland

When former Fleetwood executives Mark Gerber and Kean MacOwan founded Timberland RV Co. in late 1999, they didn’t follow the book on RV startup ventures. First, they rented a plant in Peru, Ind., 75 miles southeast of Elkhart County, the hub of RV manufacturing in the United States. Second, they decided to build travel trailers and fifth-wheels without options. Third, they figured that to be a top seller at the high end of the entry-level sector they needed to offer as standard many features that... Read more

Leisure Travel Vans

Leisure Travel Vans Ltd. of Canada will build its widebody Freedom Class B motorhome in three models for 2002, and some of them may roll out on new chassis as soon as this summer. Currently, Leisure Travel's Freedom, Discovery and Independence models all are built in 20-foot lengths on Dodge Ram chassis by Chrysler. The Freedom and Independence are 84 inches wide, versus 78 inches on the Discovery. If Chrysler Corp. stops manufacturing the Ram chassis at the end of the 2003 model year —... Read more

Weekend Warrior Trailers

The growing popularity of so-called toy haulers — RVs designed to carry outdoor sports equipment and vehicles — didn't surprise Mark Warmoth, owner of Weekend Warrior Trailers Inc., Perris, Calif. Warmoth, a production executive for 14 years with Alfa Leisure Inc., Chino, Calif., built his first trailer with its own rear garage when he founded Weekend Warrior in 1988. The innovative design was spurred by Warmoth's interest in the outdoors. "He's an enthusiastic... Read more

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