CrossRoads RV Branches Out, Boosts Production

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September 8, 2003 by   - () Leave a Comment

Nearing completion of a revamp of its travel trailer and fifth-wheel product lines, D.S. Corp. Inc., dba CrossRoads RV, Topeka, Ind., tripled the size of its manufacturing facilities with the opening in May of a new 50,000-square-foot factory.
The new plant on 20 acres across the street from CrossRoads’ original leased plant is manufacturing the new Silverado fifth-wheel series and the redesigned Paradise Pointe travel-trailer and fifth wheel line. In addition to establishing Paradise Pointe at a price $10,000 to $15,000 lower than before, the company stopped manufacturing CrossRoads by CrossRoads towables and their All American option package on Aug. 1. “We did not need the CrossRoads, All American and the Paradise Pointe as they were,” said General Manager Mark Lucas, formerly regional sales manager for Trail-Lite Division of R-Vision Inc., Warsaw, Ind. He joined Crossroads in June 2002, succeeding former minority owner Steve Snyder.
CrossRoads was founded in 1996 by long-time RV supplier Freeman “Fritz” Helmuth as a high-end line of towables to appeal to fulltimers. Helmuth sold the company in 2000.
With the introduction of Cruiser travel trailer and fifth-wheels last year and Silverado fifth-wheels this year, and the earlier departure of the Paradise Cove brand, CrossRoads has established a simple three-tier midpriced brand structure.
“We are not trying to cater to the stick-and-tin bare-minimum market,” Lucas said. “We are not interested in competing there. Our coaches probably are the second or third one that a buyer has had. Everything about the options and construction brings higher-end features to the midline market.”
A portion of the restructuring involved standardization of some components across the three brands to take advantage of ordering in volume.
Streamlining the brand lineup also makes it easier for dealers to stock CrossRoads brands without crossing price points, Lucas said.
“Now a dealer can buy a Cruiser and have a sensible step up to the Paradise Pointe and another sensible step up to the Silverado,” Lucas said. Not inconsequentially, as the brand lineup has been reconfigured, the number of dealers selling Crossroads has risen from 48 two years ago to 107 in July.
It was dealer demand for Cruiser RVs after the line’s debut last year at the National RV Trade Show that pushed the existing plant to its 12-a-day capacity and led to the initial expansion. Capacity issues also threatened CrossRoads’ goal to take no more than six weeks to ship a unit after it is ordered, Lucas said. “Beyond six weeks, what’s the point? The sale tends to lose its value beyond that,” he said.
With the added capacity, Lucas said the company is on track this year to triple 2002 shipments of 880 units.

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