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Pilgrim Intl. Makes Significant Progress in RV Towable Sector

Dave Hoefer, founder of two successful RV manufacturing companies and a participant in several other manufactured housing and RV startup firms that remain key participants in the industry today under new owners, didn’t take retirement well. That was fortunate for a small group of RV industry veterans who joined Hoefer in 2002 to form Pilgrim International Inc., Middlebury, Ind., which in a short time has amassed as much as $150 million in annual sales. “Chiefly, my return was caused by my former... Read more

Travel Supreme, Once Limited to Trailers, Thrives in Diesels

High-end fifth-wheel manufacturer Travel Supreme Inc. made an abrupt yet successful change in direction in 1999 when the company began producing diesel-pusher motorhomes. Although the the Wakarusa, Ind., company was founded in 1989 to build fifth-wheels, its chic, high-end diesel motorhomes have come to account for more than three-quarters of its annual production over the past six years. "At the time, the market was tight in really high-end fifth-wheels, and we didn't want to build something... Read more

Boomers Power Spike in RV Ownership

Russ and Jean Glines have picked the theme music to herald their transition from living in a 3,000-square foot country club home to full-time roadies in a 400-square-foot recreational vehicle, according to an Associated Press report. The Glines, 43-year-old mortgage brokers, are among a growing number of Baby Boomers who have pushed the number of RV owners to record levels, including some who hit the road full time while continuing to pursue their careers. "There's two CDs by the Allman... Read more

Kimberly Kampers Brings Off-Road Aussie Towable to States

Kimberly Kampers Pty. Ltd., which holds about 35% of the Australian retail market for off-road folding camping trailers, is ramping up its presence in the U.S. following the signing of a free-trade agreement between the two countries that went into effect in January 2005. Kimberly Kampers Pty. Ltd., Ballina, New South Wales, manufacturer of the King Kamper folding camping trailers currently being sold by three western U.S. outdoor sports retailers, is looking to add several dealers to sell the durable... Read more

Starcraft Finds Success in Tapping Travel Trailer Market

Starcraft RV Inc. has long been known for its folding camping trailers that as recently as 15 years ago accounted for nearly 80% of its company production. More recently, however, Starcraft has repositioned itself by adding an array of expandable hybrid trailers and more traditional travel trailers and fifth-wheels to its lineup. Although folding camping trailers are still a significant percentage of what Starcraft builds, popups in 2005 accounted for a shade under 43% of Starcraft's total production. "In... Read more

Sunline: Finding Big Success With Small Recreational Vehicles

For 2007, Sunline Coach Co. debuted two light-weight, compact travel trailer lines — the Que (rhymes with "you") for couples and the Advancer 20, believed to be the first production-line RV designed for the disabled. "That's our history," said President Joseph C. Bucara. "Based on surveys we've done via the Internet and of our own customers, small RVs are the strongest market for us. Generally, what we tend to find is that we have greater appeal to small families... Read more

Today's Damon Puts Strong Emphasis on Class A Value

Damon Motor Coach President Bill Fenech has added quite a bit to his resume since serving as a district sales manager for Coachmen RV. After a stint at Four Winds International Corp., Fenech became one of the primary founders of Keystone RV Co. in 1996, heading up Keystone's towable division in Elkhart, Ind., after Keystone acquired Damon Corp.'s fifth-wheel and travel trailer operations in May 2000. When publicly owned Thor Industries Inc. first acquired Keystone and later Damon, Thor... Read more

Haulmark Industries Specializes in Class C RVs 'on Steroids'

Although Haulmark Industries Inc. motorhomes are categorized as Class C motorhomes — or "minimotorhomes" in RV industry parlance — there's not much that's "mini" about them. "We sometimes refer to them as Class C's on steroids," jokes Tony Monda, director of marketing for Bristol, Ind.-based Haulmark, a subsidiary of specialty trailer manufacturer Universal Trailer Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio. While Haulmark's meat-and-potatoes product lines... Read more

Actuant Reports Record 1Q Sales, Earnings

Diversified manufacturer Actuant Corp. today (Dec. 21) announced record sales and earnings for the company’s fiscal first quarter, despite declines in the Milwaukee, Wis., company’s recreational vehicle subsidiaries. For the quarter, ended Nov. 30, Actuant had net income of $21.3 million compared to $16.9 million the previous year, boosted by acquisitions made in the second and third quarters of fiscal 2005. Revenues rose 42% to $284 million compared to $200 million a year ago. Actuant is parent... Read more

Earthroamer: Brawny Class C Design Takes the Roads Less Traveled

A friendship born at UCLA while they were studying for masters degrees in business eventually led Bill Swails and Michele Connolly to Colorado to build what is arguably one of the most unusual RVs on the market. Production of the high-end EarthRoamer Expedition Vehicle (XV), an all-weather Class C chassis-mount motorhome meant to be fully self-contained like few other RVs, is about to kick into high gear in 2006. The small Colorado company anticipates that a move to a new manufacturing facility in... Read more

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