Park model manufacturer Breckenridge, a subsidiary of Elkhart, Ind.-based motorhome builder Damon Corp., is considering a move into the mainstream of the travel trailer market possibly as soon as next year, according to Tim Howard, president.
Breckenridge, based in Nappanee, Ind., cannot make the move immediately because Damon signed a three-year non-compete agreement during April 2000 when it sold its towable RV business to Keystone RV Co., now a unit of Thor Industries Inc.
After next April, Breckenridge will move into the “bread & butter travel trailers” segment if the company gets “tugs from our dealers,” Howard said.
Earlier this year, Breckenridge also hired “a travel trailer expert,” Rich Fischer, a former Mallard, Damon and National RV Inc. executive, to be the manager of Breckenridge’s Bayridge product line.
A Bayridge with a single-slide floorplan actually is a travel trailer, while a Bayridge with a double- or triple-slide floorplan is a park model, Howard added.
Damon’s non-compete with Keystone prohibits Breckenridge from building towable RVs below 300 square feet, Howard explained. A Bayridge with a single slide provides 318 square feet of space.
Bayridge units with the single slide floorplan carry a Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) seal and they are subject to RVIA inspections, Howard added.
Meanwhile, 320 square feet separates park models from towable RVs and the Bayridge models with double- and triple-slide floorplans exceed 320 square feet, so they carry Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) seals, he said.
Moving into the mainstream of the travel trailer business would not be a stretch because Breckenridge considers itself a builder of products for “destination camping,” Howard said. Most larger travel trailers currently are used for destination camping because they are not moved from the campground where they are originally placed, he believes.“How many (retail buyers) actually pull around a 35-foot travel trailer with slides?” Howard asked. “I’d say, not many.”