> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Carriage Inc. exhibited two prototypes of its entry-level Carri-Sport travel trailer and fifth-wheel series during its national dealer meeting in Indianapolis July 26-28.

The Carri-Sport series will eventually come in 24- to 37-foot lengths. The two travel trailers shown in Indianapolis were a 26-footer priced to retail at $18,350, typically equipped, and a 30-footer priced to retail at $18,500, typically equipped.

The 26-footer weighs 5,135 pounds and the 30-footer weighs 5,360 pounds, both light enough to be pulled by a Ford Excursion SUV or higher horsepower engine-equipped versions of the Ford Expedition or Chevrolet Suburban SUVs, said Len Ropp, national sales manager.

“We didn’t want to do a slam-bam entry-level product,” Peter Recchio, director of sales and marketing, told the representatives of around 100 dealerships at the Indianapolis gathering. “The Carri-Sport will not go to market until it is a Carriage (in terms of product quality). We want the first one to be perfect.”

That means regular production will not begin until the Millersburg, Ind.-based firm completely digests the input it received from its dealer body at its model year 2002 product introduction show.

Carriage wants to extend its product offerings into lower price ranges to take advantage of its consumer brand-loyalty and to increase its production volume to make more efficient use of the Northern Indiana manufacturing complex.