> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Carriage Inc., Millersburg, Ind., plans to increase production 25% to meet orders it received during its annual dealer meeting June 9-11 in Boston.

About 100 people representing 36 dealerships attended the meeting at the World Trade Center and Seaport Hotel and Conference Center.

”We had a phenomenal show,” said Don Emahiser, vice president of sales and marketing. ”With our fall season approaching, we got aggressive with pricing. We had half the dealers there that we normally have, but this is the most orders that we’ve done at our annual show in five years.”

With the production ramp-up, Emahiser said, Carriage, which has been assembling fifth-wheels and travel trailers for all but three weeks this year, will have back orders into October.

”We’ve been fortunate that we’ve had a steady production rate through the period, but our levels are down by more than half from what they were a year ago,” Emahiser said. ”Financing is still a very big concern — wholesale and retail. But our buyer is a little more cash-oriented than some of the other buyers out there.

”And the dealers who came to the open house seemed to be ones who had floorplanning lined up and they could spend money. If they didn’t have it, they didn’t come, which was fine.”

Carriage introduced one new floorplan — a 37-foot front bathroom suite in the Carri-Lite fifth-wheel — one of nine Carri-Lite floorplans with MSRPs starting at $95,000.

The floorplan went over well, particularly with the women who were at the show. ”Men always buy the RVs that their wives allow them to buy,” Emahiser said. ”The women at the show were pretty excited about this floorplan.”

The company also added the Big Foot leveling system standard at no cost to the Carri-Lite and Cameo fifth-wheel series — an option that usually retails for about $4,000. With the push of two buttons, Big Foot lifts the unit off the pickup bed and automatically levels it.

Carriage manufactures Royals International, Carri-Lite and Camio fifth-wheels along with Domani fifth-wheels and travel trailers.