The introduction of model year 2002 versions of the Dutchmen Sport and Four Winds Express conventional and hybrid travel trailers and fifth-wheels will be among the highlights of the Dutchmen/Four Winds dealer meeting and open house in Elkhart, Ind., Aug. 22-24.

The event will take place at the Four Winds International Corp. plant at 701 County Road 15 on the east side of Elkhart. Plant tours will also be offered.

Four Winds and Goshen, Ind.-based Dutchmen both are subsidiaries of Thor Industries Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio.

Four Winds builds motorhomes, including those with the Dutchmen brand name, while Dutchmen produces towables, including those with the Four Winds brand, said Steve Paul, Dutchmen’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Otherwise, the two companies operate independently and have separate dealer organizations, Paul added.

“This is an opportunity to see some of the most dramatic product changes in our company’s history,” Paul said about the new Dutchmen towables. “We went after eye appeal big time. We wanted to ‘Wow’ people when they walked into them.”

The Sport and Express are entry-level “stick & tin” units that can come as conventional or hybrid travel trailers or fifth-wheels, Paul said. They come in 15 floorplans with lengths ranging from 17 to 31 feet and suggested retail prices range from $9,000 to $18,300.

“Being the price and value leader is the key to Dutchmen’s strategy,” Paul said.

Meanwhile, model year 2002 versions of the Dutchmen Lite and Four Winds Lite mid-profile series of travel trailers and fifth-wheels also will be shown next week. They include new aerodynamic front caps and they have aluminum frame/fiberglass construction available as an option for 2002. Previously, the Lite series was available only in stick & tin.

Gross vehicle weight ratings (gvwr) range from 7,500 to 8,500 pounds for the Lite series and base retail prices range from $9,900 to $17,000 for stick & tin, with an extra $1,125 to $1,900 for fiberglass skin models.