Brian and Dan Shea, the brothers who run Gulf Stream Coach Inc. of Nappanee, Ind., are confident the RV market will improve during the second half of this year, compared with the first half.

The brothers expressed their views during Gulf Stream’s dealer “open house” that began on May 16. Originally, the open house, at which Gulf Stream introduced its model year 2002 units, was scheduled to end on May 24, but they decided to extend the open house until mid-June.

The Gulf Stream dealer open house is taking place at the company’s recreational/meeting facility located near its production plants in the northern Indiana village of Nappanee.

As of May 22, about 60 Gulf Stream motorhome dealers and 60 to 70 towable dealers attended the open house, said Brian Shea, president of the Motorhome Division, and Dan Shea, president of the Towables Division.

The Shea brothers believe retail sales will gather strength during the summer so Gulf Stream’s gas Class A and Class C motorhome plant in Goshen, Ind., will increase output to nine units a day, from eight, Brian Shea said.

Another goal is to increase diesel motorhome production in Nappanee to four units a day by August, compared with the two-to-three units a day now, he added.

Gulf Stream also planned to hire 50 to 75 more employees to build more towables during the second half of this year, Dan Shea said. The company has the capacity to increase towables output 35% if necessary, he added.

During 2000, Gulf Stream was the No. 11 producer of Class A motorhomes, with a 2.4% retail market share, and the No. 5 builder of Class C motorhomes, with an 8.8% market share, according in independent market research firm Statistical Surveys Inc.

Meanwhile, Gulf Stream was the No. 10 producer of travel trailers last year with a 2.3% market share and the No. 10 builder of fifth-wheels with a 2.4% market share, Statistical Surveys reported.

During the first two months of this year, Gulf Stream was No. 12 in Class A’s with a 1.9% market share and it remained No. 5 in Class C’s with a 7.7% market share.

In towables during the first two months of this year, Gulf Stream moved up to No. 10 in travel trailers with a 2% market share and it was No. 11 in fifth-wheels with a 2.3% market share.