Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. is venturing out of its established product comfort zone with a new “highline” fifth-wheel the firm plans to introduce at the 42nd National RV Trade Show, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Louisville, Ky.
“This is a whole new arena for Keystone,” reports Jeff Rank, vice president of the Thor company’s Montana division, noting that the new fifth-wheel brand was still unnamed. “It’s an exciting project. Everybody at Keystone is energized. The goal is to be in production in late November and have a prototype at the Louisville Show.
“Our target will be a step down from the very top-end of the marketplace. We’ll be building coaches for the full-time RVer with four-season capabilities and features like upgraded construction and insulation. We are going to make the coach as residential as possible.”
Rank says Keystone’s successful track record in the more competitive, price-driven arenas is precisely the reason for taking aim at the upper end of the market.
“Everything is in place,” he said. “We already have the R&D, purchasing power, marketing and production efficiencies. We will just apply our manufacturing process to a different segment, still offering our customers more for the money.”
As with other products, he added, Keystone will treat the new fifth-wheel line as an independent business operating with separate management, a new production team and a dedicated manufacturing facility. “We’re already in the process of building a facility, just west of our corporate offices,” he said. “We should be done by early-to-mid-October.”
Rank maintained that the highline move represents a natural progression for the company. “This is an area that we haven’t taken advantage of in the past,” he said. “One of the things that we hear from customers, and from dealers, is that we don’t have any product available for people who want to go to that next level.”
The new fifth-wheel units will be larger than other Keystone products, featuring floorplans with three and four slides in the 34- to 38-foot range. “The product will emphasize ease of use and livability,” Rank noted. “Basically, we want to make the whole RVing experience more convenient and trouble-free.”