Affordability will be one of several key trends that attendees will notice starting Tuesday (Nov. 28) morning at the 44th Annual RV Trade Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, Ky.
The show officially kicks off at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday with the 2007 Outlook Breakfast in the South Wing Lobby Mezzanine Level Ballroom with reports from Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Chairman Carl Pfalzgraf, RVIA President Richard Coon and Go RVing co-chairmen Tom Stinnett and Don Walter.
Unofficially, the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) will get things underway at 5 p.m. today with a reception at the Executive West Hotel for its 2006 Quality Circle Award recipients: Home & Park, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada; Monaco Coach Corp., Coburg, Ore.; Tiffin Motor Homes Inc. Red Bay, Ala.; and Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa.
Show space sold out as 82 manufacturers and 254 suppliers will occupy nearly 750,000 square feet of booth space, although the KEC show floor is going to be a little tight again as the state is completing a $52 mill redo of the sprawling convention complex.
While RVIA allocated a record 811,000 square feet to manufacturers and suppliers last year as the new South Wing opened, some 176,000 square feet has been taken out of play this year as the KEC’s East Wing is being remodeled. And these space limitations are being felt by a number of exhibitors, especially those that significantly cut the number of units they are displaying at Louisville this time around.
Although RVIA at times has considered alternate sites, the RVIA board recently approved a contract to keep the annual show the week after Thanksgiving at the KEC through 2010.
The drive to lower price points extends from Newmar Inc., Nappanee, Ind., which has introduced the entry-level Bay Star and mid-priced Kountry Star Class A motorhomes for 2007, to Country Coach Inc., which has introduced the new Tribute as the most affordable coach in its diesel pusher lineup. Show attendees will also see more full-wall slideouts by Newmar, Monaco, Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., and Mandalay Luxury Division.
The continued proliferation of towable and motorized sport utility RVs (SURVs) in the Fleetwood, Newmar, Jayco, Forest River, Four Winds, Airstream, Keystone, Dutchmen, Gulf Stream, Weekend Warrior, Carriage, K-Z and Safari brands, among others, also will be apparent at this year’s Louisville show.
Curiously, while motorized RV sales dipped by double-digits this year, motorhome manufacturers – backed by aggressive chassis makers – clearly maintained their edge in R&D for 2007. ?For example, Damon Corp. is offering the first Class A gas-powered, front-engine Outlaw toy hauler. And Forest River Inc.’s Georgetown and Monaco’s Monaco LaPalma/Holiday Rambler Vacationer Class A’s will features floorplans on the new Workhorse UFO chassis that allows consumers to pick from either rear-mounted gas or diesel engines.
At the same time, Tiffin for 2007 has expanded the Freightliner front-engine diesel (FRED) platform into the previously all-gas Allegro line and Monaco has added FRED sport utility floorplans to its Safari Simba Class A.
Also in Louisville, Freightliner is expected to reintroduce the high-line Freightliner Powerliner III Class A platform that has been absent from the market for several years.