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In the wake of last week’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., several manufacturers are reporting strong showings during the three-day, trade-only event.
Thor Industries Inc., based in Jackson Center, Ohio, said its subsidiaries received $238 million in orders while adding over 400 dealers.
“Additional orders are expected to be received this week and we anticipate that our final order input will be the second highest ever,” said Wade F. B. Thompson, Thor chairman, noting last year $292 million in orders were received. “These results are very gratifying in view of the tight RV market.”
Nappanee, Ind.-based Gulf Stream Coach Inc. reported that its motorhome division had increased production by 22% and added 35 workers as a result of favorable dealer response.
“A variety of new and innovative products have driven our sales increases,” said Brian Shea, president of Gulf Stream’s motorhome division. “Specifically, super-towing International-based chassis, as well as new full wall-slide models in every motorhome category captured the dealers interest for creating sales in an improving retail market.”
Other post-show comments included:
• Pilgrim International Inc., Middlebury, Ind., which showed 13 units at the Louisville Show including 12 with its new laminated Tuff Gloss sidewalls, reported the company received orders for more than 2,000 units. “We anticipated having a strong show,” said Jerry Sell, vice president of sales and marketing. “The dealer response was overwhelming.”
• Chris Braun, executive vice president of the RV Group for Riverside, Calif.-based Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., termed the show a “tremendous success,” adding, “Our folding trailer and travel trailer divisions met their sales goals, while our travel trailer division added 45 new dealer distribution points, and our motorhome orders were up over 37% from last year.”
• “We had a great show,” said Don Emahiser, vice president of sales and marketing at Carriage Inc., Millersburg, Ind. “Our orders exceeded last year and our new dealers exceeded last year….Unlike years in the past where we had to write orders at Louisville to take care of production in January and February, we didn’t have to do that this year. Our backlogs are in great position; we’re out to 10 weeks.”
• Scott Jacobson, national sales manager for Four Winds International Corp., Elkhart, Ind., reported dealers responded well to changes in the company’s lineup. “It was an excellent way for our existing dealers to preview the new changes in the Class A and Class C brands for the new model year,” he said. “Plus, many prospective dealers were eager to take on our product lines.”
• Jeff Hanemaayer, chairman of Class B builder Home & Park Motohomes, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, said even though attendance at the show was down from last year and his booth location was poor, “we had a surprisingly large amount of traffic. Dealers were pursuing us more than in the past when our sales people pounded the pavement and did the initiating.”
• Dean Rumpel, vice president of Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, called Louisville “probably one of the better shows we have had in the past four or five years.”