During the week of the Elkhart County RV Open House, Skyline Corp. will display four park model RVs at its headquarters in Elkhart, Ind.
Current and prospective dealers will be able to tour the Shore Park and Vacation Villa units – two will be CSA models and two will be ANSI models – as well as enjoy catered lunches, said Richard Florea, who was named Skyline’s president and CEO in January.
Founded in 1951 in Elkhart, Skyline Corp. is one of the nation’s largest factory-built and modular housing manufacturers. Skyline added an RV division in 1960 and, while the division was sold last year, continues to build park model RVs at six of its nine manufacturing facilities nationwide.
“Since we have left the RV space and focused more on our homes and park model business, our park model market share has grown by over 30% year-over-year,” said Florea. “We are a home builder first and foremost and a park model is really your home away from home. We build our park models with the same materials that we build our homes with. Other than the water heater and the furnace, it’s all the same materials like the drywall and hardwoods.”
For the U.S. market, National Product Manager Kevin Garthus said Skyline has two main lines: Shore Park, which has 40 to 50 floorplans with further variations including loft or nonloft; and Stone Harbor, a price point product with eight floorplans. In terms of Canadian products, Skyline has 15 to 20 12-foot-wide models and seven 14-foot-wide models. A 14-foot-wide Cabin Series park model is built for both American and Canadian specifications which Garthus said has been popular for consumers and park owners in campground settings.
Florea said Skyline is “very bullish” on park models, in large part because of Baby Boomers fueling demand but also due to Skyline’s production qualities and capabilities.
“I just think the fact that our park models being built to home specifications provides additional value to the buyer. So we think we’re going to capture more market share because of the value we bring to that product,” Florea explained.
“The big thing that differentiates us from park model builders, especially park model builders in Elkhart, is our park models are built in a housing plant while theirs are built in an RV plant,” said Robert Davis, vice president of operations, adding that only recently park model manufacturing was added at the Arkansas City, Kan., plant.
“It’s a product that fits very well down our production line with our existing products, using many of the same materials,” Davis explained. “It’s not a huge capital outlay for us to add a park model product line to our existing facilities. It’s an easy addition for us.”
For Open House, park model units manufactured at the Leola, Pa., and Lancaster, Wis., plants will be on display at the company’s longtime headquarters, located at 2520 By-Pass Road, east of Nappanee Street (County Road 19) in Elkhart.
Other Skyline Corp. manufacturing facilities producing park model RVs include: Ocala, Fla.; McMinnville, Ore.; San Jacinto, Calif.; and, most recently, Arkansas City.