Jan 30, 2012

RV Industry Partners Roll Out Consumer Promo

RV Trader, Jayco, RV America Insurance and the Passport 66 RV Club Promote RV Giveaway

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Jayco White Hawk trailer

Four RV industry players have banded together to sponsor and launch a national promotion that allows RV consumers the opportunity to win a 2012 Jayco White Hawk ultralight travel trailer. According to a press release, the sponsors include Jayco Inc., RV Trader, RV America Insurance and the Passport 66 RV Club.

“We are excited to participate in this unique marketing consortium as a creative way to not only introduce consumers to the White Hawk, our newest line of ultralight trailers, but also the complementary products and services offered by our other partners,” said Sid Johnson, director of marketing for Jayco, a Middlebury, Ind.-based manufacturer.

“While each partner plays a variety of roles within the RV marketplace, each one serves the needs of RVers on a nationwide basis” noted Tim Custer, general manager of RV Trader, a leading RV classifieds site. “Because each business is unique, yet influential in the industry, this will allow us to dramatically impact the reach of this promotion among RV consumers.”

In addition to the 2012 Jayco White Hawk Grand Prize, there will be weekly prizes awarded for one-year memberships to the Passport 66 RV Club, a national travel club for RVers provided by the Route 66 RV Network.

“The Passport 66 RV Club is a paid membership discount club that offers its members the opportunity to enjoy discounts on campground rates, parts/accessories, golfing, satellite services, RV washes, rental cars and more,” said Dave Francis, program manager for Passport 66.”

“The ‘Win a White Hawk’ promotion is the first time we have entered into a co-sponsorship effort of this type,” added Steve Freedman, president of RV America Insurance. “We’ve really enjoyed working with this group to not only create a promotion that will appeal to RVers, but also that delivers mutual value to all of the partner sponsors involved.”

To register for the drawing, RV consumers and enthusiasts can visit www.WinAWhiteHawk.com between Jan. 30 and June 15.
Trader Online Web Developer

Jan 26, 2012

Looking to Save on Money? Go RVing!

Consumers looking to save on vacation travel should go RVing, according to preliminary data from updated vacation cost comparison research by PKF Consulting. Commissioned by RVIA, the study shows that RV trips are the least costly.

PKF, an international travel and tourism consulting company, found that RVing is 28% to 59% less expensive than other types of vacations for a family of four. For an “empty-nester” couple traveling by RV, savings were 15% to 45%.

Even after taking certain factors into account, such as RV ownership costs and fuel prices, the study reveals that RV vacations offer more savings than those trips taken using a car or airline, and vacationing in a hotel or rental house or condo.

PKF analyzed vacation costs for two sets of traveling parties — a family of four, including two adults and two children; and a party of two adults. PKF calculated the costs for these hypothetical travelers taking seven types of vacations to popular destinations, including: Branson, MO; Cape Cod, MA; the Grand Canyon; Corpus Christi, TX; Orlando, FL; Lancaster, PA; Napa, CA; and Traverse City, MI.

The study analyzed popular RV types, including folding camping trailers, lightweight travel trailers, and compact motorhomes. Also studied were costs associated with an RV rental vacation, and a comparison of travel in a Type A motorhome against an upscale/luxury vacation. Vacation durations were 3, 7 and 14 days, and were directly related to the round-trip distances in highway miles between city-pairs.

PKF also analyzed how theoretical increases in fuel prices could affect vacation travel costs, and found that fuel prices would have to more than double for RV vacations to lose its economic advantage over other forms of travel.

Original source: http://www.rvia.org/?ESID=preleases&PRID=374&SR=1

Trader Online Web Developer

Jan 10, 2012

Great West Vans 2012 Sprinter Legend ex

The All-New 2012 Sprinter Legend ex has many new features not found on any other Class B motor home.  The standard Diesel Hydronic Heating and Hot Water System is sure to draw attention.  This is very quiet, very efficient and with the new thermostat, it’s easy to set.  Diesel consumption is less than 0.10 gallons per hour at peak output.  The new 15000 BTU air conditioner, 3.6 KW generator and 6.0 cu.ft double door, 3 way, auto-switching fridge make the entire experience that much more enjoyable. The 200 watt inverter and 4, 6 volt AGM batteries provide a huge amount of power anywhere, any time.

The Sprinter Legend ex is built on the extended Mercedes-Benz chassis providing an additional 16” length.  This allows for an 84” bed in twin-bed or Tri-fold Sofa floor plans. Alternatively, there is 55 cu.ft of additional cargo space and a full 12” of open clearance under the Tri-Fold sofa.

New options include solar panels, new attached macerator pump set-up, Wi-Fi and Cell phone boosters and new Alpine audio and navigation configurations.  

Standard high quality features also include solid wood cabinetry, LED cabin lights, motion sensing LED outside lights, solid high impact tile floor, drinking water filter with separate faucet and programmable coffee maker. The simple but flexible bathroom creates a perfect changing area with privacy allowing others access to the front or rear parts of the cabin.  The exclusive sliding side screen keeps the bugs out but lets the air flow.

Developed entirely with customer participation, there are 4 development models have been in service throughout North America for the last 8 months with fantastic feedback. All of Great West Vans development is conducted with experienced RV’ers totally involved keeping the process the focused. A different Class B from a company with a different attitude.

Trader Online Web Developer

Advanced Thinking in Class B Motor Homes

Last year was all about development and listening to you, our customers.  We were very fortunate to receive the advice and willingness to participate from so many customers that helped us move forward in so ways.  We could not have imagined the results we have achieved without this help and we will continue to owe our appreciation to those involved.

For a manufacturer, there is nothing like being challenged in so many ways and being able to exchange a wide range of ideas to achieve something entirely different from what we were doing the year before.  Because of this, we fully intend to continue this process and continue to explore new ideas, materials and features to provide the very best motor homes we possibly can. Being one of the smaller manufacturers gives us a distinct advantage in being able to make decisions quickly and at least try new ideas that come to us from all directions.

Starting at the Florida RV Super Show, we are offing 3 all-new Sprinter Legend motor homes with new materials and features.  At the top of the line is the 2012 Sprinter Legend ex which has as standard, the Espar Diesel Hydronic heating and hot water system.  This system requires less space, is very quiet and provides endless hot water. The diesel is provided directly from the Sprinter’s fuel tank and in 6 months of customer testing, has shown to have little to no impact on fuel economy because it is expected to use 0.90 gallons per hour at peak output but it will not need to run for an hour continuously even if the hot water is running all the time. 

Functionality has been a huge factor in the development process.  The Sprinter Legend and Legend e have 5.0 cu.ft. single door fridges which are 3 way, auto switching making it simple to use continuously.  The Legend ex has a 6.0 cu.ft double door fridge which is also 3 way auto switching.  You should always be able to carry a gallon of milk in the fridge.  They are also off the floor so you don’t have to bend down to pull something out. This is a small point but important.

Last year we also received many calls from customers asking about the length of the bed. With the extra 16” in the length of the Sprinter Legend e and Legend ex, we can offer a bed length of 84 inches or an additional 55 cu.ft of cargo space. Under the powered Tri-Fold Sofa there is over 12” of clearance right through the cabin, great additional storage.

We will soon be starting to build the first 2012 “Activa”.  This all-new model will be built on the shorter Mercedes-Benz 3500 Sprinter chassis and will contain some really neat features.  Designed for people who have a length restriction where they live or have more of a travelling desire as opposed to planning to camp, this model will offer flexibility for a wide audience. Diesel Hydronic Heating will be standard and a new efficient way to utilize the available space.  The counter will be where it belongs on the camping side of the model and the fridge and microwave will not be on the floor where it makes functionality not so functional. We will be using the 3500 chassis from Mercedes with dual rear wheels because we believe that single rear wheels on a Sprinter does not provide the stability in cross winds and poor road conditions that most RV’ers would expect.  The ride is also better and the towing capacity will be 7500 lb’s.

The addition of the Activa will allow us to offer 4 all-new models using the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis.  Great fuel economy, the cleanest diesel vehicles on the planet and the safest with the very best stability control systems available today.  We try really hard to take forward the Mercedes-Benz customer service philosophy and provide the Mercedes experience.  In regard to the pricing, because we know you will want to know, the answer is, less that you would expect.  Take us for a test drive, you will see the difference. 
Trader Online Web Developer

A Different Approach

At the 2010 Louisville RV Trade Show, one of our dealers asked me, “Why would anyone buy our motor homes”?  This was not to say that we didn’t have great motor homes but this was a question that needed to be answered.  We had made small steps in improving the Sprinter Legend model but in 2011, we made a huge leap forward with our secret weapon, customers!

We developed what has become the Great West Vans Customer Development Program where customers participate in every step of the  build process of  new models and where we are making ‘on the fly’ improvements, we involve current customers to obtain their feedback and advice. We have thrown out the idea of making new model introductions in any particular way such as model year changes in favor of constant improvement.  Great ideas don’t come just on a yearly basis.

In February of 2011, we started a conversation with a customer who needed more space to carry two very high-tech bicycles in a Sprinter Class B motor home.  No other manufacturer wanted to discuss this need but we are always willing to spend the time and hopefully listen. This led to us to consider every aspect of the Sprinter Legend with an experienced RV owner and we discovered many new possibilities, some of which had never been tried in a Class B before.

Imagine, opening your doors to customers and taking their problems, suggestions and ideas as a challenge, turning a something most would avoid and turning it in to an opportunity.  Most would think this would drive a person crazy, maybe, but the benefits from an open attitude far out way the cost and the craziness. 

Now we have 3 Sprinter Legend models, the Sprinter Legend with many new upgrades and new options, the Sprinter Legend e built on the extended Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and the Sprinter Legend ex which now has for the first time in a Class B motor home, a Diesel Hydronic heating and hot water system.  We also found a way to up the air conditioner to 15000 btu’s and the generator to 3.6 kw which is quieter and much more able to handle the air conditioner. These are features only available on a Great West Vans model.

This coming summer will be interesting as we believe we collectively received 30 phone calls last year in a four week period from people in southern locations who asked one question, how big is your air conditioner?  Now we can tell the story that it’s bigger at 15000 btu’s (which sounds big), quieter (which it is), more efficient and comes in a motor home that has exclusive Hydronic heating and a big generator.  We all know the sales process is about starting a conversation and engaging the buyers in building value and removing the objections. The customers who have participated in the development last year have given us the opportunity to build a motor home that addresses the common concerns from both those new to Class B motor homes and those with years of experience. So we are really looking forward to 2012.

We will soon be starting to build the first 2012 “Activa”.  This all-new model will be built on the shorter Mercedes-Benz 3500 Sprinter chassis and will contain some really neat features.  Designed for people who have a length restriction where they live or have more of a travelling desire as opposed to planning to camp, this model will offer flexibility for a wide audience. Diesel Hydronic Heating will be standard and a new efficient way to utilize the available space.  The counter will be where it belongs on the camping side of the model and the fridge and microwave will not be on the floor where it makes functionality not so functional.

For the last year we have also responded to Internet enquiries in 4 to 8 hours, started a conversation with a prospect and pushed those that were ready over to a dealer to close. Over 30% of our sales in 2011 came from retail customers who we had passed on to dealers, much higher than expected but it has shown that the Class B buyer is looking for more service, more attention, better materials, fit and finish and most importantly, someone who is willing to listen. In this regard we hope that other manufacturers keep doing things the same old way, responding to customers in 3 to 4 weeks or never, we like it.  The other interesting thing is that we have sold every unit we have produced, before it was produced and shipped for the last 16 months. 

We will be looking at representation in a number of locations this year.  Our focus is on the retail customer, to help make our dealers more successful.  This might be a different approach, but it works and we very much enjoy talking to customers.
Trader Online Web Developer