Tiffin Celebrates Completion Of 50,000th Coach
Tiffin Motorhomes, C1717, reached a major production milestone on February 24, 2005, when the 50,000th Tiffin motorhome rolled off the line. More than 300 suppliers, customers, and employees cheered as the 2005 Allegro Bus was presented. To mark the occasion, Alabama Governor Bob Riley proclaimed February 24 as “Tiffin Motorhomes Day” in the state.
The family-owned corporation, based in Red Bay, Alabama, has come a long way since 1972 when Bob Tiffin built his first motorhome in a cotton warehouse. At that time Mr. Tiffin set a typically modest goal of two coaches a day.
Early Tiffin motorhomes were as unassuming as Mr. Tiffin’s production goal. The first model was 21 feet long; the second was four feet longer. They were powered by Chevrolet 350 or Dodge 318 gasoline engines. “Fancy frills, yes, but we focus on livability,” promised the first sales brochure.
“Our customer demand has changed drastically,” said Mr. Tiffin, now president and CEO of the corporation he founded. “In 1972 most of our customers were World War II and Korean War veterans who were retiring. Our coaches were not very complicated. We had very few options “” radio, TV antenna, air conditioning, a generator, on par with automobiles. There was not too much challenge to keeping them running.”
In contrast, coach number 50,000 is a 40-foot quad-slideout model pushed by a Cummins 400-horsepower diesel engine. Standard equipment includes full-body paint, a 7.5-kilowatt generator, two 15,000-Btu roof air-conditioning units with heat pump, fully automatic leveling jacks, a designer interior, an automatic satellite dish, a color backup camera and monitor, polished solid-surface kitchen countertops, a microwave-convection oven, and a skylight in the shower. Options include a 32-inch LCD TV; a drop-in oven; a dishwasher; a washer-dryer; and oak, maple, walnut, or cherry cabinetry.
The milestone coach was to be shipped to Lazydays RV Super Center in Seffner, Florida, to be sold.
For more information about Tiffin motorhomes, call (256) 356-8661 or visit www.tiffinmotorhomes.com.
Robbie Knievel Wows At Beaudry RV
On November 6, 2004, Robbie Knievel, son of renowned daredevil Evel Knievel, successfully completed his “Desert Death Jump,” clearing 15 RVs and three pickup trucks at the Beaudry RV, C902, facility in Tucson, Arizona.
More than 12,000 spectators looked on as Mr. Knievel, 42, soared 187 feet through the air and landed safely. Despite periods of light rain, Mr. Knievel was happy with the jump. “Turned out to be an excellent afternoon,” he said.
The “Desert Death Jump” was part of Beaudry RV’s Monster Toy Show and Fall Rider’s Bike Fest. The three-day event featured music, food, festivities, and more than 70 vendors.
Mr. Knievel has made more than 250 jumps, including one across the Grand Canyon and another over an oncoming train. The jump at Beaudry RV was filmed for Mr. Knievel’s own reality TV series, “Knievel’s Wild Ride,” which is expected to air on A&E Television in April 2005.
RVIA Names Next President
Richard A. Coon, a 30-year industry veteran with a long history of involvement in association leadership positions, has been chosen by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) to become its new president beginning on February 1, 2006. The announcement was made at the RVIA Board of Directors meeting in Fountain Hills, Arizona, on March 1. The board unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Presidential Search Committee, which has been active for more than a year.
Mr. Coon, director of RV business for Cummins Power Generation, will succeed David J. Humphreys, who has served as the association’s president since 1979 and will retire on his 70th birthday, January 30, 2006. Mr. Coon will begin working alongside Mr. Humphreys at RVIA’s Reston, Virginia, headquarters on June 1. Currently he is serving as first vice chairman of the board.
A graduate of Brigham Young University, Mr. Coon began his career in 1970 with Ford Motor Company, where he became the regional sales manager for the industrial engine and turbine division. After four years with Ford, he joined Onan Corporation and moved his way up to positions that included consumer product sales manager, director of product management, and distributor development manager. In 1980 he was promoted to general manager of Onan Worldwide Central Parts and Distribution. He became director of sales and marketing for Onan products engine division in 1987 and has served as director of RV business for Cummins Power Generation since 1989.
Mr. Coon has been a member of the RVIA Board of Directors since 2000. In addition to his service as first vice chairman, he also has held the offices of second vice chairman and treasurer. He has been chairman of the Awards Committee and Audit Committee and has been a member of the RV Service Training Council, Public & Legislative Affairs Committee, Public Relations Committee, and Supplier Committee. He currently is chairing RVIA’s 2005 Strategic Planning Committee.
Mr. Humphreys was named president of RVIA in 1979 following 10 years of service as RVIA’s outside legal counsel. He is highly regarded in the association community and in Washington, D.C., political circles and has received the highest awards bestowed by three different industries “” the RV, travel and tourism, and recreation industries.
RVIA is the national association that represents more than 550 manufacturers and component suppliers that produce approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.
RV Dealer, Manufacturer Establish Tsunami Relief Program
Following the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004, Buddy Gregg Motor Homes, C3326, and Forest River Inc., C7781, the company that manufactures the Tsunami diesel-pusher motorhome, established a relief effort for those affected by the disaster.
Donnie Carter, general sales manager of Buddy Gregg Motor Homes’ Lakeland, Florida, dealership, said that he was preparing to set up for the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, which took place the second week of January, when news of the tsunami broke. While watching the television coverage of the disaster, he became concerned that show-goers might have a negative reaction to the Tsunami motorhome, which was first offered by Forest River in the 2002 model year. He called dealership owner Buddy Gregg. “We discussed it back and forth and tried to come up with a way to offset any negativity,” Mr. Carter said.
Mr. Gregg then contacted John Cunningham, general manager of Forest River’s diesel motorhome division, with a plan to donate a portion of each Tsunami sale to the American Red Cross tsunami relief fund. “I told John about Donnie’s concern with the name of the coach and said, ‘Let’s turn this negative into a positive,'” Mr. Gregg said. “The coach has the name and that wasn’t going to change, so we might as well take advantage of it and send some of the profits to the people who really need the money as a result of the tsunami.”
The program, which began in January and included Buddy Gregg Motor Homes’ dealerships in Florida, Tennessee, and Texas, was to continue through FMCA’s 73rd International Convention in Perry, Georgia, March 21 through 24. For each Tsunami motorhome sold by Buddy Gregg Motor Homes, both the dealer and Forest River planned to contribute a portion of the sale to the Red Cross in the name of the customer.
RV/MH Hall Of Fame Class Announced For 2005
The RV/MH Heritage Foundation, based in Elkhart, Indiana, recently announced its class of 2005 for the RV/MH Hall of Fame. Those elected will be inducted at a banquet and ceremony in Elkhart on August 1, 2005. They include the following individuals:
Rick Horsey, an RV retailer from Parkview RV Center, C3431, Smyrna, Delaware. Mr. Horsey is a longtime Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) board member and served as its chairman in 1997-98. He has served as chairman of the RVDA Education Foundation for six years and on the RVDA-RVIA Service Technician Certification Board and the RV Service Training Council for 10 years. He is a founding member of the Go RVing Committee on Excellence.
Gary LaBella, vice president of public relations for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), Reston, Virginia. Mr. LaBella has been a dynamic leader and RV industry spokesman for more than 27 years. He has created successful marketing programs to promote RVing and bring together the RV industry. He is responsible for the Go RVing campaign and oversees all RVIA public relations endeavors.
Donald Pletcher, former owner of Damon Corporation, C4690, Elkhart, Indiana. Mr. Pletcher is a longtime leader in the industry as a supplier and RV manufacturer. He served on RVIA’s board of directors and as a member of its executive committee. He received the Distinguished Service to RV Industry Award in 1993 and the National Legislative Award in 1999.
B.J. Thompson, president of B.J. Thompson Associates Inc., Mishawaka, Indiana. Mr. Thompson is a member of RVIA’s board of directors and has served for 18 years as its Public Relations Committee chairman. He is a founding member of the association’s highly successful Go RVing Coalition and received the RVIA National Service Award in 1986. He has developed and led numerous national RV promotional campaigns during his 20 years as an RVIA member.
The RV/MH Heritage Foundation, founded in 1972, has honored more than 250 leaders from the RV and manufactured housing industries with induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame also includes a public museum of industry products dating back to 1913 and the world’s largest collection of industry-related literature.
Texas State Parks Implement Wi-Fi Pilot Program
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and TengoInternet, C10407, a wireless Internet service provider for the campground industry, have begun a pilot program to determine visitor interest in Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) Internet service within the Texas state parks system. Wi-Fi service will be made available at five Texas state parks: Choke Canyon State Park (Calliham) near Three Rivers; Blanco State Park near Blanco; Balmorhea State Park near Toyahvale; Goose Island State Park near Rockport; and Ray Roberts Lake State Park (Isle du Bois) near Pilot Point.
Wi-Fi allows computer users to share a high-speed Internet connection without the cumbersome wires or delays caused by dial-up access. The wireless service will allow park guests to access the Internet to gain park information, send e-mail, or just surf the Web, without having to plug cables into a network.
The TengoInternet service became available for visitors in the pilot parks on January 1, 2005. During the promotional period, the service was offered for free. But beginning on April 1, park visitors wishing to use the service will be charged $5 per day or $10 for a week. Since the parks also will be part of the TengoZone network, subscribers to any of the TengoRoaming plans will have service available at the Texas parks.
For more information about TengoInternet’s Wireless service, call (512) 750-4979 or visit www.tengointernet.com. For more information about Texas State Parks, phone (800) 792-1112 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us.
Woodall’s Marks 70th Year As Camping Industry Publisher
Woodall Publications Corporation, C1012, which produces camping and RV-related directories, special-interest books, magazines, and online publications, is celebrating its 70th year of service to the camping industry in 2005.
Woodall’s legacy began in 1935 when Karl Hale Dixon founded Dixon Publishing and began work on Trailer Trave magazine; the first issue appeared in January 1936. Mr. Dixon’s vision was to compile a publication that appealed to the adventuresome spirit of those who explored North America in RVs, whether they were state-of-the-art models or more affordable homemade versions. He eventually sold the company to R.A. Woodall, after whom the current company is named.
Woodall’s currently publishes 10 campground directories, including Woodall’s North American Campground Directory; five regional publications; Campground Management, a monthly trade publication; Woodall’s Buyer’s Guide; and multiple special-interest books. Woodall’s Internet services include its Web site, www.wooodalls.com, and a variety of online publications.
Special events planned to celebrate the 70th anniversary include a special One-Directory-A-Day drawing for a North American Campground Directory at the company’s Web site; the launch of a new Internet-based RV and camping club at www.woodallsdiamondclub.com; and other drawings and activities at RV consumer shows throughout the year.
Four Winds Expands Fun Mover Line With Kodiak Chassis
Four Winds International, C7457, a division of Thor Industries based in Elkhart, Indiana, has added to its Fun Mover type C motorhome lineup by introducing two floor plans built on the heavy-duty Chevrolet C5500 Kodiak chassis.
The 33C (33-foot) and 34C (34-foot) Fun Mover floor plans are available with a standard 8.1-liter Vortec gas engine or an optional 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine with exhaust brake and diesel generator. Each includes 84 inches of interior ceiling height as well as a 96-inch-by-120-inch rear cargo area that features a standard diamond-plate non-skid surface, white laminate overhead cabinets, and the Pro-Trak tie-down system. Two standard exterior graphics packages are available, and both models have a factory-installed 10,000-pound towing hitch.
The cargo area is separated from the living area with a sealed door for added safety and comfort. The living area features a fully equipped galley, a bathroom, and several sleeping spaces. Two standard and three optional Sport Package interiors are offered. Other interior features include residential-style linoleum, day-night shades, a microwave-convection oven with a gas range top, a double-door refrigerator, and diamond-plate interior storage.
The Sports Package interior options feature black-and-white linoleum, white laminate cabinetry, and a carbon-fiber dash insert with a drink tray. Other options include an LCD flat-screen television, a satellite dish, a DVD player, a visor-mounted backup camera, exterior spotlights, cargo roll-over sofas, and an observation deck (available on some models).
For more information, contact Four Winds at (574) 266-1111 or visit www.fourwinds-rv.com.