Liberty Coach Rallies For A Cause
Liberty Coach of Florida, C9408, welcomed 140 guests for the company’s annual “Open House” event at its dealership in Stuart, Florida, February 2 through 5, 2006. Coach owners who attended camped in their luxury coaches at the eight-acre facility for four nights where they enjoyed meals, seminars, and entertainment.
This year’s rally raised money for the American Heart Association and Alzheimer’s research. For every coach sold during the event, Liberty Coach donated money to the Fischer Center for Alzheimer’s Research. These donations were matched by Prevost Car Inc., C632, of Quebec, Canada.
The event began on Thursday with a 1950s-themed sock hop complete with Elvis-style entertainment and vintage autos among the newest luxury Liberty Coach models placed throughout the 16,000-square-foot indoor showroom.
On Friday the group traveled to The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach for a historic architecture tour led by James Ponce, the resident historian, followed by an afternoon lunch and shopping.
Saturday evening’s Sweetheart Dance theme was red in honor of American Heart Month. The ladies all received Red Dress pins and cookbooks from the American Heart Association, in recognition of the association’s initiative to raise heart disease awareness in women, and red and pink rose arrangements as favors. The Doug Verga Combo provided wonderful big band-era music to complement the sweetheart theme.
On Sunday, after a late-morning motorcycle ride to Palm Beach, the festivities culminated with a Super Bowl XL kick-off party with margaritas and a Mexican fiesta. Guests watched the game in the Liberty Coach showroom as it was broadcast on two jumbo TV screens.
On Monday morning it was on the road again, as owners traveled back to the 17 states represented among the group.
Liberty Coach of Florida, a Prevost factory-authorized service center, is located approximately 45 minutes north of West Palm Beach on Florida’s east coast in Stuart.
Tour Winnebago Industries
From April 1 through November 30 this year, Winnebago Industries Inc., C93, opens its doors for tours of its state-of-the-art motorhome manufacturing facility in Forest City, Iowa, touted as the largest motorhome production facility in the world.
The tours, which are offered twice daily, at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), begin at the Winnebago Industries’ Visitors Center with a 20-minute video that provides visitors with a preview of the manufacturing process. After the video, the Plant Tour bus (constructed on a Winnebago Industries Commercial Vehicle shell) departs for a drive-through tour of the grounds and a walk-in tour of the main production area. From a mezzanine overlooking the production lines, visitors are able to get a bird’s-eye view of the motorhome manufacturing process. Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes.
Nearly 30,000 people stop at the visitors center annually to see the exhibits that detail Winnebago Industries’ 48-year history and explain the various steps in the design and construction of the company’s motorhomes, plus highlight their features and benefits. Visitors also will find one of the first motorhomes built by Winnebago Industries, the classic 1967 Winnebago. In addition, the visitors center houses the Winnebago Industries Museum.
The tour is open to all ages, but small children should be accompanied by an adult. The visitors center is accessible to those with disabilities; however, the factory tour does include two staircases. Reservations are recommended for groups larger than six. For more information, call (641) 585-6936, or write Winnebago Industries’ Visitors Center, P.O. Box 268, Forest City, IA 50436.
Lazydays Donates Motorhome For Use In “Good Morning America” Valentine Breakfast
Lazydays RV Center, C1702, based in Seffner, Florida, donated the use of a Monaco Windsor motorhome for use in ABC’s “Good Morning America” Valentine Breakfast. During the show, celebrity chef Emeril LaGasse and Frederic Morineau, head chef of Florida’s Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, were on hand to surprise Jackie DeVita, the winner of an ABC contest that rewards one deserving individual each year with a Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed prepared by Emeril.
Ms. DeVita, a cancer patient who is undergoing treatment for the disease, was shocked and delighted by the surprise, which included breakfast prepared by Emeril in the Monaco Windsor and an ornate brass double bed fitted with red quilts, pillows, and a big teddy bear. But her family wasn’t; they were in on the surprise after learning about it on Super Bowl Sunday. Since that time, they did their best to keep it a secret while ensuring that friends, family, and well-wishers were on hand Valentine’s Day morning to witness the event.
“The Monaco Windsor was the perfect choice for this event,” said Stewart Schaffer, chief marketing officer at Lazydays. “Its spacious kitchen and salon were just the right size for Emeril and the camera crews. It’s a special motorhome for a very special cause, and we’re honored to have been able to show our support to the DeVita family.”
Newmar Names New President
Newmar Corporation, C4363, based in Nappanee, Indiana, has appointed Matthew Miller as president of the company effective February 27, 2006. Mr. Miller, son of Newmar owner Mahlon Miller, has been involved in various Newmar business activities since 1991.
Mr. Miller replaces Dick Parks, who served as president of the company since October 2001 and will continue to be involved in daily operations with Newmar as its chairman of the board.
Dana Corporation Files For Reorganization
Automotive parts manufacturer Dana Corporation, C7904, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on March 3, 2006. Dana cited the general financial condition of the automotive industry and the company’s inability to renew or expand credit facilities in a timely matter as the reasons it filed.
The filing covers Dana and 40 of its U.S. subsidiaries. The producer of frames, axles, and driveshafts generates about three-quarters of its revenue from the automotive sector. Dana officials note that they intend to use the reorganization process to implement long-term solutions that will position the company for a stable and profitable future. The company has received interim approval to secure $1.45 billion in debtor-in-possession financing to fund normal business operations during the restructuring process.
GlasWeld Opens East Coast Facility
GlasWeld, C7469, a manufacturer and supplier of glass repair equipment based in Bend, Oregon, announced in late February that it has opened a new East Coast office in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to the company, the new office will serve as a training hub for the eastern half of the United States as well as a key location for product development, testing, and sales.
The opening of the new office coincides with the recent transformation of the company’s brand identity, which began with the launch of its new Web site, www.glasweld.com.
GlasWeld will host a free Demonstration Day this spring at its new Raleigh facility, located at 8601 Six Forks Road, Suite 400. For more information, call (800) 321-2597 or (919) 882-2190.
National RV Holdings Names David Humphreys To Board Of Directors
National RV Holdings, Inc., parent company of National RV Inc., C3451, and Country Coach Inc., C2132, announced the appointment of former Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) president David J. Humphreys to its board of directors. He will chair the board’s Nominating/Corporate Governance Committee.
Mr. Humphreys was president of RVIA from 1979 until his retirement in January 2006. Prior to 1979 he served for nearly 10 years as RVIA’s outside legal counsel.
In addition to his service as RVIA president, Mr. Humphreys has been active in the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), the umbrella organization for all segments of the travel and tourism industry. He has been a member of TIA’s board of directors since 1985 and served as its national chairman from 1990 to 1991. He received the travel industry’s highest honor in 1994 when he was inducted into the Hall of Leaders. He also has been a member of the board of directors of the American Highway Users Alliance (formerly Highway Users Federation), whose membership includes representatives of the oil, trucking, automobile, and tire industries.
New Book Details Central America RVing Experience
Full-time motorhomer Jim Jaillet, F271908, recounts his “once in a lifetime” RV adventure through Central America in Panama or Bust: A 343 Day Adventure In A Motorhome ($19.95 black-and-white, $69.95 color; Lulu Enterprises Inc.).
The 288-page book, which includes 11 maps and 196 photographs, describes the 11,122-mile journey that Mr. Jaillet and his fellow caravanners took through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Writing in a day-by-day journal format, Mr. Jaillet, 65, recalls both the good and bad times during the trip, which included 14 border crossings and countless cultural experiences.
Panama or Bust is not intended to be a guidebook but rather an armchair adventure that takes readers through all of the highs and lows of the journey. Mr. Jaillet describes the beautiful scenery, people, music, and food found along the way. But he also recalls the dangers the group encountered, such as the time the caravan members slept while protected by 10 security guards armed with pistols and shotguns, and the four times he was robbed. He also talks about the challenges of traveling in remote areas, such as the time he was stranded in the Sierra Madre after the Chevrolet 454 engine in his 1983 Suncrest motorhome became damaged beyond repair and a replacement could not be found.
To find out more about the book and to view photographs from the journey, go to www.panamaorbust.com. To order, visit www.lulu.com/panamaorbust.
Dometic Launches Kitchen And Bath Cleaning Products For RVers
Dometic Corporation, C306, based in Elkhart, Indiana, has teamed up with The Fuller Brush Company to offer a complete line of kitchen and bath cleaning products especially for RVers.
“The products are designed to be fast-acting, providing deep cleaning in less time,” said Brad Sargent, vice president of marketing at Dometic. “This means RVers will spend less time cleaning and have more time to enjoy themselves.”
For example, Clean Bath is touted as a powerful, nonabrasive foaming tub and tile cleaner that cuts through dirt, grime, and mineral deposits, while creating a protective barrier against future build-up. Dometic also offers Window Cleaning Gel and Multi-Surface Cleaning Gel, which cling on contact and glide over surfaces with minimum effort.
Odor-fighting products include natural odor-absorbing Crystal Deodorizer, which can be placed in a refrigerator, closet, pet cage, or cooler. Solid Air Freshener reportedly keeps odors away for 90 days and can be used when the unit is closed for the season.
Other kitchen cleaners include Sticky Stuff Remover (for adhesives and residue), Appliance Cleaner & Wax, Cooktop & Counter Cleaner, Jar Brush, and Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap. Bathroom supplies feature the Toilet Bowl Swab; nonabrasive Scale Dissolver Bathroom Cleaner; and Odors Away Fabric Refresher.
These products can be found at Dometic retailers and will be available in Camping World stores.
Hybrid Vehicle Sales In U.S. Expected To Soar
Countless motorhomers tow a vehicle behind their coach for use once they reach their destination. In the coming years, that towed car, truck, or sport utility vehicle may run partly on electric energy, according to the most recent update of the J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Forecasting Services Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Outlook. The report indicated that hybrid-electric vehicle sales in the United States are expected to grow by 268 percent between 2005 and 2012.
Hybrid vehicle sales are forecasted to increase from approximately 212,000 vehicles in 2005 to 780,000 by 2012. Despite the large increase in sales volume, vehicle models utilizing a hybrid-electric power train will remain a small portion of the market, growing from 1.3 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales in 2005 to 4.2 percent market share by 2012.
While the number of hybrid models hitting dealer lots in the next several years is expected to increase dramatically, many of those vehicles will be in segments that at this time do not include any hybrid vehicles. Currently, only two hybrid-electric vehicles “” the Ford Escape and the Mercury Mariner “” are approved for towing behind a motorhome with no modifications.
According to Anthony Pratt, senior manager of global power train forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, when hybrids were first introduced in the United States, they were available only in subcompact cars that were not practical for all vehicle buyers. By 2012, he predicts, hybrid vehicles will be available in nearly all segments, including full-size pickups, minivans, and luxury cars.
In a recent online survey conducted by the Maritz Automotive Research Group, consumer interest in hybrid vehicles jumped 12 percent in one year. The Maritz Group conducted the survey of 1,009 adult owners and drivers of vehicles in August 2005 and found that the number of people who are strongly considering a hybrid for their next vehicle jumped from 17 percent in August 2004 to 29 percent in the 2005 survey. To keep things in perspective, the U.S. average price for regular gasoline in August 2004 and 2005, respectively, was $1.85 per gallon and $2.58 per gallon.
The hybrid-electric vehicle market has grown from two models and fewer than 10,000 vehicles sold in 2000 to 11 models and an estimated 212,000 vehicles sold in 2005.
RV Life On Wheels Conferences Scheduled
It’s not too late for folks to register for one of several RV Life on Wheels conferences slated for 2006. Although the Tucson, Arizona, conference (March 14 to 17) is completed, four more conferences are scheduled for this year: May 12 through 15 in Bowling Green, Kentucky; July 9 through 14 in Moscow, Idaho; August 3 through 6 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and August 24 through 27 in Ankeny, Iowa.
The 2007 schedule also is available, with conferences planned at the same locales as 2006. Dates are: Tucson, to be announced; Bowling Green, May 10 through 12; Moscow, July 8 through 13; Bethlehem, August 2 through 5; and Ankeny, August 23 through 26.
Conference fees are $199 per person, except at the Moscow conferences, where registration is $249 per person. Preconferences geared to new RV owners also are conducted two days before the start of the main conference at a campground near each of the sites. Cost for attending a preconference is $139 per RV with one person; $169 per RVing couple.
For more information, visit www.rvlifeonwheels.com or call (866) 569-4646.