Winnebago Era 4×4 Debuts At Hershey
The Era 4×4, the first Sprinter chassis-based off-road motorhome from Winnebago Industries, made its debut in September 2015 at America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Features of the Type B motorhome include an on-demand four-wheel-drive system; a Mercedes-Benz 188-horsepower diesel engine; and four additional inches of ground clearance. In addition, the vehicle has a 2.5-kilowatt generator and a 28-gallon fresh-water tank. Two floor plans are available, the 70A and 70X. For more information, visit www.winnebagoind.com or call (641) 585-3535.
Attendance Soars At RV Shows
Several major RV consumer and trade shows saw record attendance in 2015, a trend that points to the continued robust health of the RV industry.
- The Midwest RV Super Show, held August 6-9 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana, attracted more than 4,200 people, its highest attendance since before the Great Recession.
- In Dusseldorf, Germany, Caravan Salon Dusseldorf 2015, August 29-September 6, attracted a record 202,000 visitors to what is billed as the world’s largest trade fair for motorhomes and RVs.
- America’s Largest RV Show, held in Hershey, Pennsylvania, from September 16-20, drew 46,143 people, which topped the 2014 event’s record attendance by 6 percent.
- Although not a consumer show, the Elkhart County RV Open House, held September 22-24, drew thousands of dealer personnel to view new RVs and place orders. Forest River Inc. CEO Pete Liegel, who launched the event in 2007, told RVBusiness the dealer turnout was the best ever.
New Travel, Outdoors Weather Apps
Three new mobile apps may be of interest to RVers. One functions as an audio tour guide, one is designed for use while on outdoor adventures and other excursions, and the other focuses on weather forecasting.
- The Just Ahead travel app turns a smartphone into an audio tour guide. It uses GPS to know when to tell stories about the sights travelers see as they drive past a particular destination. The stories are from travel writers for magazines such as National Geographic and Outside. The app does not require cell phone coverage or Wi-Fi, except when it’s being installed. The app is a free download from the App Store or Google Play Store; destination guides cost $7.99 to $9.99, with free updates, according to the Just Ahead website. For more information, visit www.justahead.com.
- Brother’s Keeper, a safety and navigation app, allows users to keep track of a group of people — such as hunters in the field, hikers, golfers, fans in a sports stadium, or shoppers in a mall. Rendezvous points can be established where group members can meet. Hunters can use the app to determine the location of other hunters and maintain safe separation. Movement history can be tracked, and a distress call can be issued by a user. The app is a free download at the App Store. For more information, visit www.brotherskeeperapp.com.
- The Weather on Wheels app allows travelers to check out weather forecasts before they hit the road. When a user enters a starting location, a destination, and a start time, the app displays weather forecasts along the route. By adjusting starting times, travelers can find the best conditions for their trips. The app was developed by students, with the assistance of staff, at the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science and the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center, both at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. The app is a free download from the App Store or the Google Play Store. For more information, visit www.weatheronwheelshome.com.
Outlook Bright For Outdoor Recreation In 2016
U.S. outdoor recreation sales and activities are projected to remain strong for 2016 and to surpass 2015 levels, in part because of expectations that sales of new RVs will increase for the sixth consecutive year, according to a new report.
Outdoor Recreation Outlook 2016, from the nonprofit American Recreation Coalition, says Americans spend more than $650 billion annually on equipment that includes RVs, skis, tents, and boats, as well as services ranging from fishing licenses to ziplines, all of which support millions of jobs.
The report notes that Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) expects sales of new RVs to exceed 370,000 units in 2015, and 2016 shipments are projected to top 380,000 units.
Visitation is on the rise in America’s national and state parks, the report notes, with visits to national parks up 3.66 percent from 2014 levels. The report also states that KOA, the nation’s largest private campground system, had a strong year, with increases in occupancy and registration revenue.
A Celebration And Dedication At Blue Ox
Approximately 750 people gathered on October 7, 2015, at the Pender, Nebraska, headquarters of Blue Ox/Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Co. to celebrate the company’s 90th anniversary. The day also featured the dedication of the Jay C. Hesse Customer Welcome Center.
Blue Ox, whose parent company is Automatic Equipment Manufacturing, makes tow bar assemblies and accessories. The welcome center’s namesake was CEO and president of Blue Ox when he died of cancer at age 61 on June 22, 2014.
Mike Hesse, Jay Hesse’s son and chairman of the board, said, “I think Dad would be very proud to see the tremendous response from customers, friends, and partners during this celebration. I felt his spirit throughout the day, and I’m sure he was giving us a big ‘thumbs up.’”
The company’s roots date to 1925 when Rollie McQuistan (Jay Hesse’s grandfather) and Emil Plemm founded Automatic Curry and Dipping Machine Company, a manufacturer of agricultural products. Myron Hesse later bought the company and named it Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company. When Myron’s son, Jay, became president in 1987, he began diversifying the company with a focus on the RV industry. Today, Blue Ox is a major supplier to the RV aftermarket.
The welcome center is in Blue Ox RV Park, which was originally conceived by Jay Hesse to accommodate Blue Ox customers who came to the factory for service or who wanted to see where and how their products were made. The park has 16 full-service camping spots with cement pads, sewers, 50-amp service, and connections for free wireless Internet and cable television. The park also has 13 dry camping locations.
For more information, visit www.blueox.com or call (800) 228-9289.
California RV Association Partners With Website
They say every dog will have its day. And that seems to be happening in California, a state where details of dog-friendly hikes, beaches, craft breweries, coffeehouses, hotels, restaurants, and more are listed on a website called DogTrekker.com. The website, which includes plenty of pictures of cute pooches, draws more than a half million visitors a year.
And the news for Fido got even better in October 2015 when the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (CalARVC) announced an alliance with DogTrekker.com. Now, approximately 280 CalARVC-member parks are listed on the website.
For more information, visit www.dogtrekker.com.