Editor’s note: When the ‘Big Three’ RV manufacturers announced in mid-July they would not be participating in Open House Week this year, that effectively cancelled the annual event. But RV PRO still talked to 68 product managers, division heads, marketing directors, and C-level executives to bring you this year’s 2021 model year preview. It’s in the September 2020 issue, and two of the companies featured are covered in today’s eNews.
Chinook RV – resurrected in 2013 under new leadership – spent years restoring the motorhome brand’s legacy before launching new products.
The RV maker subsequently acquired Riverside Travel Trailer in Peru, Ind., giving the company a presence in both the motorhome and towables market. Company brands include Bayside, Countryside, Trail Wagon, RPM, Dream and a new Class B+ model, the Summit.
“Chinook put everything on one campus in Peru, with two plants on 17 acres,” says company President Phil Rizzio. “We’re manufacturing travel trailers and toy haulers in one, and the motorhomes in another.”
Details regarding the Summit are under wraps for now, but Rizzio says prototyping is underway, with expectations for a reveal in the Fall.
RPM – branded as military tough – has expanded its product line in 2020 with the addition of RPM Extreme, a toy hauler “built to accommodate greater capacity and a larger load inside the trailer,” Rizzio says.
The new model features an off-road package with rugged construction, higher lift and bigger tires. Other options include a built-in air compressor, a roof rack with LED lighting, dual fuel stations, and power ramp doors. Chinook RV plans to release an all-season package as well, one that can withstand sub-zero temps.
Additionally, there is a new RPM Extreme floorplan with an appealing wide-open concept, according to Rizzio. While there are no dividing walls, this model offers all the traditional accommodations of a travel trailer plus special features Chinook RV customers are accustomed to, such as carbon fiber countertops, modern/contemporary cabinetry, heavy-duty flooring, ambient backlighting, as well as a magic bed and armless awning with a seismic sensor.
“Typically used on a motorized unit, the seismic sensors should be well-received in the travel trailer world,” Rizzio says. “Plus, there’s enough room in the new Extreme to pull in a V8 long travel sand car.”
Meanwhile, the Dream product line has a few surprises of its own. The new Silver Edition boasts a silver and black exterior look, aluminum wheels, steps and designer window valences. Additionally, all Dreams include a 12V disconnect switch at the entry door.
In total, Chinook RV will offer several floorplans for RPM, RPM Extreme, Dream and Dream Silver Edition trailers. The Trail Wagon currently offers four floorplans, “with more on the drawing board to include living quarters,” adds Rizzio. Meanwhile, the motorhome division will release floorplan details soon.
To see the Chinook RV preview in RV PRO online, click here.
Gulf Stream Coach
For 2021, Gulf Stream Coach’s focus is primarily about building off what the company already knows how to do best, according to Paul Campbell, director of marketing for Gulf Stream. Specifically, the RV manufacturer is configuring new floorplans for its laminated travel trailers, conventionally constructed travel trailers, and motorhomes.
“Our Vintage Cruisers are getting several new floorplans,” says Campbell, estimating that there are 12 floorplans in the works. At least one of them will have a twin bed configuration.
Part of that decision to offer a twin bed layout came from surveying the social media landscape, Campbell says, particularly the Vintage Cruiser user group.
“We’ve seen some of the conversions they’ve done, photos posted, and we thought based on the reaction from people at shows, input from dealers, and feedback from the user group, we should be offering a twin bed floor plan,” he adds.
For the gross vehicle weight rating, Campbell says that Gulf Stream aims to keep the Vintage and Vista Cruiser models in “the 4,000-pound range.” The models still maintain a sloping design, and the overall build makes them compatible with several towing options, Campbell says.
“People want to tow it with the family driver like the SUV, full-size car, or, some front-wheel-drive minivans will do a good job,” he says. “We use Azdel in all the laminated walls because it takes a lot of weight off the chassis.”
That lighter weight also goes back into better fuel economy and increased cargo capacity.
In addition to new floorplans, the company is updating both interior and exterior looks across brand lines. Campbell points to modern accents like lobbies at Hilton Garden Suites for the interiors.
“We’re borrowing those looks and feels … clubhouse looks with a casual, contemporary feel, lighter colors, silvers, and warm grays,” he says, noting that the new interiors are intended to look “crisp, light, and simple” with less emphasis on decoration, and more on décor.
On the exterior, Gulf Stream is freshening up its logo but sticking with the existing branded color scheme.
“One thing that’s really worked well for us in the past several years is sticking with a color palette that emphasizes the Gulf Stream blue, black, and white,” says Campbell. This palette also makes the brand identifiable on the road, he adds.
But updates to color schemes and floorplans aren’t the only near-term goals for the company. “A lot of what we decided to do for dealers this year isn’t necessarily product-related,” Campbell says. “It’s how we do business. We’re just amazed at how well the dealer body accommodated the tough situation of the past several months.”
He says as the country and RV industry continue to navigate the challenges of an uncertain future related to COVID, Gulf Stream plans to “do everything on our end to give our dealers a product that’s well-built, comes to them as quickly as possible, and is ready to retail as soon as possible.”
This includes a recent expansion of the company’s production facility in Nappanee, Ind., and its pre-delivery inspection operations. “Our PDI dept is not run by the production facilities – it’s run by customer service, which means it has a different boss than the factory,” Campbell explains. “Those people are looking with a different set of eyes; they know what’s going to come back.
They’re excellent judges of what should go out.”
To see Gulf Stream Coach’s preview in RV PRO online, click here.
See the Roadtrek and Xtreme Outdoors previews here
See the TAXA Outdoors and the Vanleigh previews here
See the Alliance RV and Nexus previews here
See the nuCamp and Leisure Travel Vans previews here