As 2019 approaches and repair event cycle times (RECT) become an increasing concern, Forest River saw an opportunity to rebrand the Vibe to entice consumers and dealers alike. With a new PDI facility up and running, the Vibe is slated to become one of the most reliable trailers in the market.
“The less time a dealer has to put their hands on a product that comes in to them, the better because it can go through service quicker … and let the customer get to camping,” said Ryan Elliott, Vibe product manager. So far, dealers have been very responsive since the revitalized travel trailer began departing production lines last August. “We’ve basically got a white-gloved team. Every trailer that comes off our product line goes into our PDI facility.”
The rebranding effort began as Vibe built up its PDI facility on campus with seven full-time employees and a manager.
“At the start of the year we decided to put a full redesign on the product,” said Christian Estrup, regional sales manager. “The designers in the area came up with a look we decided would be most appealing.”
The bedroom and bathroom setup are redesigned to incorporate a big, stand-up shower. Some of the new floorplans can now accommodate a full wardrobe closet in the bedroom. Skylights and new window sizes open up the area, and the exterior graphics package is minimalistic now.
“More streamlined, more modern,” said Estrup.
“Most of the graphics packages that trailers use are very involved with lots of swoops and swirls and coverage,” said Elliott. “The problem with graphics is that over time they start to wear and sometimes they peel – they just don’t look attractive after a few years.”
Out of the 14 floorplans, six are brand new layouts. The other eight were top-sellers that’ve now been finely tuned with changes. Depending on the floorplan, the load has been lightened on the travel trailers by 500 to 600 pounds, all while making a few fan-favorite features standard like the 50-inch TV, tri-fold sofa, and residential refrigerator.
“It was a whole new branding,” said Elliott. “We decided we had a similar look on the outside with a full fiberglass cab for several years. And we wanted to reduce the weight of our trailers and price point.”
It’s the first big change for the manufacturer in four years, and the vibes are likely to last.