Editor's note: This is the fifth entry leading up to 2019's Elkhart Open House. To read the last preview, click here. For the full Open House preview, be sure to check out the September 2019 issue of RV PRO.
Xtreme Outdoors / Little Guy
New ownership backed by entrepreneurs Yong Lee and Vikram Kaul acquired the assets of Liberty Outdoors/ Little Guy on July 24, and the new company is now known as Xtreme Outdoors.
Joe Kicos, founder of the Little Guy brand, says Lee and Kaul have substantial experience in building and owning businesses, and they also have the capacity to provide the required capital to rejuvenate the Little Guy brand of trailers.
The big news for Liberty Outdoors/ Little Guys at this year’s Open House is that the RV maker will be under new ownership. The new company will be known as Xtreme Outdoors.
As part of the sale, the entire shareholder base of Liberty Outdoors has moved on. However, Kicos says he will stay on to run the sales and marketing efforts for Xtreme Outdoors. Most of the manufacturing related staff has agreed to stay on as well.
Initially, the focus will be on improving the quality of the existing brands (Max, Camp Rover and Mini) with an expanded quality inspection protocol. There also will be a focus on improving delivery times, he adds.
Warranties for trailers sold by Liberty Outdoors will continue to be honored, Kicos stressed.
On the product development front, Kicos says Xtreme Outdoors is looking to launch the “Micro Max” model in 2020. The Micro Max is a small, ultra-lightweight model that can be towed by a small, four-cylinder car and can be stored in a garage.
NeXus units can be found in 55 dealerships in North America.
One of the company’s biggest announcements for 2020 is the introduction of the Triumph Class C motorhome.
Built on the Ford E-450 and E-350 chassis, the unit comes in five different floorplans: a non-slide, 23-footer; a 24-footer with a full slide; a 28-footer with two slides; and one with a full-wall slide – a first for the company, says co-founders Claude Donati.
He says the entry-level Triumph is priced competitively against the big manufacturers, putting it in what he calls “a fighting Class C category.” He says he believes this should help in terms of rentals.
“We’re doing features like fiberglass roof, residential refrigerator, and a high-strength, low-alloy steel cage construction – no wood products in our side walls or our roof,” says Donati.
At Open House Week, NeXus RV will showcase the new Triumph Class C motorhome, built on the Ford E-450 and E-350 chassis with construction that the company calls top of the line.
The Triumph was previewed earlier this summer and is already in 15 markets, with more dealers expected to sign on this month. Dealers attending the show can get up close and personal with the manufacturing process as NeXus will be offering tours of its plant, located at 3400 Reedy Drive in Elkhart. The comprehensive tour will allow previews of some of the newest upgrades coming to all of NeXus’s product lines. Those updates include slate cabinetry, a more extensive backsplash in the kitchen, recessed sinks with sink covers, new flooring patterns, and upgraded seating for high-end units and a redesigned furniture package on low-end units.
Dealers visiting the company’s exhibit, located at its headquarters, are invited to partake of wine, cheese, and other food and drinks that will be available during Open House Week.
Dave Lawson, sales and product manager for the Luxury Surveyor and Surveyor Legend lines, says he expects the biggest growth in the Legend series this year, which has been the division’s price leader. “We tweaked it a bit. We’re adding a full windshield to the front,” says Lawson.
Surveyor will feature four new floorplans at the Expo, with three new Legend floorplans and one new Luxury floorplan.
In the Legend lineup, the RV maker has increased to an 8-cubic-foot Norcold fridge.
The Luxury Surveyor (pictured) and Surveyor Legend lineup are getting an update for the new model year.
A new floorplan Lawson says is unique is the Luxury 272FLS front living room slide. It will feature a large U-dinette across the front and a rear-to-front-facing queen bed with 60-cubic-feet of storage underneath the bed. Combined with existing storage, there will be almost 80-cubic feet of storage, with pass-through storage on both sides.
New Legend floorplans will include a 24-foot rear bath floorplan, a 30-foot rear bath floorplan and a 33-foot bunk model.
Forest River Class C Division
The Sunseeker and Forester lines are undergoing a complete redesign of interiors, focusing on a more contemporary look.
“In years past, everything has been tan and brown, but with home interior designs focusing on grey colors we’re changing to get more contemporary and modern,” says Kary Katzenberger, sales and product manager for Sunseeker and Forester.
This year, Mercedes has a brand-new redesigned cutaway chassis focused on safety. All product built on the new chassis will have upgraded safety features including airbags throughout, side air bags and curtain air bags, a passive braking system, which allows the unit to sense if RVers are too close to something, and it will slow down and brake for them.
“If you are swerving, and it feels like a hard swerve, the braking” will help correct to keep it from rolling,” Katzenberger says. “It’s nice technology that’s never really been available in an RV Class C cutaway. Mercedes also has a new entertainment system, with a ‘Hey, Mercedes,’ feature that allows the customer to talk to it like Siri or Alexa and get information.”
There are two new floorplans on the Sprinter chassis, including the 2400Q, which is designed for storage and is only 24-feet long. The Sunseeker and Forester both have a Classic and LE series. The LE series is more price sensitive with fewer options. Katzenberger says the LE series is the best-selling segment currently and is up almost 35 percent.
There are two new floorplans in the LE series: the 2550LE in the Sunseeker and the 2551LE Forester. The plans offer plenty of seating for the retail customer with a full slide-out with a sofa and dinette. The entertainment center faces the eating area instead of over the bunk and also has a work station where a customer could sit down and work on a laptop and have some room.
All products will have a 10-cubic-foot, 12-volt refrigerator, which Katzenberger says will be the largest standard fridge for any Class C on the market. There also will be a solar option for dry camping without having to use a generator.