April '14

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rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 93 92 • RV PRo • April 2014 rv-pro.com vice providers across the country, mostly mobile, who can come out to wherever the client is to do the repairs. If that option is unavailable, a technician from the fac- tory is put on a plane to go out and fix the problem. Liberty Coach has a similar policy, according to Liberty Coach co-owner and Vice President Frank Konigseder. In addition to flying a technician to the client, Konigseder backs his conversions by a lifetime workmanship warranty to the original owner, and occasionally the second owner depending on the condition of the coach. Prevost has an extensive network of service centers for their coaches, which include bus shops as well as Volvo truck repair centers that are certified to repair the Volvo powertrain and shell systems. Clients can download Apps from Pre- vost into their smart phones, which give them full-time access to customer ser vice, a service center locator, and even all the technical documentation for their Prevost. Who Buys Conversion Coaches? C o n v e r s i o n m o t o r h o m e b u y e r s are almost never new to the industry, according to Liberty Coach's Konigseder. Liberty Coach's customer base, which is similar to the other converters RV PRO spoke with, is rarely first-time buyers, but instead is composed of individuals who have their roots in RVing, Konig- seder says. He says the majority of owners are not full-timers, but are working busi- ness owners who are often principals in their own companies or firms. ey have moved up from previous coaches to the conversion, or had grown up with RVs in the family, and want to get back into it. Most of the coach owners put 12,000 to 15,000 miles on the coach each year, and move the coach from resort to resort, or between owned campsites and fly into and out from it. All the converters agree that custom conversion customers generally upgrade every two to five years, with many in the two to three year cycle. Considering the six month to one year build time on complete custom orders, some cli- ents receive their new conversion and are starting the process all over again in about a year. Both Liberty's Konigseder and Mil- lennium's Evelyn Figueroa agree as to what most of their clients are looking for. Custom design tops the list, with some customers wanting a detailed and endless involvement in each and every detail of the build, while others prefer starting with a standard plan and having some say in the design from there. Konigseder's clients are always looking for more storage, and generally prefer models with two slide-outs versus three or four. All the clients are interested in the latest technology, but are looking for simplicity, says Evelyn Figueroa. "ey want to have one button do a bunch of things," she says. The State of the Industry The conversion industry is smaller today than before the Great Recession, according to Prevost's Zeigler. "We had nine converters in the early 2000s, and now we're down to five high- end converters," he says, while adding that the conversion industry is making a comeback. "We were up 20 percent in production last year, and we're looking at a 15 to 20 percent increase this year." e bus shell manufacturer also has pared down its offerings since the down- turn. There were several lengths avail- able before the downturn, but Prevost's shell product is now only available in the 45-foot length on two platforms, the X and H, both with up to four slides in 12 different configurations. While the H3-45 shell with its full fiberglass skin makes up 80 percent of sales for motorhome conversions, the slightly different but equally capable X3-45 with its stainless side panels still has a loyal following. Liberty's Konigseder agrees that sales of new conversions, as well as late model pre-owned are good. "We were at 28 (new unit) builds Conversion CoaChes Toll-Free: 800-403-3728 www.flightsystems.com Quality replacements for Onan ® Gen Set controls plus innovative Test & Maintenance Tools. The We service Cruisair ® Kohler ® Generac ® Kwikee ® SCS-Victory ® & other Controls Call for our Dealer Price List FLIGHT SYSTEMS • All Designed & Built in USA • 2 Year Warranty/Tech Support • Fraction of OE cost We supply 40+ Onan ® RV VR & Control P/N Replacements Now In Stock: Improved Replacement for Onan ® 327-1413 Replacement for 300-5374 also available! 2472 SW Ferry St Albany, OR 97322 (888) 741-0259 www.simply-smarter.com Replacement systems for Monaco Aladdin ™ available now from SilverLeaf Electronics Installs in One Day. Uses existing wiring. No repinning connectors. Uses RV-C technology. Fully configured out of the box. No special tools required. Accepted by Extended Warranty Companies. Easy to quote. RVPApr.indd 92 3/19/14 3:10 PM

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