May '17

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12 • RV PRO • May 2017 rv-pro.com Specifically, Stat Surveys shows that the prime selling range for travel trailer toy haulers has grown from $20,000 to $25,000 in 2012 to $30,000 to $35,000 in 2016 (see Figures 4A and 4B on page 17). One thing that has remained relatively stable in recent years: The Top 10 states for travel trailer toy hauler sales. Stat Surveys data shows West Coast and Southwest states, plus Florida and Michigan, were top markets in 2012 and again in 2016. To delve into more detail on this under-represented segment of the RV market, RV PRO recently spoke with some of the leading travel trailer toy hauler makers. XLR: The Oldest Name in Toy Haulers Forest River claims the most longevity of any continuously operating RV maker in the travel trailer toy hauler business and a dominant position in this product segment. According to Stat Surveys, Forest River marketed seven of the Top 10 best-selling toy hauler brands in 2016, led by XLR. The XLR brand, encompassing the Boost, Hyper Lite and Nitro models, took the No. 2 spot in 2016 and the No. 1 spot in 2015. MSRPs for XLR's lineup range from $15,000 to $40,000, not counting options. According to Kelly Green, product sales manager for the XLR division, the RV maker doesn't intend to grow its market share simply by expanding its offerings. In fact, the opposite is true. "Our focus has been on slimming down the floorplan lineup, directing price points toward the 'sweet spots' of the market demand, and at the same time amping up the look and feature content," he says. "Multiplex systems, factory-tuned JBL pre- mium sound systems and standard increased insulation packages are just some of the unique features you will find in XLR." Decors will mimic those found in XLR fifth wheels and live up to the "big brother" of XLR brands, Green says. While XLR isn't adding new models and floorplans for their own sake, the RV maker is selectively and strategically making additions, according to Green. For example, the entry-level Boost is new to the lineup. It's 102 inches wide and is avail- able in a stick-and-tin or a laminated exterior. All floorplans accommodate a four-seat, side-by-side and are aimed at getting new buyers enjoying the lifestyle. Also, Green touts Hyper Lite's new 26HFS floorplan with a walk-through bathroom and 14-foot garage. Lightweight Hyper Lite is an industry-leading, ramp-angle laminated toy hauler at 96 inches wide. "Hyper Lite has been a huge success and we have made some cool changes that will grab more in our market," Green says. According to Brent Stevens, general manager at XLR, "Bunk- house buyers are giving attention, looking for more – more space, more carrying capacity. This is a trailer that grows with the family, even before they own toys." For 2017, the 102-inch-wide, laminated, top-of-the-line Nitro introduced a 29KW floorplan with 10-foot side deck and a 14-foot garage. All Nitros feature "zero-gravity" rear ramp doors, so easy to close that a child can do it. The company shot a video to prove it. XLR earned the RV Dealers Associations' DSI honor last year – "the first of many to come," Green predicts. "We continue to innovate new floorplans appealing to all regions of toy hauler enthusiasts," he adds. For example, to com- pete with the West Coast-based competition, XLR has several floorplans directed toward the West Coast-style of hauler, and options appealing to this market. "The 2017 show season has shown record attendances at many of the major markets, and reviews and acceptance of the XLR product are solid," Stevens says. "The structure of our haulers is carefully thought out, and no corners are cut – we simply feel we do it better than everyone else," adds Green. Forest River didn't have enough capacity last year to meet demand. A larger facility in nearby LaGrange, Ind., with more capacity to build Boost XLR travel trailers and fifth wheels and "a solid, rock star workforce" will help meet demand this year, Green says. R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S The entry-level Boost is new to XLR's toy hauler lineup. It is available in travel trailer and fifth wheel models.

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