July '18

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rv-pro.com July 2018 • RV PRO • 59 do fifth wheels: high quality, innovative design and better features for a great value to consumers." Growing Demand Prompts Expansion Cyclone – Heartland RV's flagship toy hauler – leads the way in several respects. Cyclone represents the shift in the toy hauler market from a no-frills toter for motorcycles and ATVs to one of the industry's most versatile RVs. Cyclone is Heartland's No. 1 volume producer, which might seem odd because the lower end of an RV product lineup is usually most prominent, Jones, says, adding. "We've always led the high-end in fifth wheels and been very dominant in that segment." He says Heartland's dedication to toy haulers is the secret behind its success. "We pride ourselves on true R&D; we 'research and develop,' not 'research and duplicate,'" says Jones, an eight-year veteran of Heartland. Toy haulers represent an estimated 15 percent share of this billion-dollar subsidiary of Thor Industries. Heartland's toy hauler share of the total market grew by about 5 percent in 2017, the company states, and is likely to grow again this year, thanks to a significant investment in facilities, which will allow further diversification. Because Heartland was predominately a fifth wheel builder, it was logical to start building toy haulers in that segment. "We didn't have the capacity to expand in the travel trailer marketplace," Jones explains. "We've been so dominant with our big, triple-axle units and innovative floorplans, we've owned this market segment," adds Eberlein. "Now, we're diversifying with some of our travel trailers and spreading ourselves out over price points and smaller segments, like double-axle fifth wheels." Over the last two years, Heartland has more than doubled its capacity for fifth wheel toy hauler production on the main Heartland campus in Elkhart and repurposed a 120,000-square- foot facility in Howe, Ind., just for travel trailer toy hauler production, the two men note. Heartland's A.J. Jones (left) and Joel Eberlein have oversight over the division's toy hauler offerings. Eberlein is senior general manager of Heartland RV's Landmark, Big Country, Elkridge and Road Warrior brands, while Jones is senior general manager of Cyclone, Torque, Sundance, Gateway and Terry Classic brands. PHOTOS COURTESY OF HEARTLAND RV

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