5 June 2019
5 June 2019, Comments Comments Off on Salt Lake City – RVX
Salt Lake City - RVX

Great eXperience!

We went to RVX and really enjoyed its new format; however, that format is going to change for the next RVX.

Words Antonio Mazzucchelli
photo Antonio Mazzucchelli and RVIA

Let’s start with the latest news: the date and location for the second RVX show in 2020 that had already been announced will change (and possibly, but hopefully not, even the format of the event). The next RVX was scheduled for 10-12 March, 2020 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, but on 4 April, the RV Industry Association Board of Directors convened a meeting that voted to not move forward with the currently scheduled RVX. We won’t know what the ‘version 2.0 concept’ will be until the RVIA’s meeting in Washington, D.C. in June 2019 (after this edition of the magazine has gone to print).
From our point of view, the first RVX event held in Salt Lake City from 12 to 14 March this year, delivered on its promise of bringing together all segments of our industry to highlight and showcase innovative and popular products.
According with the organizers, “a broad consensus of attendees and industry influencers agree that RVX successfully accomplished its primary goal of providing a high-profile, signature media event that celebrated the RV industry and outdoor recreation lifestyle”.
The event brought OEMs, suppliers, dealers, retailers and campgrounds together to showcase the latest RV products and celebrate the RV. Attendees from all over the world enjoyed over 500,000 square feet of exhibit space, featuring over 300 RVs, outdoor and camping products, and more. Manufacturers and suppliers showed up in a big way with new booths to showcase their latest products, and RVX gave dealers another opportunity to reload inventory, stock innovative new models, and engage with their supplier partners.
Over 2,200 attendees packed into the “Reveal”, an entertaining and engaging opening session highlighting how new products meet the needs of key consumer segments such as outdoor adventurers, families, tailgaters and spare-no-expense travelers.
Throughout the event, attendees experienced multiple education sessions about emerging consumer trends, and how the industry can attract millions of new customers to the RV lifestyle and convert them into sales.

An interesting formula
At Aboutcamp BtoB, we liked the RVX format very much, for several reasons: first of all, by reducing the number of vehicles on display and bringing only the real innovations, it becomes easier to focus on products and really get the latest news. Some manufacturers diligently interpreted the new format perfectly, such as Keystone RV, which presented some interesting ideas in the Keystone Innovation Lab.
In the following pages, you will see the most interesting news and our selection of original or innovative motorhomes and caravans that we saw at RVX, plus the winners of “The Reveal” which were decided by a specialized jury.
The accessories and components area was particularly interesting, with many stands in both pavilions, including many European exhibitors. Despite a slowdown in sales of RVs in the US, after years of continuous growth, everyone at RVX was very positive, with plenty of solid business opportunities. The European component manufacturers said they were very satisfied with the fair, even though not all decision makers of the market were present.
The absence that was particularly noticeable, was that of the dealers. Far fewer of them came than expected. Perhaps this was because of the dates of the show, as according to many, mid-March is already the “kick off of the season” and many dealers are already engaged in deliveries and sales activities. The organizers said that the final audited attendance was 4,104 industry members, 809 dealers and 239 media.

Excellent marketing and communication activity
The event organisers certainly earned our appreciation for their marketing activities as there was an impressive number of journalists, communicators, bloggers and influencers at RVX, creating countless opportunities to write articles or for social media posts. Earned media impressions (until April 2019) exceeded over 400 million, with coverage from the Ellen Show, Backpacker Magazine, Fox & Friends, Gear Junkie, Forbes, Snews, Curbed, Motortrend TV and more. In addition, promotional Kick-Off to Camping Season pieces, including digital and print content, continue to be distributed throughout the spring and summer months by Go RVing media partners. Moreover, during RVX, Go RVing launched an unprecedented multi-million-dollar national media campaign to “Kick Off Camping Season”. The campaign, which will run also in summer months, will build consumer awareness throughout the high season and drive new customers to RV dealer partners across the country.

The new formula
An RV Industry Association member Task Force has been identified and selected by the Chairman, Garry Enyart, to explore the path forward for the RVX event. The Task Force will specifically address how changes to the timing and location of RVX can increase participation and unity across all segments of the RV industry. Members of the RVX Task Force include: Piar Adams (Airxcel), Jack Cole (Lance), Ryan Elias (Triple E RV Brands/Leisure Travel), Brian Hazelton (Winnebago), Troy James (Thor Industries), Ellen Kietzmann (Blue Ox), Kevin McArt (Forest River), Trey Miller (Dometic), Mary Pouloit (Thetford), John Sammut (Newmar), Dan Shea (Gulfstream), Matt Zimmerman (Keystone).
The RVX Task Force’s immediate goal is to collaborate together and build on the successful components of the RVX show, as well as to reach out to dealers and other industry stakeholders for input and guidance over the next few months.
“I’m extremely pleased with the support the industry has shown in coming together to find a path forward for RVX,” said RV Industry Association Chairman, Garry Enyart. “RVX successfully accomplished its primary goal of providing a high-profile, signature media event that celebrated the RV industry and outdoor recreation lifestyle. This dedicated team of industry leaders have a strong desire to explore options that will bring all segments of our industry together in a unified event that will highlight the innovation and appeal our products bring to the market.”

Exhibitor feedback
“From the intermingling of units and supplier booths, to the inclusion of industry influencers and additional media outlets to reach the end consumer, to the push for innovation throughout, RVX was a great experience for Dometic,” said Vice President of Marketing for Dometic, Trey Miller.
“This show forced many companies to get out of their comfort zones and take stock of their marketing, sales, and product development efforts. RVX is not the Louisville show of old. This is where B2B shows are heading in all leading markets and the RV industry is now on or in several respects ahead of the pace,” he continued.
“I was very pleasantly surprised with the scope and organization of the first RVX,” said Bob Cox of Stolzfus RV’s and Marine. “It was time very well spent.”
“RVX gave Keystone RV an opportunity to really focus on the innovation we bring to the market,” said President of Keystone RV Company, Jeff Runels. “We were especially excited about the press interest that RVX generated and the chance we have to introduce new audiences to RVing and Keystone. Overall, it was a great three days.”
“RVX was an exciting and fresh expo that brought great attention to our industry and should bring a new group of clientele to our stores,” said Mike Pearo of Hilltop Camper.
“RVX is clearly positioned as the RV industry’s showcase event for OEMs, suppliers, banks and dealers,” said John Lebbad of Lazy Days. “It was a new, fresh and more exciting approach that the RV industry deserves.”
“RVX promised an innovative new approach to build on the awareness of our 50-billion-dollar industry just in time for the 2019 camping season to get under way,” said Tim Wegge of Burlington RV. “From the opening Reveal to the RVX Sales Navigator, the Industry Showcase and the Top Tech Challenge, RVX delivered on that promise. RVs and the RV lifestyle offer something for everyone and now the whole country knows about it.”

Brandon Galbreath defends his title, crowned Top Tech for second time

 The second Annual Top Tech Challenge wrapped up Wednesday night with a victory for Brandon Galbreath of D&N RV Service who took the crown for a second time! NBC Auto Racing Analyst and former host of Top Gear U.S., Rutledge Wood opened the event to a crowd of onlookers packed in to watch the best technicians in the industry compete in an intense, winner take all, timed challenge to diagnose and quickly repair RV parts. Galbreath was not only crowned the Top Tech, he was presented with a $10,000 grand prize for correctly diagnosing and repairing the sabotaged equipment in record time! The challenges tested electrical knowledge, leveling, junction boxes, AC electric, furnaces, and refrigerators. The finalists were presented with statements such as, “Customer states that furnaces fan comes on with no ignition,” or “Customer states that CFX box freezes everything, even when set above 32 degrees.” From there, the techs were given 15 minutes to look at each of the six stations and diagnose the fault with the piece of equipment. “This year’s Top Tech Challenge has surpassed our expectations tremendously. We have a great group of expert technicians specializing in electronics, hydraulics, leveling and more that brought their A-game to the competition,” said Executive Director of the RV Technical Institute Curt Hemmeler. “It’s going to be hard top the skill-level that was demonstrated today.” The competition, sponsored by Airxcel, Dometic, LippertComponents, Thetford/Norcold and Keystone, pit RVDA/RVIA certifies service techs against each other to determine the Top Tech of the year. All contestants diagnosed and solved all six stations earning points for using the correct procedures and diagnosis. “The multi-step processes that these technicians walked through to determine the faults with each piece of equipment was extraordinary,” said Hemmeler. “Putting the knowledge that they possess into practice in front of a crowd of onlookers while a clock was counting down is a tremendous amount of pressure. I would like to congratulate all of them for the expertise that they demonstrated today.” Hemmeler highlighted that it is absolutely vital that we, as an industry, have talented and trained RV technicians with the ability to understand a wide range of complex equipment and troubleshoot a multitude of possibilities. The RV Technical Institute is excited about bringing more technicians into the field that can quickly service our customers. “The goal of this event is to raise awareness about the RV technician career and spotlight how important they are to the health of the industry,” said Hemmeler. “We need to focus on recruitment and talent acquisition to the technician career to ensure that we can service our customers and allow the next generation of RV consumer to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in their RVs.” Congratulations to all six of the finalists who competed in the competition:

Aaron Bashore – Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania – Shop Foreman/Lead Tech at Tom Schaeffers Camping and Travel Center
Brandon Galbreath – Top Tech Champion – Joppa, Alabama – Service Tech at D&N RV Service
Thomas Gordon – Ocala, Florida – Shop Foreman/Lead Tech at Ocala Camping World
John Larson – Minden, Nevada – Owner/Operator at Nevada Mobile RV Service
Chris Page – Prescott, Arizona – Service Tech at Affinity RV
Bradley Wingfield – Corinth, Texas – Shop Foreman at McClain’s RV Superstor

NASA-inspired design

TAXA Outdoors was founded by Garrett Finney, a former NASA architect that desired to make a modern, lightweight, durable camper that could fit the whole family. Today, TAXA’s lineup features four models, including a tow behind rig perfect for any outdoor enthusiast. At the RVX show, TAXA showcased concept editions of the Mantis, Cricket and Tiger Moth. The new Cricket: Overland Edition is for overland adventures and taking people even further off the grid with an axle-less Timbren suspension, a 4 inch lift that provides 19 inches of ground clearance and the ability to install 33 inch tires to match any Jeep tires and rims with the trailer. Inside the rig there will be a larger cafe table to accommodate all guests and finally a new TEPUI awning for more outside shade. Lightweight and rugged, Cricket is towable by many four-cylinder engines. Cricket has sleeping room for two adults and two children. With rugged, radial tires and torsion axle, is possible to tow the Cricket camper anywhere. The camper sleeps two adults and two children, houses integrated plumbing, and a tow connection recharges battery while hauling so caravaners can enjoy 3+ days off the grid. Roof rack system, tongue mounted toolbox, and bumper steps provide the right storage for each piece of gear.

Newmar 2020 Super Star

The Newmar 2020 Super Star, which made its world debut at ‘RVX: The RV Experience’, won the Luxury Living category in The Reveal – where the ‘best of the best’ RVs were unveiled, chosen by a consumer-focused panel of judges.
Several new features and design elements of the Super Star made the judges of the Reveal decide it was the perfect RV to spotlight industry advances in the Luxury Living category.
The new features of the 2020 Newmar Super Star include an air-ride cab made possible by a Newmar design innovation using the Freightliner chassis, a full-wall-slide room, taller exterior storage compartments and convenient pass-through storage at the rear of the Super Star.
It also has a new floor design that eliminates the step between the living accommodation and the front cab area. This seamless transition is made possible by a unique hinged floor that Newmar has developed specifically for its Super C brands. There is also a stronger and more stable hydraulic entry step than those found on other RVs and the Super Star provides a cavernous front cab-over area, for a luxuriously open feel.
One judge commented that it feels like the dressing room for a rock star on tour, or the RV of someone who has earned their golden years and wants to spend them traveling first class. Another judge described this RV as a choice for luxury and craftsmanship as a “no-brainer”

SylvanSport VAS

VAST is the first travel trailer from industry innovator, SylvanSport. It reimagines the design, the engineering methods and the overall construction process. The end result is a breakthrough new RV that truly opens up to the great outdoors. Spacious interior includes comfortable lounge area, bathroom and kitchen. The all new SylvanSport VAST was designed for adventure travelers and campers who want to bring all their toys without sacrificing one thread count of comfort! It features breakthrough simplicity for gear hauling, two queen-size beds, an amazing patented indoor/outdoor kitchen and a luxurious shower. The integrated side-mount rack system simplifies loading any style kayak, paddleboard or canoe at arm’s length. Spacious lounge seating slides forward to create secure interior cargo area for bikes and other gear. VAST won the Reveal Spotlight in the Outdoor Adventurer category.Judges describe it as “a new adventure-hungry Travel Trailer with an ingenious design that makes it easy to pull anywhere. The SylvanSport heritage is easily traced back to its founder’s origins in the outdoor gear industry. It is designed for adventure travelers and campers who want to bring all their toys without sacrificing one thread-count of comfort! And the durable choice of fabrics means it’s got comfort that’s built to last. Like a Swiss Army Knife, it’s incredible what they can fit into such a small space. Even with a full load of toys in back, the lounge remains fully functional during the journey.”

RV industry gathers to honor titans of industry for second annual RV Industry Awards celebration

RVX concluded with an evening of celebration of industry leaders, manufacturers and suppliers during the RV Industry Awards celebration at The Depot in Salt Lake City. The second annual event honored winners of the RVDA’s Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) Quality Circle Awards, RVBusiness Magazine’s RISE Awards™ for suppliers, the David J. Humphreys RV Industry Unity Award, the Distinguished Service to the RV Industry Award and 40 Under 40 awards. RV Industry Association Chairman Garry Enyart opened the event noting, “The inaugural event in 2017 was a resounding success”. “And here we are again” he continued “in a new location with the same goal.” The RV Industry Association’s Distinguished Service to the RV Industry Award is presented to an individual within the RV industry who has set himself or herself apart by outstanding service. Last night, that honor went to the association’s own Vice President of Standards Bruce Hopkins. Hopkins is considered to be the “godfather” of the standards and inspection program and was the driving force behind the nationally harmonized RV standards that are used across the country. The David J Humphreys RV Industry Unity Award was established by the RV Industry Association and RV Dealer’s Association to recognize an individual who continuously strives to encourage the multiple constituencies of the RV industry to work collectively for the growth and betterment of the industry. Last night, that honor went to former RV Industry Association Chairman of the Board, Bob Parish. RVBusiness Magazine Partner Gregg Fore presented the supplier focused RISE awards. “RISE stands for Recognizing Innovation & Supplier Excellence,” said Fore. “And that, quite simply, was our goal for the RISE Awards.” Nearly 70 entries were received for RVBusiness’ RISE awards with the ultimate honors going to:

OEM Category
FREEDOM eGEN Lithium Ion System by Xantrex, a division of Mission Critical Electronics recognized for the fully integrated system offering reliable AC and DC power to run an air conditioner and other high-power loads in all climate conditions, as well as precise battery management for accurately charging lithium ion batteries from multiple sources.

Aftermarket Category
VarioHeat by Truma Corp. – The VarioHeat features silent operation and intelligent fan control, and is equipped with a three-stage burner system and special night mode. Judges said the VarioHeat will “revolutionize the process of heating recreation vehicles with amazing efficiency”.

RVDA President Phil Ingrassia announced the Quality Circle Awards to RV manufacturers that achieve the highest rating in the annual RVDA Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) Survey. The results of the 25th Annual survey reflect almost 2,400 individual brand evaluations from 525 U.S. and Canadian dealers and measures reliability/quality, parts support, warranty support and sales. The survey aims to foster better communication between the dealer and manufacture by identifying the issues that each brand faces daily. All of this year’s winners received a rating of 4.25/5 or higher for overall dealer satisfaction. RV Industry Association President Frank Hugelmeyer closed out the event with the recognition of the industry’s 40 under 40 winners. Hugelmeyer said, “Fresh ideas and new approaches to our industry is what will continue to help us grow. This is the exact reason why last year the RV Industry Association launched a program to identify future leaders in our industry, the 40 Under 40.”

Environmentally conscious SONIC X concept debuts with carbon fibre body and 1000W of solar power

KZ Recreational Vehicles (KZ RV), a subsidiary of Thor Industries, which makes travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers, has launched its Sonic X concept prototype at The RV Experience (RVX), featuring forward-thinking design and environmentally-conscious features such as a weight-saving, carbonfibre body, and solar panels producing 1,000W of power. KZ RV says the Sonic X concept prototype showcases how new designs and technologies are influencing modern RV development, and is the industry’s first self-sustainable, lightweight RV. Power from the roof-mounted solar panels can be stored in its nine Lithium-ion batteries. Additionally, the Sonic X utilizes a Secondary Infinite Water System (S.I.W.S) with a heavy-duty water pump, 25-foot hose and water filtration, so it can be connected to fresh water sources such as a stream, river or lake, and can store up to 100 gallons of water. The trailer is also equipped with deep-tinted frameless windows to provide an ultraviolet (UV) barrier from the exterior to the interior, Chroma coated roller shades to reduce heat penetration through the windows, interior and exterior LED lighting, 2- 900 CFMS power fans and 2-20# LP tanks with auto-changeover. To build the frame of the trailer, KZ RV used a process called HUCK bolting, which is five times stronger than welding, further reinforcing the trailer’s durability. The Sonic X RV has been selected by a panel of industry leaders at the Reveal. “We are committed to protecting the environment so we set out to develop a concept that reflected one of our core brand missions,” said Aram Koltookian, President of KZ RV. “When developing the Sonic X, we wanted to build the ultimate, self-sustainable RV that is both durable on the outside and features a modern interior for today’s lifestyle.”

Keystone LoadSafe on-board weighing and iFlex Smart Ryde air suspension systems

LoadSafe is the towable RV industry’s first on-board weighing system and is designed to give owners a more convenient, more accurate, and safer way to tow their loaded RV. LoadSafe technology dynamically measures the vehicle’s loaded weight at each axle and at the hitch pin, providing owners with instant feedback through the iN-Command Control System with Global Connect interface. “When considering a fifth wheel purchase, some customers can be nervous about towing 17,000 pounds confidently. Right now, weighing your loaded RV prior to each trip is a lengthy, multi-step process. We saw an opportunity to make that process easier and more convenient,” said Mark Bullock, SVP of engineering at Keystone. Tim Markel, general manager for Keystone’s Fuzion and Raptor toy hauler brands, added “There is also a massive trend of RV owners who want to travel with dirt bikes, side-by-sides, ATVs, even golf carts. This puts an additional responsibility on the owner to make sure they aren’t putting their RV in an overload or unbalanced load situation. With every trip, its important for owners to check their unit’s carrying capacity, understand the weight of distribution their load, and do the math. The LoadSafe technology would be a terrific advantage for owners to get on the road quickly and confidently”. Keystone project engineer, Jon Brock, sees the potential for this technology to become an industry safety standard, “As with anti-lock brakes, air bags, and back-up cameras in automotive, LoadSafe has the potential to be breakthrough safety technology for the RV industry”.

iFlex SMARTryde advanced air suspension system combines the leading automotive technology of AKTV8 and the suspension expertise of MORryde with engineering and technical input from the Keystone. In testing, the patented iFlex SMARTryde system provides a smoother towing experience and could help protect RVs from excessive road vibration and chatter. “We installed the iFlex SMARTryde on a Keystone Raptor toyhauler and subjected it to a rigorous durability test at the Navistar Proving Grounds. The test included inverted chatter bumps, a resonance road, cobblestone roads, and a slalom course, all designed to stress and test the system to its limits. Both the iFlex SMARTryde and the Raptor passed the test with flying colors,” Jack Enfield, MORryde Sales and Marketing Manager. iFlex SMARTryde system provides total control over suspension and leveling functions through a smart phone app, on-board touchpad or tablet. With this technology, owners can easily and conveniently change the vehicle ride height to correctly mate to the truck bed rail height. By lowering the back of the unit, the angle of the ramp door can be decreased allowing owners to load and unload the RV more safely and with less effort. iFlex SMARTryde can even raise one side of the vehicle to assist with the emptying holding tanks.

Dometic new IoT solution

Designed to meet RV-C™ network standards, the Dometic IoT solution provides SMART technology and intuitive features that monitor and control the vital functions of an RV. Flexible configurations, allow screens to be placed in strategic areas of the RV in any number of groupings (1, 2, 3 or more). With the touch of a finger, control the system from the LCD screen or the mobile app on a smartphone or tablet.

Never Dump system by Hall Logic

NeverDump utilizes automotive combustion and emissions technology to fully evaporate and combust black water. The system was designed to drop into existing 5th wheel and travel trailer designs, requiring very little integration effort from OEM’s. NeverDump includes: a buffer tank – ABS tank with intake plumbing identical to traditional black water tanks; a macerator – this unit breaks the waste down to allow for easier flow and injection into the combustion chamber; a combustion chamber – where the waste comes in contact with red hot media so that combustion can more easily initiate; an aftertreatment – the exhaust stream enters a 3 way catalyst, which helps ensure that any unburned hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and other undesirable products of combustion are broken down before proceeding. NeverDump utilizes Hall Logic’s smart technology to automatically control the system. The unit connects to a smartphone app, for advanced user settings, overrides, and scheduling.