For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 26, 2006
" The latest 2006 figures are telling a remarkable story of growth that has gone from off the map to off the charts at CrossRoads RV.
"We made 1,347 fifth wheels and travel trailers in all of '03. We made more than triple that many in the first six months of this year," says CrossRoads President Mark Lucas, a 35-year-old industry veteran. "Our sales have doubled in each of the last two years and should double again this year."
So far this year, with a flat RV market showing only 0.4 percent growth, CrossRoads has come on with a 46 percent increase in retail units and a 40 percent increase in market share, according to data on retail registrations as reported by Statistical Surveys, Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich.
While towables and other RVs have been up and down in the market over the past three years, CrossRoads has had nothing less than a meteoric climb. CrossRoads had a stunning 64 percent growth in fifth wheel and travel trailer sales in 2004, a year when other notable brands were into negative numbers. The RV industry overall saw 16 percent growth that year.
Then in 2005, with the overall RV market down 1.4 percent in sales, CrossRoads saw its retail units grow 16 percent and its market share 17 percent for travel trailers and fifth wheels.
During this three-year burst, CrossRoads product lines expanded from two to seven. In terms of market rank, CrossRoads travel trailers went from not even being listed in the top 45 brands in 03 to now being within the top 25. Its fifth wheel sales have grown to No. 4 from No. 23 during this same time.
The impact on CrossRoads' operations has been enormous. Employee numbers have grown from 75 in 2003 to 425 today. With one plant when it began in '96, it now runs six, and is looking for more.
The quiet but rapid growth in CrossRoad sales caught the eye of Thor Industries and it purchased CrossRoads in late 2004. Thor, the parent company of a number of RV firms, brought new financial resources to support CrossRoads' market burst.
But the real key, says Lucas, is CrossRoads taking its mantra of "quality, service and value" seriously and finding the "niche within the niche" where RV consumers are not being served with what they want.
"Our philosophy is to complement our competitors by positioning our products to meet needs that are unmet in a particular category," says Lucas. "We don't move competitors off their sweet spot,' we fill gaps they have missed in meeting consumer and dealer demands."
"Our designs are built on this philosophy. We see what is already working in the industry and we listen to customers about what is missing. Then we provide the best quality, service and value we can deliver."
The new Sunset Trail travel trailer is an example. It's an ultra-lite, but it's built with hung walls rather than laminate common to ultra-lites and other towables. It has innovative storage solutions for RVers who are always looking for more space. It has room for extra bunks and for extra bikes. It moves the LP gas bottles off the front hitch to a special storage hatch, and has other standard features such as a regular 60 X 80 queen bed.
"But it all starts with treating quality' as something more than a marketing buzz word," says Lucas. "That's why we put hung walls on 16-inch OC aluminum framing even in an ultra-lite. When you really make a quality unit people notice it. Dealers are the first to notice. We hear a lot about how the fit and finish of our product makes their inspection and setup time minimal, if at all."
Providing dealers with good service is another key emphasis. CrossRoads pays dealers weekly for inspections and warranty claims at posted labor rates. It immediately resolves product issues. "We believe that if we serve the dealer well, we ultimately serve the customer well," said Lucas.
CrossRoads' investment in dealer service includes a recently opened 25,000-square-foot Customer Care Center near its main plant. "The facility is designed to help the dealer speed repairs, ensure quality repairs, and get the customer back on the road as quickly as possible," said Lucas. "The younger RV buyer, especially, is demanding a quality service experience as well as a quality product. Every RV company and dealership needs to address that."
"So our growth strategy involves carefully balancing the combination of a quality product, excellent service, and price to provide the best value in the industry with a product targeted for specific consumer segments," said Lucas.
He adds, "Our next strategic layer is to build on that strong foundation with innovation. Current innovation allows us to make towables more lightweight with more amenities while retaining solid construction standards. We have unique floorplans and features not found in many competitive products. We maximize design, storage and conveniences in ways you don't see elsewhere."
Lucas, Robin Levitz, 34, vice president of finance, and Cal Jones, 53, national sales and marketing manager, were all CrossRoads owners before the Thor acquisition. Lucas came to CrossRoads in 2002 as general manager, the same year Levitz joined the company as controller. Jones was hired as national sales manager in 2004 and soon also took over marketing for all product lines.
They're all committed to building on their current success. "We want to continue to expand into open markets," said Lucas. "We want new dealers that are just as service-oriented as we are and just as proactive about business growth. We define protected sales territories to ensure they have an approachable and welcoming marketplace. Our present dealerships are among the biggest assets we have."
"We want people to know that we'll continue to expand product lines with innovative products that are meaningful to specific consumer segments. And we'll continue to fine-tune existing products to do the same. We don't want to get fat. We're not going to rest on our laurels. There's much more to come."
For more information about CrossRoads RV, call 888-226-7496 or visit www.crossroadsrv.com