GOSHEN — Approximately 650 members of the Tiffin Allegro Club have gathered this week at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen as the event, one of the motorized owners club’s three annual regional rallies, drew around 310 gas and diesel Class A and C motorhomes.
And judging by the scene Tuesday night, with the rally attendees — two thirds of them first-timers — seated together in a large exhibit hall for some classic rock ‘n roll and a dinner catered by Das Dutchmen Essenhaus, the Monday-through-Thursday (May 14-17) rally is going well.
In fact, things continue to look up for the club members and Red Bay, Ala.-based Tiffin Motorhomes Inc., to the extent that the sold-out rally could have drawn a lot more attendees to the sold-out rally, according to Tiffin founder and President Bob Tiffin.
“Now we don’t do a drawing or anything like that since we have more demand from attendees than we’ve got room,” said Tiffin regarding the rally involving new coach displays, service work, social networking, vendor exhibits, group dinners, nightly entertainment, exercise classes, free ice cream and a rigorous slate of instructional seminars. “We let everybody line up everything on the computer and we announce the time that the rally’s going to be for sale and then you do it online. You know, you put all your information in there and whoever pushes the button first gets to come to the rally. The rally sells out in about three to five minutes.”
Such is life for one of North America’s premier motorhome builders, which holds its annual rallies on the West Coast, East Coast and Midwest. The next one is planned for October in Essex, Vermont, under the guiding hand of club co-presidents Kelly and Sally Moore.
Tiffin said the rallies are reflective of the ongoing fiscal health over the past few years for Tiffin, which manufactures the Tiffin brand of motorhomes and fifth-wheels.
“Business is good,” he told RVBUSINESS.com. “We’re building 65 coaches a week right now. We’re about eight to 12 weeks out. And things today look as good as I’ve ever seen. You know, it reminds me of 1978 to 1983 when we had the comeback from the oil embargo of 1973. Business back then was so good that we couldn’t keep up, and this reminds me of that. We’ve had a real run here the last five years across the whole industry. Our (Tiffin’s) business has gone up about 10 percent every year. We have built that many motorhomes, and it’s continuing. I can tell by the way we’re selling.
“We took 200 new orders last week,” added Tiffin, whose 13 new display units were hosted by Mount Comfort RV, Greenfield, Ind.
“Now we don’t count a retail sold order until we get the notification from the dealer that it has gone across the curb. We sent 137 coaches across the curb last week (at retail).”
The popularity of the rallies shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, maintains Andy Baer, Tiffin’s assistant general manager.
“Kelly and Sally Moore do an awesome job,” Baer said. “We’ve got very dedicated Tiffin owners who love these events with close to 70 percent newcomers here this year. So, it’s been a very upbeat affair, and we’ve got a wide ranging set of vendors here either manning displays or conducting seminars, including Cummins, Freightliner, Allison, Blue Ox, Aqua-Hot, Triple H, Kenwood, Michelin, Winegard, HWH, Diamond Shield, Girard, RV Safety and our own Powerglide division just to name a few.
“In addition to all these companies that support us, there are vendors for the bits and pieces people like to add to their coaches,” said Baer, whose company operates outlying facilities in Burnsville, Miss., Winfield, Ala., as well as Red Bay. “I can’t begin to list them all. They’re all here, and it gives them face time with all these people, and it’s a good learning opportunity. Educated owners make great owners and happy owners.”