RVIA 2009, Louisville KY

The mood at the industry’s annual tradeshow, RVIA, is pretty good.  The show is considerably smaller than in prior years, but everyone expected that.  There is still quite a lot to see and some new products to explore, and people seem to be looking forward to a much better year in 2010.  For some of them, there’s nowhere to go but up, and for others this is a prime opportunity to snag market share from competitors who are cowering in the corners “trying to survive the recession.”

dsc_3808.jpgAirstream is showing a new interior to replace the Ocean Breeze, called “Serenity.”  We got a tour from Bruce Bannister, Airstream’s VP of Product Development.  The interior design is Asian-influenced, with white bamboo-look cabinetry and gentle colors.  It’s less radical than the Ocean Breeze.  The kitchen countertop is particularly interesting, with deep vibrant color and higher durability than before.   Overall, I like it.  The floor isn’t well shown in this photo but it’s a beautiful pattern. This feels like a wonderful trailer to relax in on a hot sunny day, with its cool and restful colors.

dsc_3817.jpgThe company is also showing a prototype interior for the Interstate B-van (motorhome).  It’s tentatively called Black Onyx, although that may not be the production name.  It’s rather executive-feeling inside, with shiny black cabinetry, LED rope lights, and those butter-soft leather seats again.  Guys in black suits look good in this rig, as head of Interstate production John Huttle demonstrates in the photo.  We’re going to try to get John to speak at Alumapalooza next June about the Interstate motorhomes (and a new upcoming gas version).  I expect we’ll also have a demo unit to view.

dsc_3814.jpgThe other big intro at the show was Airstream’s new 30-foot Flying Cloud.  This one has an interesting option to replace the front couch: a pair of swivel chairs mounted to the floor.   It gives the interior a very roomy feeling.  The rest of the trailer is mostly stock Flying Cloud interior, which means it looks nice.   Bruce explained that they did add a lot of radiused corners, and they have the cumulative effect of making the interior feel very friendly.

For us, it’s go-go-go all day, so our day started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m. with dozens of emails to respond to.  Today looks about the same.  Can’t complain, though, since everything we’ve touched has been very positive and we’ve made a lot of good contacts so far.  We will come into 2010 with a lot of new work to do and that’s why we came.  Now the long drive up from Tucson is looking a lot more worthwhile …