This is an exclusive interview with Dean Corrigal Territory Sales Manager –
Triple E Recreational Vehicles
What are the values that Triple E implements every day that makes it such an enduring company with great products and a loyal customer base?
Triple E Recreational Vehicles have been manufacturing RVs since 1965 in Winkler Manitoba Canada. We are a fourth generation family owned company. Our core “values” have always been the same for almost 50 years in business, “Build a quality RV and Take care of the Customer!” This may sound simple but actions do speak louder than words and we prove it with every RV we manufacture and with every customer that purchases one of our products. We have the most loyal and happy customer base in the RV industry, the proof is in the simple fact that Triple E and Leisure Travel Vans are still in business when many other RV manufactures have come and gone and it’s because of our loyal customer base that continue to buy our high quality RV products year after year.
How has quality played a role in the past, currently in the present, and how will it be an important part of the future plans at Triple E?
Quality is one of our core values and “quality is never compromised” in any Triple E or Leisure Travel Van product. It has been this way since 1965. It’s that way today and it will be that way 50 years from now. When founders/owners initials’ “EEE” are on each and every recreational vehicle we build and sell; quality is “FIRST” and foremost, end of story.
How do your philosophies of manufacturing set you apart from other manufacturers?
This is a really big question and I hope I can explain it clearly; Triple E and Leisure Travel Vans philosophies are different from most RV manufacturers in North America. We want to build quality RVs that look after all of our customers’ needs and requirements and that will stand the test of time. Most other RV manufacturers are traded on the stock market; they are more concerned about speed of production and the lowest possible price point which often compromises quality. They want to sell thousands and thousands, capture the most market share possible over their competition so they can look good on the stock market.
Our company is privately owned. We don’t care about market share. We care about building quality RVs, and having happy customers/owners of our products that love their Triple E and Leisure Travel products. If our customers love their RVs, they will continue to buy them from us and tell their friends to buy them and that is what it’s all about in our world.
What are your most popular RV products with certain generations and demographics? Do you sell more of one product in a particular geographical area compared to other areas? Why is this the case?
Now that we have specialized in Class B, Class B Plus and Class C production, we have a much more defined generations and demographics for our products. Our customer age base is now between the ages of 50 and 75 years of age, however, we are seeing some younger people buying the smaller Class B Van products and B Plus models to use as a vehicle and as an RV.
In bigger metropolitan centers in the USA and Canada, Leisure Travel Van customers like to use the Free Spirit, Serenity, Libero and Unity products as a vehicle for work, or as a second form of transportation and then use it as an RV on weekends and holidays. You get a two for one with a multipurpose vehicle. The Triple E product lines – Regency GTs and Class Cs – defiantly tend to sell in areas of colder weather, where customers want to use their RVs longer into the season. They use them for fall camping, snowbirding in the southern USA, skiing, and snowmobiling etc. With our XL package of enclosed insulated, heated tanks, rear auxiliary heater, thermal pane windows and built-in thermal break in the exterior wall, the Regency line can be used into the fall/winter seasons.
What are your newest products and how are they received by customers?
Triple E and Leisure Travel Vans are the innovators and trendsetters in the RV industry in North America going all the back to the late 1960s when Triple E was the very first Canadian manufacturer to build a Class A motorhome. Over the years you name it, we have built it – Slide-In Truck Campers, Travel Vans, Trailers, Fifth Wheels, and Class A, B, C motorhomes.
In more recent years, we were the first RV manufacturer to build on the Sprinter Van called the Free Spirit back in 2003, and then in 2006 we built the first full fiberglass wide body on Sprinter Cut-a-Way chassis called the Serenity, and the Libero soon followed on the Chevy Cut-a-Way chassis. Then in 2008, we stunned the industry with a “Murphy Bed” in a 24′ motorhome built on a Sprinter Cut-a-Way chassis called the Unity MB, and it has been one of our bestselling floor plans.
Now for 2013, we have revolutionized the Class B industry by building the very first “Side Slide-Out” on a Sprinter Van, called the Free Spirit SS. Customers love all the new products that we have introduced over the past few years and even in these tough economic times where most RV manufacturers have been downsizing, we have grown our company.
Are you seeing a greater percentage of customers asking for Class C vehicles and if so why?
Great question! Class C sales are super strong along with Class B sales. First let me define each category. A Class B is a Van body RV we build on the Mercedes diesel Sprinter Van at 22′ 9″. Sales of B Vans are up over 27% so far in 2012 and they will continue to grow. The fuel economy of a Class B is super impressive and with our new Slide-Out model in the “Free Spirit SS” the sky is the limit for our Class B sales. You can own a smaller unit that is great to drive anywhere and gets fantastic miles per gallon (mpg). Plus having a Slide-Out for additional living space when RVing, gives you the best of both worlds in one RV.
A Class C is an RV built on a “Cut-A-Way” chassis we build on the Ford Chassis with the Regency GT 24′ to 31′ gas model. On the Chevy chassis we build the Libero 25′ gas model. On the Mercedes Benz diesel chassis we build the Serenity and Unity models all around the 24′ 7″ in length. Now all of these units that I have mentioned are called a “B Plus” in our industry because they do not have a “Cab Over Bunk” for sleeping. They get registered for insurance purposes as a Class C but they look more like a Class B.
People love the B Plus models because they are more air dynamic, have a panoramic view from the driver’s / passenger area, with no tunnel vision that a typical Class C would have when driving down the highway. They are more maneuverable, easier to drive and park, a lot more “Green” (environmentally friendly), and have much better fuel economies than bigger units. So Class C / B Plus sales is very strong and these sales will continue to grow as North American RVs start to downsize from their larger A units and the upward swing of people wanting to be a little “greener” when they’re RVing.
How will the future RV trends shape the design and manufacturing trends of Triple E RV models? Do you plan on manufacturing a specific model with solar panels built in?
Customer trends have always influenced our company; we build whatever customers are “trending” to buy. This is why over the decades we have built so many different types of RVs from Tear drop trailers, pull behind trailers, Fifth Wheels, Class A, B and C models. I think we are seeing future trends right now; customers want smaller, more environmentally friendly units with better fuel economies. That is why over the past 3 years we have totally redesigned our product lines to accommodate our customer base and their needs.
Solar panels are becoming more and more popular each and every year; we will install them at the factory on “dealer/customer factory orders” as requested. All of our models are pre-wired for solar panels so they can be added later on. The only reason we do not put them on as a standard feature is that not all customers want them and if solar was already on the motorhome, it is impossible to take them off without leaving holes in the fiberglass roof which could cause water leakage.
What RV products are customers buying the most on the current market? What products are most in demand and why?
In our company we are selling a fair amount of every model and floor plan that we build. All of our units appeal to different customers with different RV requirements. Our Vans, the Free Spirit and Free Spirit SS models, appeal to a customer that loves to travel, 20,000 to 40,000 kms a year, these units give the best mpg and size to go anywhere you want to go.
The Libero/Serenity are our “Touring Models” nothing built like them in North America, “Full Fiberglass Body Construction” 8′ wide, “pin quiet” to drive, customers love to day trip have a weekend getaway to the mountains, oceans or wherever and use them for extended holidays.
The 24′ 7″ Unity has 4 floor plans that are all built on the Mercedes Benz diesel Sprinter chassis. Customers have two choices – Slide-Out models and two non-Slide-Outs – the world famous Murphy Bed with a full residential mattress, full dry bathroom with a stand up shower or the traditional corner bed model with dining room Slide-Out that can sleep 4 people. The Unity IB has a walk around Island bed with a flip up computer desk or twin bed model all built on the diesel Mercedes Sprinter Chassis.
Then we have the Regency GT product line with 4 different floor plans, for example, the XL package great for the outdoorsman who wants an RV that can do everything from the beach to the ski hills. We have something for everyone. The Unity MB is still our bestseller year after year. However, the New Free Spirit SS is going to be a very HOT seller for 2013.
How large exactly is your RV customer base and is it growing given that RVing is becoming the travel choice of many people, especially the retiring boomer generation and young families?
Our customer base is probably the largest of all time in the past 10 years. Our customer demographics for our product lines are growing especially as the boomer generation continues to retire and have all that free time to RV. Our product lines fit exactly to what they need and require now and in the near future. Younger families are not our target market, but the younger generation is much more environmentally conscience and having smaller “Greener” RVs that leave a smaller footprint in the environment will be a very strong growing market in the next 10 years.
Do you take customers suggestions into account and incorporate them into future designs and manufacturing plans? Does this make a difference in your sales if you listen to your customers?
Our customers are a huge influence on our product design; every customer that buys one of our products gets a “Customer Survey” with a host of questions about the product. We want to know what they like and what can we do better to improve our products. This extremely valuable information is passed over to our “Product Strategy Committee” where we implement their suggestions.
As a matter of fact the New 2013 Unity TB model came directly from a customer suggestion and a multitude of improvements in our products can be directly related to our customer suggestions over the years. Our sales increase year after year and are directly related to listening to our customers’ suggestions and ideas. We also have a customer rally every year at our factory so customers can give their input into our products in person.
What does the future hold for Triple E and Leisure Travel Vans? Do you think your business will increase due to the expense of air travel?
Our business is going to continue to grow, with a large segment of the work force retiring in the next 15 years (baby boomers) and our Triple E and Leisure Travel Van products lines will be in big demand.
I do not believe that air travel has any effect on our business, people will continue to fly to destinations not that easily accessible to RVs. People that buy and use our RVs want to explore and see North America on their own schedule not the schedule of the airlines. They want to sleep in their own bed with their own pillow every night, not on a hotel bed that has been slept on by 1,000 different people. They want to experience RVing, meeting other RVers who share their same passion that they have and you don’t get that on an airplane.
How does Triple E assure customers there is minimal water leakage in the unit?
Each unit is water tested for 45 minutes in a water test facility called the “Shower” at the factory. The test is done after it comes off the assembly line before it is painted. We also use a high pressure water wand to test all compartments and windows for a second test as well.
Has the classic quality of Triple E RV products stayed primarily the same in the past and will this quality continue in the future regardless of an increase in material costs? Quality will not change because of “costs of materials.” Materials have always been going up (they always will), and our quality has never gone down. We only use the best products available to us in each and every Triple E and Leisure Travel Van product we build. I can guarantee you cheaper is not better when it comes to building a “home on wheels”.
How is the market in Alberta and how well does Guarantee RV promote your RV products?
The market in Alberta has done very well for our products; the province does the most sales of our products in Canada. Guarantee RV has always been a great promoter of Triple E product lines for many, many years and we are very excited that you are now carrying the Leisure Travel Van product line as well. We love having Guarantee RV as our dealer in the Calgary area and they are a First Class RV Dealership in Alberta, Canada, and in North America.
Have you received any compliments from your customers and if so, what is the most endearing compliment your customers have given Triple E regarding its product design and quality manufacturing? Does one in particular stand out?
Well, with almost 50 years of building RVs, there have been thousands of compliments about our products, company, and the people that make it happen. The two compliments that are endearing to me are customers that have bought multiple Triple E products over the years. The most compliments were given by one customer that I personally know who purchased 10 different Triple E products. He has never owned any other RV manufacturer’s products and that is amazing to me.
The other compliment that I love is from customers who have worked all their lives, saved up to buy one of our RVs to go out and “live their dream” in one of our products. I never get tired of hearing their stories.