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Jayco Inc.
Type Private
Headquarters Middlebury, Indiana, USA
Industry travel trailers
Website http://www.jayco.com/
Patent 3,495,866

collapsible trailer patented by
Lloyd Jay Bontrager 1967

Jayco fold-down camper

Jayco collapsible trailer 2004 model

Jayco, Inc. is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles. They make fold-down (aka "pop-up") travel trailers, "fifth-wheelers", truck campers and motorhomes.[1][2]

Corporate historyEdit

Jayco is based in Middlebury, Indiana. The company was founded in 1967 by Lloyd Jay Bontrager. The company name is derived from his middle name. The Jayco Company was founded on the premise that "We treat our customers like family".

Bontrager played a role in the development and innovations of several types of unique lifter systems for their travel trailers.[1] Bontrager developed a trailer fold-down system in 1967 and started the business of making travel trailers in two chicken houses and a barn.[2] In the first year of operations the company sold 132 trailers and had 15 employees at the end of 1968.[1] Because of the large demand for the camper they moved out of Bontrager's farm buildings in 1969 to a new factory site nearby. The company continued to grow and in 1970 built another plant in Harper, Kansas.

In 1970 the company built some 2,000 fold-down travel trailers and sold them throughout the United States and Canada. In 1971 they produced about 3,500 camper trailers. In 1976 Jayco produced the very first 5th wheel trailer with a full height stand up front bedroom.[1] The Jayco company logo is a Blue Jay in flight. The company mascot is also a Blue Jay named "J.Jay"!

Jayco employment of approximately 1700 employees is about 70 percent Amish and Mennonite.[1][2][3] Jayco is the largest privately held manufacturer of recreational vehicles in North America, and is currently the 3rd Largest RV Manufacturer in the world. Jayco continues to be owned and managaged by members of the Original Bontrager Family.[3][4][5]

Presently Jayco sells about 25,000 vehicles per year. In the 42 years that Jayco has been in business, they have made over 600,000 vehicles.

Jayco recently bought the assets of Travel Supreme RV April 2008, who used to manufacture high end 5th Wheel trailers and Luxury Class A motorhomes.

Jayco also sells the #1 line of Travel Trailers in the USA...the Jay Flight, which was recently listed as a Gold Medal Green Certified RV...the first of its kind. Among other things, Jayco was cited for its use of sustainable materials, waste reduction and recycling programs, reduction of harmful volatile compounds found in RV components, installation of efficient appliances and fixtures, use of energy-efficient design and construction and utilization of renewable, clean energy.

There are about 300 dealers that sell the Jayco products in the United States as well as International dealerships in Canada and Europe. In Australia, Jayco is manufactured by Jayco Australia which is another privately founded and owned independent manufacturer, which is not affiliated with Jayco Inc of the USA[6]

Jayco has begun manufacturer of a "Green RV", the first RV to be certified as Green by the[according to whom?]

PhilosophyEdit

Bontrager believed in and wished to convey to his employees the concepts of good work ethics, inspiration, respect, trust, integrity, honesty, fairness, and a family atmosphere.[7]

Just before Bontrager was killed in a plane accident on Easter in 1985, he wrote his philosophy he hoped Jayco would follow.

Here at Jayco we try to provide a pleasant Christian atmosphere where we can all work together in harmony. We believe we are all God's children, and as such we deserve mutual respect, honor, and fair treatment. This is as true for our dealers and customers as it is for those of us who work in the offices or the manufacturing plants.[1]

The 57-year-old Al Yoder, Jr. served as president of the company after Bontrager's death. Yoder immediately started an aggressive drive to improve quality of the products they produced. His philosophy was that all employees were to be informed of all the other phases of production even if they were not in those other departments.[1]

Building materials and techniquesEdit

Jayco RV's are made from a variety of materials and technics. Wafer board, engineered wood are not used, instead using plywood, wood wall, ceiling and floor stringers insulated with fiberglass...or laminated construction with foam core insulation and aluminum frames. Jayco makes their own furniture such as chairs, tables, couches, mattresses, etc.

Jayco Assembly line Employees are mostly Amish and Mennonites from the community. They are commonly paid by the ability to produce a certain quota of RV's per day. When that quota is matched, they go home.

InternationalEdit

Jayco campers are sold in Canada.

Jayco Inc partnered with a UK based company in the late 1970s and produced a tent-camper for the European market.[who?]

In 1975, Jayco Australia Ltd was founded by Gerry Ryan OAM, (who remains the Managing Director). In 1976 Jayco Australia developed its first camper trailers and production commenced in January 1976. Jayco of Australia quickly established a reputation for producing high quality, competitively priced caravan and camping products, and within a few short years it had become the #1 player in the Australian camper/caravan industry. Now in its fourth decade, the company - with some 850 employees - is one of the great success stories of Australian manufacturing.[1]

Energy crisisEdit

The company was hard hit in the energy crunch of the 1970s and several of their plants were closed temporarly, including their Kansas and Canadian plants.[1] In the late 1980s and early 1990s they also suffered another slowdown due to the high price of gasoline, however not as serious as that of the 1970s.[1] In spite of this they increased their plants and production output. They went from the fourth largest manufacturer of towable products to the second largest by 1995.[1] Their work force then was 1300 and has since increased to about 1500 employees.[2]

Unsuccessful campersEdit

Jayco once built a fold-down style camper onto a pontoon boat; however, it was not successful. Jayco also produced a 4 wheel camper trailer that resembled a motorhome without a cab, which also failed to sell. Jayco also produced for awhile a fold-down trailer camper version, where the living area flipped out directly onto the ground. Customers were not interested in that concept either.[1]

Jayco Travel ClubEdit

Jayco developed a special travel club called "Jayco Travel Club" that has yearly vacation plans.[8][9] It has over 100 chapters in the United States and Canada for their customers.[10]

Factory tourEdit

Jayco has a free factory tour year-round with extra tours during the summer months. This starts at the "Griner House," an old restored farmhouse originally built in 1880. This is their Visitor Center where a 15-minute video on the company’s history and production methods are shown. The factory tour takes about one and a half hours.[2][11]

Brand namesEdit

  • Baja-An Off-Road Rugged version of Jayco's Pop-up camper.
  • Designer (Discontinued in 2011)
  • Pinnacle-Luxury Fifth Wheel Trailer that replaced the Designer Series.
  • Eagle-Full featured mid-line Travel Trailer and 5th wheel lineup.
  • Eagle Super Lite-A lighter weight, value leading light weight Trailer ideal for first time buyers.
  • Greyhawk-Value Line of Class C Motorhomes built on a Ford E-450 chassis.
  • Jay Flight-Jay Flight G2-Affordable Family Friendly Trailer line with more high end standard equipment than other brands.
  • Jay Feather-#1 Selling line of Travel Trailers sold in North America the past 6 years.
  • Jay Series-Pop-Up Campers, Lloyd Bontrager of Jayco perfected the pop-up crank up in 1968 and it is still used today.
  • Melbourne-A class "Super B" Motorhome.
  • Octane ZX-Travel Trailer Toy Hauler.
  • Octane ZX Super Lite-Toy Hauler Trailer made to be extremely light weight.
  • Recon ZX-5th wheel Toy Hauler RV.
  • Jayco Select-Top of line Pop-Up camper.
  • Seneca-A "Super C" Motorhome built on a Chevy Kodiak Cab Chassis...which will be replaced in 2011 with a Freightliner M-2 Chassis.
  • Skylark-New Green Technology ultra light Travel Trailer made with composite walls, floors and roof.

ReferencesEdit

  • Axelrod, Karen, Watch It Made in the U.S.A.: A Visitor's Guide to the Best Factory Tours and Company Museums, Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1-5988000-0-0

External links Edit

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