Jayco RV started in 1968 with the desire of Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager to fulfill a family dream. On their farm in Middlebury, Indiana, Lloyd created a prototype of a fold-down camper with a lift system. The following year, Al Yoder became a partner in the company. In that first year, they sold 132 camping trailers with 15 employees. Camping trailers were the next front for Jayco. They were the first to have a rubber torsion axle independent suspension for easier towing. In addition to this, Jayco RV began using innovative bent frames for the JayWren. This helped with storage and clearance on the road.
Jayco continued to expand production of new units. Jayco Dealer Seminars were critical to them to make sure relationships between the company and dealers were close. Additional plants opened in Kansas and Canada to support those in the west. In 1980, Jayco’s Jay-Trek introduced the wagon gear travel trailer. This innovative design helped to take hitch weight off the tow vehicle. Soon after this, the Jay Tiki introduced a tent camper which had a flip out living area.
As the 100,000th Jayco product was shipped out in 1985, tragedy struck the company. Founder Lloyd Bontrager and others were killed in a plane crash. Al Yonder became president of the company and Wilbur Bontrager executive vice president. Jayco continued to thrive and move ahead with plans thanks to dedicated workers who carried on the founding values.
In 1991 Jayco Corp., Inc was formed after they acquired Starcraft RV. Jayco RV continued to work on advancing technology into their products. As the demand from customers increased, they became the first company to have surround sound systems in all of their products. 2011 marked when Jayco became the world’s largest privately-held RV manufacturer. The following year, they changed their tag line to Generations of Family Fun. This meant that Jayco would continue to focus their brand on providing families with fun in their products for generations. With family friendly floor plans, Jayco shows why they are in the RV Hall of Fame.
Jayco continues to open new facilities so they may have more space to manufacture Class C and gasoline Class A motorhomes which are in great demands. The gasoline options show Jayco’s commitment to better RV fuel efficiency. They celebrated ten years of the Jay Flight being first in sales for travel trailers in North America.
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