Nexus RV Makes Retail Debut at Hershey Show
Elkhart, Ind.-based Nexus RV had a “coming out” of sorts earlier this month when the young minimotorhome builder displayed its two new lines, a Viper “B-Plus” Class C and a more conventional Phantom C-body, for the first time at a retail venue during the 43rd Annual Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show, Sept. 12-18 at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Although Nexus is a factory-direct manufacturer to the retail consumer, Donati reports Nexus is currently marketing rental units to U.S. dealers.
“We are committed factory-direct,” says Donati, a former Gulf Stream Coach Inc. executive who welcomed out-of-towners last week (Sept. 19-25) during Elkhart County’s 4th Annual RV Open House Week. “Our assembly line is our showroom. But we are investigating a non-USA dealership network, specifically in Quebec in Montreal, the French speaking provinces. We have some contacts in those markets that are showing a big interest in carrying our product.”
Nexus showed 29-foot Vipers with cabover entertainment centers mounted on Ford E-450 cutaway chassis; Nexus is building exclusively on Ford cutaway chassis at this point. The Elkhart firm also showed three different Phantom models, including a 31-footer with full body paint and a 32-foot bunk bed model, both featuring over-the-cab sleeping accommodations.
The more aerodynamic and expensive B-Plus Viper, with Corian countertops and a few more amenities, sports an MSRP of $103,000. However, the unit on display at Hershey, fully loaded with full body paint, was selling in the mid-$80,000’s.
Of equal interest to those cruising the Hershey Show was a familiar face working the display, Brian Shea, the former president of Nappanee, Ind.-based Gulf Stream’s Motorhome Division. Donati, who with Nexus Vice President Dave Middleton owns half the company, says Shea acts as a consultant for the company and is one of seven other investors behind Nexus along with a steel supplier, a West Coast rental dealer and four other individuals outside the industry.
Realizing that competitors might use it against them as a factory-direct company, Donati says Nexus now has service agreements with more than 100 service centers throughout the country. “So, we have actually made it part of our presentation to the customer that we have the best service network of any dealership in the country,” he told RVBUSINESS.com. “We have over 100 service centers in every state, and we are adding service centers all the time.
“What we are finding more than anything else is that our business model is attractive to a customer,” adds Donati. “So far, we’re eclipsing 70 units sold. Our first unit went offline in April. We had bumps along the way, I don’t want to pretend that we didn’t. But against our business plan, we are about where we thought we would be, and we were pretty aggressive with our goals.”