The RV air conditioning market has gotten highly competitive ever since the recession, and Dometic Corp. – one of two traditional leaders in the A/C sector – has a new strategy in place to retain and grow its market share in the years ahead, reports Dave Schutz, vice president of sales and marketing for the RV-OEM division of the 950-employee company headquartered in Louisville.
Dometic, which built its first rooftop A/C in 1968 and is equally known today for awnings and refrigerators, markets the following A/C lines:
• Dometic Brisk Air Rooftop Air Conditioner, a conventional line available in 13,500 and 15,000 BTU models and in lower BTU ratings.
• Dometic Penguin II Low Profile Air Conditioner/Heat Pump, a slimmer unit available in 11,000, 13,500 and 15,000 BTU models for which a revamped design was introduced in January.
• Dometic High Performance Air Conditioners, “HP” units designed specifically for a Dometic Quiet Zone Ducted Air System, in 13,500 and 15,000 BTU ratings.
• Dometic Cool Cat Heat Pump, a non-rooftop line tailored for smaller units offering 10,000 BTU’s of cooling capacity and 8,200 BTU’s of heating that fits inside a coach, typically under a bed or gaucho.
For years, Schutz notes, the air conditioning marketplace was rather quiet in terms of new entrants, with Dometic and Wichita, Kan.-based Airxcel Inc. the decided leaders. Now an array of new entrants have changed the game to an extent, and Dometic’s preparing to roll out some new products over the next two years.
First of all, the company plans to develop a new Brisk II platform for unveiling at December’s Louisville Show. “And then in 2013 at Louisville,” Schutz told RVBUSINESS.com, “we’ll launch an all-new line of air conditioners. So, there’s a bunch of really nice new enhancements coming to the present product that we’ll show in Louisville and that we’ll start shipping in early 2013. And then, at the 2013 Louisville Show, we’ll be shipping an all-new line of air conditioners for early 2014.”
Although it sells some to distributors, Dometic takes a factory-direct approach to aftermarket distribution through 3,800 dealers and nearly 2,000 service centers across the U.S. and Canada. The rest go to RV manufacturers.
Dometic, whose European parent company has 22 plants worldwide, manufactures the HP and Cool Cat in Elkhart, Ind.