Entegra Coach Growth Prompts Building Plans
When Jayco Inc. announced a doubling of its manufacturing space last year for its Entegra Coach Class A motorhome operations, Jayco had anticipated at least a two, if not a three-year stay in the current facility, said Tadd Jenkins, president of the newly renamed Jayco Motorhome Group. “We didn’t make that,” he said.
“The market is demanding more supply,” said Jenkins, whose Middlebury, Ind., firm yesterday (Aug. 20) announced the construction of a new facility for Entegra production, which is set to open in the first half of 2015 and should result in an additional 50 employees by the end of the year.
While the new plant will increase Entegra’s existing manufacturing space from 150,000 square feet to 175,000 square feet, it will free up Entegra’s production capacity for Jayco Class C motorhome production, giving it a second dedicated manufacturing plant. “The motorized team continues to exceed expectations, leading to enormous growth and success of the division,” Jayco President and CEO Derald Bontrager stated in Wednesday’s release.
“Our retail registrations are up and doing well,” Jenkins told RVBUSINESS.com. “Our renewed focus on motorized as a company is laser-focused today. The divisions operate independently and our success is dependent on our drive to make it happen, to get market share, to make a product our customer wants to buy, not that we want to sell.”
That laser focus involves blending Jayco’s long history as a manufacturer with customer loyalty and “growing that on steroids,” said Jenkins, whose division markets the upscale Aspire, Anthem and Cornerstone Class A lines.
Although Jenkins said he monitors the motorized market in general, that’s not his primary mission in developing the motorized business as much as it is the overall customer experience and establishing relationships with the end-consumer at rallies and elsewhere. It’s a process that, for Jayco’s management, typically includes such things as passing out business cards to consumers that include managers’ cell phone numbers for future personal contact.
“I know if we focus and give them a great product and a great experience, they’re going to enjoy it and they’re going to tell their friends about it,” he noted.
All of these efforts, along with the company’s restructuring, should benefit Jayco, its dealers and its customers as the tradition-clad RV builder continues to pursue a grow path for its motorized lines, Jenkins said.
“I do not believe that Thor is my competitor,” said Jenkins, referring to the Thor Motor Coach division of Thor Industries Inc. “Yes, Thor is a competitor, but, 100%, I believe that Disneyworld is my competitor. If I don’t build a good quality product that gives an amazing experience to my customer, they’re going to sell that product and go to Disney on an airplane.
“Our greatest challenge is not the next cool thing to build, not in the line rate, not in recruiting good workers,” he noted. “Our greatest challenge is offering the same level of customer service when we have 4,000 units on the road as we do now when have 1,500 units on the road, and we’re going to do that. We won’t forget who brought us to the dance.”