In the nearly six months since it acquired the company, Forest River Inc. has restructured the former Coachmen RV Co. into six internal divisions under the leadership of former Coachmen President Michael R. Terlep.
Forest River in December purchased the Coachmen RV brand along with its manufacturing facilities in Middlebury, Ind., and Centerville, Mich. — creating its own Coachmen RV division — from Coachmen Industries Inc.
“The integration has gone remarkably well,” Terlep said. “It was a great move for Forest River and it was a great move for our brand and our customers.”
Each of five Coachmen RV divisions has a general manager and its own plant in Coachmen’s Middlebury manufacturing campus: Class A, Dave Miller; Class C, Mike Bear; laminated travel trailer, Bob Dumm; conventional travel trailer, John Babcock; and fifth-wheel, Don Medd. Folding camping trailers are being built in Centerville under General Manager Gar Warlick.
“We just ripped the complexity and cost out of our structure,” Terlep said. “Our overhead is running an absolute fraction of the matrix organization we ran before. Basically, we are getting all of the advantages and benefits of being Forest River and all the reductions in complexity and cost with timeliness of our product to the market.
“We are going to be a high-volume producer in the industry.”
Terlep said the Coachmen RV division is in the process of reintroducing the Mirada Class A motorhome as an entry level coach that will be available at the end of June.
He said the company also has just introduced the Freedom Express lightweight laminated travel trailer, shown at left, in lengths of 20 to 29 feet, and in January introduced the wood-and-aluminum Catalina travel trailer brand with an average price of $17,000.
Also, the Chaparral fifth-wheel has been “totally revamped,” according to Terlep, and a new fifth-wheel line is under development. “They are perfectly positioned for the market,” he said.
“We are signing up a lot of new dealers, and in some cases we are doubling plant rates, depending on orders.
“The big thing is that this is an all-new Coachmen RV and with that comes a tremendous amount of confidence and newness. This team is fired up, despite challenging market conditions.”