Sweden-based Dometic Group, global supplier to the RV, marine, lodging, truck, automotive and medical markets, recently appointed a new president and CEO.
According to a press release, Roger Johansson took the helm on Nov. 8 and began touring the United States to get familiar with the company’s operations and markets. He also attended the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., in late November, and was impressed by the industry’s optimism for the coming year.
“Roger was accompanied at the RVIA show by Doug Whyte, president of Dometic Americas,” said Dave Schutz, vice president of OEM sales and marketing. “He was impressed by the quality and innovation across the board, and how well Dometic’s advances and product ideas resonated with the newest and smartest RV developments.”
While the global economy is not as strong as it has been in the past, Johansson noted that it is encouraging to see the American RV market is actually growing. Dometic’s RV division has also enjoyed growth in the last couple of years as manufacturing and assembly operations have moved to Elkhart, Ind., from both Sweden and Mexico, adding over 200 jobs.
Johansson previously served as CEO of BE Group, a leading trading and services group in steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Other prior experiences include vice president of General Motors in Europe and president of Trelleborg Automotive in Sweden.
“Roger’s background in the automotive industry provided him with a real appreciation for some of the unique products at the show,” Schutz said. “He’ll be returning to the U.S. again in a couple months and is looking forward to visiting many of our OEM customers.”
RV.com, a website powered by industry supplier Dometic Corp., now includes a new Dealer Center offering several dealer classified advertising packages and an enhanced interactive dealer locator.
“We want to help dealers have more web-based sales opportunities because more and more consumers are turning to the Internet for shopping and product research,” said Kimberly Bennett, e-commerce manager for Dometic USA. “So we created more dealer advertising tools and we expanded our dealer locator to include Canadian dealers, allowing them to reach more consumers and help consumers find those dealers that are close to them, whether they’re at home or on the road.”
The new Dealer Center classified ad packages give dealers the ability to personalize their plans by selecting both how many units they want to list and for how long. They can access their listings throughout the entire subscription period in order to update ads as often as desired, including the 24-photo cache that comes with each listing.
If a unit is sold or a dealer wants to test a new listing, any active listing can be replaced with a new one at no additional cost. Dealers can also monitor each ad’s performance with RV.com’s impression and click tracking program.
RV.com also allows visitors to browse RVs for sale based on size, manufacturer and location, plus an online catalog of RV accessories from Dometic with a dealer locator button on each product page so consumers can find a Dometic dealer nearby when they’re ready to make a purchase. In addition, RV.com contains an industry news section, blog articles from featured RV writers, and RV tips gathered from a variety of sources, including contributions from website visitors.
“It’s our mission to make RV.com our dealer partners’ best lead generation tool. With thousands of unique visitors every day, RV.com puts dealers’ inventory and contact information in front of serious customers who are ready to make a purchase,” Bennett explained. “We really enjoy helping them make those connections so everyone can get what they need, and we can all end up with happy customers and happy RVers.”
Visit www.RV.com/Dealer-Center/login.aspx to sign up for a free dealer membership, or contact your Dometic sales representative for more information.
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.
Key industry supplier Dometic Corp. displayed several new products during this week’s 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., including the new 300 RV toilet and Breathe Easy air purifier.
According to a press release, the lightweight 300 RV toilet utilizes Dometic’s PowerFlush Gravity Discharge, a powerful swirl-jet action that removes waste completely. A three-direction nozzle provides 360-degree cleaning action with minimal water usage. The full-size residential-style seat and china bowl, available in standard or low-profile height, present contemporary styling with a rim design that prevents spills or overflow. An optional hand spray is available. It carries a two-year limited warranty with a 10-year limited warranty on the bowl finish.
Other upgrades include improved directional pressurized rim wash, better foot pedal ergonomics and increased reliability in its water valve and spring cartridge. Installation labor is reduced because there are no shrouds or covers to install, saving money and time.
First introduced as a prototype at last year’s Louisville show, the Breathe Easy has been fully developed into a compact portable unit that purifies up to 800 cubic feet of air.
It combines innovative photocatalytic nano-mesh technology and ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy airborne biological contaminants such as mold spores, bacteria, pollen, viruses, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and chemical fumes. Its process has been proven to reduce volatile organic compounds up to 96% and bacteria and fungi by 99%.
In addition to cleaning the air, the Breathe Easy eliminates unpleasant odors from irritants such as pets, smoke, cooking, cleaners and gasoline. It is UL, California Air Resources Board (CARB), CE, and E-Mark certified and is safe to use around people, pets or plants without ventilation.
The Breathe Easy system’s RV version has the capability to be applied to any existing Dometic RV air conditioner or heat pump system, but being portable, it can be set up in homes, boats, pet areas, trucks – wherever users see a need. Its AC/DC operation and compact size (only about six inches by five inches, and two inches thick) make it extra versatile and able to be used just about anywhere. A worldwide power adapter with plugs and a 12V DC power plug are included. Plus, the UV bulb is easy to replace, and the unit operates quietly with two fan speeds.
RVers can now rest easy on the new Better Homes & Gardens mattress collection by Serta, available only from Dometic. The companies recently announced an exclusive agreement to offer this line of mattresses now being made specifically for RVs, according to a news release.
“Serta’s track record and reputation for building quality mattresses is a good fit for our continued mission to provide only the best to our customers,” stated Brad Sargent, vice president of marketing. “This collection is a perfect addition to the Dometic family of RV products.”
Serta’s Better Homes and Gardens mattress collection for RVs consists of the Horizon Innerspring mattress, Adventurer Euro Top Foam mattress and Horizon Euro Top Innerspring mattress. All are available in 60-inch by 74-inch, 60-inch by 80-inch or 72-inch by 80-inch sizes.
- The entry-level Horizon Innerspring uses the Bonnell hourglass-shaped coil system with lofted fiber fill and firming foam for full support and is covered by a two-year replacement warranty.
- The Adventurer model features a dense foam core with three inches of pressure-relieving egg-crate convoluted foam, two layers of luxurious memory-foam style comfort foam, and Euro Top surface. The Adventurer is designed to fit smaller bedroom floorplans and is covered by a five-year replacement warranty.
- The Horizon Euro Top is the top of the line in the collection with a Bonnell coil system, three inches of convoluted foam and two layers of comfort foam finished with the soft and supportive Euro Top, providing the best combined technology of coils and foam for ideal comfort and support. It carries a 10-year replacement warranty.
For more information, contact a Dometic sales representative or Brad Sargent at (574) 294-2511, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dometic Group has introduced a new RV air conditioning system that combines a 15,000-BTU air compressor, residential-style air duct system and Comfort Control Center to create the most power-efficient AC system available for RV use.
According to Brad Sargent, vice president of marketing for Dometic USA, the QuietZone Ducted Air System results in the highest-performance air conditioner and the lowest power draw in the industry.
“Because the High Performance air conditioner (HP) is so powerful, cool-down time is much better, reaching the RVer’s comfort zone faster” Sargent said in a release. “And once there, it continually makes quick adjustments to ensure the set temperature is maintained.
Vehicle manufacturers can choose a single-zone LCD thermostat or a comfort Control Center II multi-zone thermostat for precision control of their internal climate preferences.
Combined with the HP’s three-speed blower and QuietZone’s other components, the system delivers a 26% higher airflow while decreasing noise and vibration in comparision to previous generations. Contributing to this is the placement of the top-mount unit away from living spaces below.
“The HP’s top-mount installation is extremely fast and easy with Molex 110-volt connectors, saving installation time and money,” Sargent said. “We also provide expert application specialists for on-site design assistance and maximum efficiency in the production process — and we have access to the industry’s only full-scale environmental test facilities to optimize overall performance and comfort.
For more information on the QuietZone, visit www.Dometic.com/Duotherm, or contact Dometic at (574) 294-2511.
The county, once described as “the white-hot center of the national recession,” was named the top destination for corporate expansion among metropolitan areas with populations of less than 200,000 in 2009. It also earned Site Selection Magazine’s Governor’s Cup for the year.
“The EDC is currently working in partnership with existing businesses, the state of Indiana and utility companies for new and diversified investment opportunities,” said EDC President Dorinda Heiden-Guss.
Secretary of State Mitch Roob, the CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., presented data about the state’s improving economic climate – with Elkhart County as a major contributor. The event was sponsored by Indiana Michigan Power and NIPSCO.
The honorees, the value of their investments and their products or services were:
- All American Group of Elkhart and Middlebury, which builds systems-built houses and specialty vehicles, $3.5 million.
- Dometic Corp. of Elkhart, which manufactures goods for the RV, truck, marine and hotel industries, $6.8 million.
- Dwyer Instruments of Wakarusa, which provides industrial controls such as gages, switches and transmitters, $505,000.
- InterCambio Express of Elkhart and Goshen, which provides the service of transferring money to Central American and South American countries, $700,000.
- izzy+, which makes furniture, $640,000.
- Kem Krest of Elkhart, which provides supply chain management solutions, $3.3 million.
- Navistar International Corp., which makes electric trucks at its Wakarusa plant, $39.2 million.
- Syndicate Systems Inc. of Middlebury, which makes household furniture, $460,000.
- THINK North America, which makes electric cars, $56.2 million.
- Truck Accessories Group of Elkhart, which makes fiberglass, plastic and aluminum components, $2.45 million.
In his presentation, Roob said job commitments in the state by early August had already climbed to 16,556, far above last year’s total 10,679 and a significant improvement over the pre-recession 14,956 in 2006. (See Chart.)
The number of projects was up to 115, compared to 89 for all last year, and investment was already at $2.74 billion, nearly three times the 2009 total. Wages from the IEDC projects are at the national average, far about the state average.
The growth was achieved with a modest cost to the state for expenses such as tax credits, training grants and infrastructure assistance.
Indiana is one of only nine states with the top rank from all three credit rating agencies and enjoys lower business tax and regulation than almost any other state, he noted.
Last year, Elkhart County was the location of 15 deals in the state – second only to the Indianapolis area, and including 3,512 job commitments more than any other county.
The Economic Development Corp. (EDC) of Elkhart County, Ind., recently honored Dometic among 10 companies for their commitment to leadership in the growth and prosperity of the local economy.
About 100 people were in attendance at the 2010 Investors Meeting during which the EDC identified and showed appreciation to the companies with congratulatory remarks and the presentation of crystal globe awards, according to a news release.
Keynote speaker Mitch Roob, CEO of the Indiana EDC, talked about Elkhart County’s impressive efforts to bring commerce to the area over the last year, and Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Elkhart EDC, said companies working with them announced the investment of $245 million in 2009, resulting in 4,700 new jobs.
“We’re elated to have Dometic among our existing manufcaturers growing and expanding in Elkhart County,” said Heiden-Guss. “Dometic was our success story, as they surpassed their 10-year-goal their first year.”
Dometic promised 241 jobs between its Elkhart and LaGrange facilities but has created almost 400, just over 300 of those in Elkhart. Dometic was third highest in investment dollars among the companies honored at the meeting, spending $6.8 million in equipment and facilities.
“We were very honored to be recognized by the EDC,” said Doug Whyte, Dometic president. “We’ve moved factory operations here from overseas and constructed new facilities for product assembly and manufacturing because Elkhart is a great place to work and do business. This award is very meaningful to us.”
The law’s intent was to protect campground owners, their guests and Californians at large from potential hazardous effects from products containing bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformadelhyde and paradichlorobenzene.
Debbie Sipe, CalARVC director, told RVBUSINESS.com that due to the large amount of chemical-related bills presented to the California legislature in recent years, the governor created the Green Chemistry Initiative. The initiative is a way to better address these bills through scientific research done by the Department of Toxics and Substance Control (DTSC).
The DTSC previously told CalARVC it would be taking on more broadly affected chemicals first before they addressed AB 1824, since it concerned a smaller niche market.
Sipe said CalARVC knew this was a risk when it submitted the bill for consideration, but still felt hopeful after it passed through all other levels of legislation with huge bipartisan support and only three nay votes.
“The governor vetoed it because he wants all of this to go through the Green Chemistry Initiative,” Sipe said. “We had lobbied the governor’s office and had letters to his office and we were hoping we could get through because we are a smaller niche.”
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., a manufacturer of holding tank chemicals for both the marine and RV markets, Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Ind., a Thetford competitor, and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) opposed the bill – essentially urging the state of California to back up their reasons with science that proves these chemicals are fouling up septic systems.
In response to the veto, Kevin Phillips, Thetford’s vice president of sales and marketing, stated, “RVIA and other concerned industry organizations rallied together and helped to provide education and understanding regarding this bill. Without them, this veto, which preserves consumer choice in RV deodorants, may not have been achieved.”
CalARVC will hold a meeting to discuss its next steps and will be asking manufacturing companies to do their best to push and promote organic-based products.
“We failed in our efforts, but we hope the manufacturers will back the campground industry and help support us,” Sipe said.
CalARVC also plans to submit a list of green-based products as the recommended guide for consumers and will be adding an educational section to its website to educate people about environmentally-friendly products.
More opposition has emerged to AB 1824, a controversial California bill that would ban the use of holding tank products containing six specific chemicals – bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformaldehyde and paradichlorobenzene.
To date, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., a manufacturer of holding tank chemicals for both the marine and RV markets, had been the only vocal opponent to the proposed legislation.
Now, Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Ind., a Thetford competitor, would specifically like the inclusion of bronopol pulled from the bill, and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has stepped up to oppose the bill in its entirety.
RVIA’s position is apparently similar to that of Thetford’s in that both are asking the state of California for better science – more proof – that these chemicals are fouling up septic systems in the state. Thetford contends that use patterns – the fact that many people often dump holding tanks in a short period of time – is a more serious root cause of septic system problems.
“We do not feel that we have been shown any science that shows that the six chemicals that are being banned are going to address the problem,” said Diane Farrell, RVIA vice president of government affairs. “It seems like a remedy and yet we have not seen the right data pointing us to the problem at hand. California is a leader in the green movement, and one of the premises of that is to get chemicals into the hands of the scientists and this seems to be avoiding that process.”
The bill is moving swiftly, having passed out of both the Senate Toxics and Environmental Quality and Appropriations committees in the last two weeks. Next it goes to the full Senate and then, if it passes, to the California governor’s desk for a signature. Estimates are that that could happen by August or September at the latest.
Meanwhile, one of the most ardent proponents of the bill, the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), is unswayed by RVIA’s opposition and Dometic’s request to pull bronopol from the bill.
“Dometic has put a letter in opposition suggesting that bronopol be pulled from the bill and that is when we had to dig deeper into the science,” explained Debbie Sipe, executive director for CalARVC.
According to Sipe, the California Department of Toxics and Substance Control has looked into this question, but is coming up with inconclusive results. So, CalARVC will continue to support the bill as it stands.
“Fundamentally all chemicals, even green chemicals, have a risk associated with them,” explained Ed McKiernan, Dometic director of development for product sanitation at Dometic’s plant in Big Prairie, Ohio. “When you ban chemicals and just say ‘this is banned,’ you don’t know what all the consequences could be. In the case of this law, one of my biggest fears is that it is going to cause more difficulty and more harm to campground septic systems than if the law didn’t happen.”
In fact, McKiernan claims banning these chemicals, which come from a list assembled 10 years ago by Dr. Katherine Farrell-Poe, PhD, of the University of Arizona, will have virtually no positive effect on the environment.
“The level of bronopol that is used in a 40-gallon tank will virtually have no impact on a septic system based on studies that have been done at sewage treatment plants,” McKiernan explained. “At the time the list was put together it was thought that bronopol was another name for formaldehyde, and it’s not. There has been a lot of research done and it is clearly a different product. Bronopol is a good chemical because it is cost-effective, does a good job of odor control at high temperatures and has very minimal environmental impact.”
McKiernan said RV owners can – and often do – use alternative products that contain ammonium compounds, calcium nitrates or enzymes/bacteriological kinds of additives.
“The difficulty with those three alternatives is there are issues with biodegradability and odor control,” he said. “Nitrates are not removed when they go to the septic tank. They go into the leach field. You are going to be adding more nitrates and causing a bigger problem for the environment.”
Some of the greener products generally don’t work at high temperatures, according to McKiernan, and in the state of California where high temperatures are the norm, he maintained, fighting bad odors could become a way of life for the RV enthusiast.
When you take away products containing bronopol, McKiernan maintained, RV owners will likely start using homemade concoctions containing things like Drano or bleach, which kill all the bacteria in a septic system. “This will have a very negative environmental effect,” he said.
“We want to do the right thing environmentally, but we want to do the right thing by giving the RV owner products that work in high temperatures,” McKiernan added.
McKiernan would like to see California do an in-depth study on bronopol to gain a clearer understanding before passing the bill as it stands.