American Coach, the luxury motorcoach division of Fleetwood RV Inc., today (Aug. 23) announced its participation in the American Coach Association’s national rally, “It’s Showtime in the Ozarks.” According to a press release, the owners club event will be held at America’s Best Campground in Branson, Mo., Aug. 26 to Sept. 1.
Showcased at the rally will be the latest floorplans and features from American Coach’s 2014 product lineup. Dealer representatives from Transwest RV in Belton, Mo., will be available to assist customers and answer any questions. Attendees will also have the opportunity to join roundtable discussions with suppliers and the American Coach management team, where owners can learn more about the features and functionality of their coach.
There will be a meet-and-greet session with Mindy Cox, American Coach interior designer, on Aug. 31 at 2 p.m. at the American Coach product display. The American Coach Rally Experience Team will also be on hand to provide complimentary service to American Coach owners attending the event. Many OEM suppliers like Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. will also be on-site to address service needs or questions.
“Our dedicated service team looks forward to connecting with our customers in Branson and providing American Coach owners with the service and support they deserve,” said John Draheim, CEO and president of Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV. “It is also an exceptional opportunity for us to directly hear the voice of our customers, thank them for their loyalty and gather their meaningful feedback on our products.”
For more information about the Rally, including how to register or to download a schedule of events, visit http://americancoach.com/owners/events.asp.
American Coach, the luxury coach division of Fleetwood RV Inc., announced that it has added Johnson RV located in Sandy, Ore., to its dealer network. According to a press release, the location will also be an authorized American Coach service center.
“We are pleased to welcome Johnson RV to the American Coach family,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV. “They’ve carried a lineup of Fleetwood products for several years, and it’s been great to see the business flourish. They have a growing expertise in premium coaches, so it’s a natural fit for American Coach.”
“Adding American Coach to our selection of luxury motorcoaches will further help our customers achieve their lifestyle, travel goals and dreams,” says Brandon Johnson, president and CEO of Johnson RV. “American Coach is well known in the industry for its sophisticated design and innovative engineering. I’m confident adding this well-known brand to our lineup will have a positive impact on our business and the customers we serve.”
Johnson RV is a family owned business in the greater Portland area, recently recognized by the Portland Business Journal as a Top-100 fastest-growing private company. The company is a Better Business Bureau Accredited business and maintains an “A” rating.
For more information about Johnson RV, visit www.johnsonrv.com
Luxury motorhome builder Newmar Corp. honored this year’s Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Award winners during the company’s recently completed dealer meeting at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Dallas.
According to a press release, the award is presented to dealers that scored in a pre-determined percentile based on results from customer surveys. Fourteen Newmar dealers earned the distinction by providing excellent customer service to Newmar customers receiving warranty work.
The 2012 award winners include: Ansley RV, Duncansville, Pa.; Buddy Gregg Motorhomes, Knoxville, Tenn.; Coachlight RV Sales Inc., Carthage, Mo.; Dick Gore’s RV World, Jacksonville, Fla.; Freedom RV, Tucson, Ariz.; Harper Camperland, Great Bend, Kan.; Independence RV Sales & Service, Winter Garden, Fla.; Midtown RV LTD, Penticton, B.C.; Midway Motor Homes Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.; Mount Comfort RV, Greenfield, Ind.; North Trail RV Center, Fort Myers, Fla.; Professional Sales RV, Colleyville, Texas; Steinbring Motorcoach, Garfield, Minn.; Tom Johnson Camping Center, Marion, N.C.
“Newmar values highly our relationship with our dealer partners and mutual customers,” said Matt Utley, vice president of service operations for the Nappanee, Ind.-based builder. “The Newmar Service Excellence Survey is the measuring stick used to verify our customers are receiving the highest level of customer service.
“As confirmed by their customers, the dealers earning the Newmar Service Excellence Award, as well as the prestigious Mahlon Miller Service Excellence Award, possess a strong commitment to customer satisfaction throughout their entire organization. We are proud of their achievements and know our customers appreciate their passion for excellence.”
Four dealers this year also earned the Mahlon Miller Service Excellence Award, including North Trail RV, Independence RV, Dick Gore’s RV and Mount Comfort RV. Miller is the founder of Newmar and the award in his name recognizes those dealerships that most embody the spirit of customer service.
“Newmar is privileged to partner with dealers who are as passionate as we are about providing excellent service to our customers,” said Newmar President Matthew Miller.
A good crowd of current and prospective dealers were on hand Tuesday morning (April 9) at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in the Dallas suburbs for the kick off of Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp.’s first national dealer meeting since the recession put a damper on the U.S. economy in 2008.
And while the all-motorized RV builder showed an array of new 2014 models, family-held Newmar’s management also displayed an upbeat outlook in its presentations and an aggressive slate of new product and service initiatives unveiled this week in Texas.
“The recession’s a thing of the past,” Newmar President Matt Miller told RVBUSINESS.com, “and we’re focused on leading in product innovation and design. And, of course, we’ve always been a leader in quality and service.”
“That’s our focus to the dealers — that the recession is behind us and the future is bright,” agreed John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing. “And I think in Tuesday’s business meeting that was a repeated theme throughout, not only in the remarks to dealers, but in many of the things Matt highlighted with regard to changes in product for 2014.
“The bottom line is that we never stopped investing in the product and our company. We fulfilled all our obligations, no matter what. But that’s all behind us, and we really do think Newmar dealers in particular should feel good about their future.”
Newmar, which planned to honor its top performers in terms of customer satisfaction at a Wednesday evening ceremony, showcased an array of new features and floorplans, including several full-wall slide models and the return of the legendary Detroit Diesel engine brand. The company debuted a 500-hp DD13 version that is available on the $750,000 (retail) Essex Class A equipped with Freightliner SLR chassis.
According to Newmar, the coach comes with a steerable tag-axle and a “Virtual Technician” on-board diagnostic system through which drivers can communicate with qualified tech support when experiencing engine trouble. The Essex is also available for the same price on Spartan chassis.
Other new models drawing special attention in Dallas included a new full-wall slide variant of the company’s popular, 39-foot, $188,000 (retail) Canyon Star toy hauler Class A — the company’s top-selling floorplan — and a significant upgrade of the high-end King Aire A-body that, for $902,000 (retail), has been positioned as an affordable option for today’s bus conversion buyer. The builder also showed the Ventana Class A, retailing for $284,000, offering new floorplans and additional length in some models.
The King Aire, like the rest of Newmar’s lines, comes with TRW’s Comfort Drive steering developed for dramatically easier big rig handling — a feature that Newmar’s management is promoting through a series of test drives at rallies and shows around the country.
“One of our approaches with the King Aire is to actually take business away from the bus conversion manufacturers,” said Miller. “It has a bus look, but it’s half the price. We have provided a better drive with Comfort Drive. With its axles and suspension, it’s a better ride than bus conversions. And when you look at the inside and everything that’s on the unit, it’s a tremendous value.”
As expensive as that coach might seem to many potential American motorhome buyers, Sammut said the company has kept a strong hand in more affordable price tiers, with virtually half its coaches still being lower priced, gas-fueled coaches.
“We don’t have a down-and-dirty price point product — and we probably never will because we’re just not that kind of company,” said Sammut. “But we do have at every price point down into our gas products competitively priced and affordable product.”
Among the other key initiatives at Tuesday’s presentations:
• A continued emphasis on improving the company’s 13-year-old customer service index (CSI) program.
• A substantial investment toward a website upgrade to better display product in a more user-friendly manner and facilitate more lead generation.
• Enhanced product branding in the trade and consumer press.
• A closer focus on the value of plant tours as a viable branding and sales tool.
• A retained emphasis on Newmar’s sales and executive management teams working and supporting rallies and shows.
• Opting to continue for a fourth year the “Newmar Product Road Show” through which the company’s senior management and spouses visit selected dealers around the country.
• Stepping up the focus on training dealers and retail sales personnel through the company’s newly launched Newmar Professional Product Institute.
• Revitalizing the company’s Dealer Advisory Board.
Middlebury, Ind.-based Entegra Coach, the luxury motorhome division of Jayco Inc., has rolled out a “redesigned, responsive website,” according to a press release. The site features new interactive elements and is designed to automatically optimize across all user devices, including desktops, smartphones and tablets.
The redesigned site, found at www.EntegraCoach.com, has a refreshed visual design and provides a unique user experience. Using “responsive design,” Entegra Coach’s website automatically detects a user’s viewing device, screen size and device orientation. The site then seamlessly adjusts for optimal viewing, minimizing the amount of resizing, panning and scrolling needed to view information.
Knowing that almost 50% of smartphone owners use their device to research products, Entegra Coach focused on improving its mobile shopping experience. The site is packed with a host of interactive tools that add to this, including:
• HMTL5 headers and animations.
• A dynamic model overview page with shopping toolbar and rollover captioning.
• Interactive photo galleries.
• Pinch-to-zoom capability on floorplans and photos.
• Easy-to-view standards and options.
• Collapsible specifications.
Additionally, the site features a new “Cab-Forward Design” page, an interactive look at how Entegra Coach delivers a quiet-riding, smooth handling motor coach through engineering, construction and design. In addition, a digital brochure allows customers to interact with the most current version of Entegra Coach product literature.
“We wanted to update our website to fully reflect the luxury expected of the Entegra Coach brand, both in look and in features provided,” said Sid Johnson, director of marketing for Entegra Coach. “Additionally, we know our customers rely on our website for product information, and we know more of them are using mobile devices to access our site. We wanted to make sure our customers have the best possible experience regardless of the device they use.”
Nappanee, Ind.-based based Newmar Corp. has invited its dealers, as well as a number of prospective dealers, to its Partnership Meeting and 2014 product preview slated for April 9-11 at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, Texas.
According to a press release, the theme of Newmar’s gathering will be “Growing Profits through Partnership”, and will focus on ways “the company has supported and continues to support its dealers in all aspects of its business.”
In addition, Newmar will be showing attendees at the convention an exciting preview of its 2014 Newmar motorhome product that dealers in the U.S. and Canada will receive this summer.
“All of us at Newmar are extremely excited to be hosting our dealers at our upcoming event”, said Newmar President Matt Miller. “We have a strong message to share with our business partners, and some great features, floor plans and innovations to share with them in our product display this year.”
The Newmar dealers in attendance will enjoy dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday night, followed by entertainment each evening. Wednesday’s entertainment will be preceded by a Dealer Awards Ceremony, honoring Newmar’s 2012 Service Customer Satisfaction Award earners.
“This is the 13th year we have been measuring CSI at Newmar, and we are committed to continuing to work with our dealers to improve this process” said Newmar Chairman and CEO Richard Parks. “We hope that, by continuing to work with our dealers, together we can achieve excellence in customer satisfaction and grow our mutual business” he added.
Wednesday evening’s highlight will be the presentation of the coveted Mahlon Miller Service Excellence Award at the end of the ceremony. The four dealers achieving the highest CSI scores in four volume categories will earn this honor.
Liberty Coach reported a successful trip to last month’s Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, completing sales for two of the company’s luxury Prevost bus conversions, according to a press release.
“It’s a great way to start the year,” Liberty Vice President and co-owner Frank Konigseder Jr. said of the sales, which included a 2014 Prevost quad-slide already in production and another coach slated for later this year. “Three weeks into January, and we’ve already sold six of the 14 motorcoaches scheduled for production in 2013. Hopefully, it’s a sign of even better things to come.”
The same could be said for the RV business as a whole. For the second straight year, the Tampa show enjoyed record attendance and strong sales among the hundreds of exhibitors, according to the event’s sponsor, the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA).
Much of that appears to be due to substantial growth in demand for smaller vehicles and trailers. A Jan. 18 report on the show in the Tampa Bay Times noted that rapidly growing sales of smaller RVs were key to the industry’s recovery from the recession. Konigseder contends that’s “good news for everybody.”
“Today’s entry-level trailer buyer is tomorrow’s motor coach owner,” he noted. “It’s great to see people getting into the market for the first time, and discovering the joy of the RV lifestyle. The longer they stay in it, the more they aspire to own the best. And you can bet Liberty Coach will be there when they’re ready.”
German motorhome manufacturer Concorde Reisemobile GmbH recently unveiled its new Centurion 1200 motorhome at the CMT Holiday Exhibition in Stuttgart. The RVing Examiner reported that the launch of the mega-motorhome, based on the heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Actros truck chassis, had been plugged solidly on the company’s Facebook page for prior to the show. Concorde’s aptly named “Centurion” rests on the triple-axle Mercedes-Benz Actros 2542 chassis and includes full air suspension. Powered by a six-cylinder 12.8 litre engine that’s mated to a fully automatic 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift transmission. Concorde — originally established in 1981 as an RV components manufacturer — began specialist trailer production in 1982 and motor home production in 1983. To read the entire article and view additional pictures click here.
Sainte-Claire, Quebec-based Prevost Car Inc. has nearly finalized the development of a driver’s side DEF filler for all Prevost motorhome models.
According to a press release, the new component is currently undergoing testing to ensure it is fully operational with North American filling stations and will comply with “longstanding Prevost quality standards.”
A retrofit will be available for all Prevost motorhomes having EPA10 and later engines, for owners wishing to convert to a driver’s side DEF filler.
For additional information visit www.prevostcar.com.
Prevost Car Inc. has introduced a new safety feature called AWARE for all motorhome models. According to a press release, AWARE provides Prevost motorhome drivers with several tools to help avoid collisions, including:
• Adaptive Cruise – When cruise control is on, AWARE automatically adjusts the cruise speed of the vehicle to maintain a safe following distance, taking into consideration the position of the vehicle ahead. The system automatically returns the vehicle to the original cruise speed when it is safe to do so. AWARE will decrease speed to try to maintain adequate distance, utilizing engine throttle reduction, retarder or engine brake application, or service brake application, and if the system realizes that this intervention will not be sufficient, it will activate the Impact Alert to tell the driver to apply full braking.
• Impact Alert – This feature will alert the driver if the distance between coach and the vehicle ahead closes too quickly, giving the driver an opportunity to take action. Impact Alert is always active and protecting the Prevost vehicle (in cruise or not).
• Following Distance Alert – Reminds the driver to keep a safe following distance by indicating when the vehicle is following too closely to the vehicle ahead.
• Stationary Object Alert – Alerts drivers before impact with a metallic object, such as a stalled car in the flow of traffic.
Prevost said that the AWARE system allows drivers to stay in cruise control longer, increasing fuel economy. In addition, the system is integrated into the dashboard, improving driver attention, while the added safety benefits increase passenger and driver satisfaction.
A video illustrating how the AWARE system works is available on the Prevost YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn1Jo3FTH7k.
Navistar RV, a subsidiary of Navistar International Corp., announced the introduction of its 2014 Monaco Dynasty, a Class A diesel model designed for the full-time enthusiast that returns the company to its roots as a luxury coach builder.
“Our new Dynasty represents a reentry into the luxury market for Monaco,” said Bill Osborne, president, Navistar RV. “For much of its existence, Monaco has been known as a luxury coach brand. In recent years, we’ve focused on more of the middle market. Now, we’re expanding at both ends to satisfy the needs of the entry-level and the top-end customer, with even more luxury and sophistication planned for the coming year.”
In addition to the Dynasty, Monaco also recently launched the Monarch SE and Montclair Class C B-plus style motorhomes, which offer leading-edge design, styling and value for today’s diverse RV consumer. Monaco will release another top-of-the-line luxury model this coming calendar year.
Like a fine residential home, the Dynasty is equipped with all the modern amenities an owner needs to be confident and comfortable. Distinctive LED lights decorate the signature front chevron design, and the streamlined body is fully covered by five-color paint with a Durashield front mask and integrated roof mounted awnings. The air-sealed entry door has an illuminated handle with numeric key pad while the exterior mirrors are heated, power controlled and feature cameras. There’s also an available exterior entertainment center with 40-inch Sony LCD TV and DVD player.
The living room boasts a 40- or 46-inch Sony LCD TV and Blu-ray home theater system, along with rich cherry wood cabinetry, crown molding, porcelain flooring and ornamental ceiling details. An optional iPad controller can run the entertainment system and lighting. The cockpit is ergonomically designed for unmatched visibility, reach and legroom, while the chairs, beds and décor extend the residential feel. Solid-surface countertops with LED accent lighting and stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen, plus an oversized shower and tile inlays in the bathroom, provide even more at-home luxury.
The Dynasty is powered by a 475-hp MaxxForce 13 engine providing 1,700 lbs./ft. torque, three-stage engine brake and aluminum side mount radiator. The coach rides on a custom built Roadmaster chassis with 10 airbag Cushion Air Glide suspension system, adjustable tag and lifting tag axle, all standard.
“The Dynasty aims to help customers realize their retirement or recreational dreams of exploring the country through a luxury RV experience,” said Osborne. “Along with our other new Monaco introductions, and planned future launches, this coach proves that we continue to innovate for tomorrow and provide our customers with the best possible RV experience.”
Newmar Corp. announced it will introduce the Newmar Professional Product Institute (NPPI) at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) National RV Trade Show, Nov. 27-29 in Louisville, Ky. According to a press release, the comprehensive training program will be on display and demonstrated in the Newmar exhibit Booth No. 3501 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.
The Newmar Professional Product Institute is an online training academy and certification program designed for retail salespersons selling Newmar motorhome brands at dealerships across the U.S. and Canada. NPPI was developed by Newmar in conjunction with CVC Communications based in Fort Wayne, Ind., which has developed online training curriculum for dozens of companies nationwide, including several Fortune 500 companies.
“Newmar’s objective was to develop a new standard in product training in the RV industry that embraces the salesperson new to selling Newmar product, while still challenging the seasoned Newmar sales professional,” said John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing for the Nappanee, Ind.-based builder. “With the expertise of CVC Communications, we feel we’ve accomplished our goal with the Newmar Professional Product Institute.”
The Newmar on-line training will consist of 14 modules covering many elements of the company, as well as courses on each of its nine motorhome lines. Newmar retail sales personnel completing all 14 modules and passing each course will earn exclusive Newmar apparel. Other premiums for NPPI graduates are also being developed.
Jayco Inc. announced plans today (Nov. 5) to expand its headquarters in Middlebury, Ind., creating up to 65 new jobs by 2015.
According to a news release, Jayco will invest $2.9 million to add a 77,000-square-foot extension to an existing 62,000-square-foot facility in Middlebury. The new addition, slated to be complete in May, will house production for Entegra Coach, the company’s high-end motorhome line.
Jayco, which currently employs more than 1,700 workers on its 373 acre-campus in Middlebury, plans to begin filling additional manufacturing positions this spring.
“Northern Indiana has been our primary base of operation since the company was founded in 1968,” said Wilbur Bontrager, chairman and CEO of Jayco. “The strengthening economy, Jayco’s market share growth, available labor force and Indiana’s business-friendly environment all combine to give us the confidence to make this expansion move now. We look forward to continuing to work with both state and local government to create jobs and to boost our company’s momentum.”
Founded in 1968 by Lloyd J. Bontrager in two chicken coops and a barn, Jayco has grown to become the third largest recreational vehicle manufacturer in the United States and Canada, selling to more than 500 dealers around the world. With the goal of being landfill free by 2015, Jayco recycled 5,438 tons of wood, 1,332 tons of scrap metal and 793 tons of cardboard last year.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Jayco up to $775,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The town of Middlebury supports this project at the request of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County.
“The town of Middlebury is pleased to see that Jayco is doing well,” said Mark Salee, town manager of Middlebury. “The town is committed to supporting all the businesses in Middlebury, especially a company such as Jayco. This expansion of the Jayco facilities is a good sign of economic growth in our community.”
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels noted, “Jobs announcements from RV manufacturing leaders like Jayco further prove that Elkhart County is coming back stronger than ever. Elkhart remains the RV capital of the world and is a major center of economic strength for Indiana thanks to our state’s enterprise-friendly policies and remarkably skilled workforce.”
Karl Blade, president of Newell Coach Corp., took a wait-and-see attitude in late August to an uptick in sales of the $1 million-plus motorcoaches his Miami, Okla., company builds.
”We hope it continues,” Blade said. ”But we are not going to increase production until we see some solid evidence that the market is improving. We endured a market that plateaued on us after we got out of the depths of the Great Recession and we are now back on a regular production schedule.”
That means that Newell is on schedule to build 24 luxury motorcoaches this year, six to eight of which will be customized ”production” models for buyers who don’t want to wait the six months it takes to design and build a personally customized Newell motorhome.
”We’ve done a lot of product upgrades, the most recent was new styling front and back,” Blade said. ”There’s a lot more chrome trim.”
Additionally, Newell recently began installing electronic steering and an active suspension system in its coaches, and earlier this year designed a new centralized control system that can be operated with an iPad.
Newell, a legendary brand in the luxury motorcoach segment, was founded in 1967 by L.K. Newell, who purchased California-based Streamline Trailer Co. and moved it to Oklahoma.
Blade, who bought the company in 1979, said Newell has adapted as the luxury coach market changed over the last decade. ”The use pattern has gravitated toward destination luxury resorts and less toward clubs and rallies that are sponsored by the manufacturers,” Blade said.
Newell has sales locations at the Motorcoach Country Club and Desert Shores Motorcoach Resort, both in Indio, Calif., where Blade spends the winter promoting Newell products.
Newell also has a sales representative in Florida who travels the state displaying Newell Coaches at high-end resorts. ”Florida has a greater geographic dispersion of high-end resorts, while California resorts are centered in Indio,” Newell said.
Newell earlier this year signed an agreement with Tom Johnson Camping Center, Marion, N.C., to act as a Newell agent and provide service for Newell motorcoaches. ”They work with the prospect, but it is a Newell Coach sale directly from the factory,” Blade said.
Editor’s Note: The following blog appears in Penta, a publication of Barron’s magazine, offering a tongue-in-cheek critique of the high-end, luxury motorhome market authored by Richard Rescigno. According to the Barron’s website, Penta provides the affluent with advice on how to find the hidden value in wealth management, how to make savvy acquisitions ranging from vintage watches to second homes, and how to smartly manage family dynamics.
Other than a crater on Mars or the interior of Mr. Met’s mascot outfit, there are few spaces I’d ever considered myself less likely to occupy than the driver’s seat of a 43-foot-one-inch-long, 12-foot-10-inch-high, 450-horsepower, diesel-engined recreational vehicle.
But that’s where I sat briefly last week, while examining the interior of a $437,444 Entegra Anthem motorhome, parked at one of the most imposing vehicle emporiums on the planet—the Lazydays supercenter in Seffner, Fla., five miles east of Tampa.
The mission: Glimpse the allure of upscale RVs.
These vehicles have it all: huge wraparound windshields that provide panoramic views; fine wood cabinetry; quartz countertops; plush bathrooms; electric fireplaces, and standard-size fridges to keep that 1999 Dom Perignon chilled. And most have at least one side that can slide out when the vehicle is parked, expanding the interior. Two slides provide a space bigger than some New York studio apartments; four, enough room for Octomom’s brood.
The Anthem, built by the Entegra Coach division of privately held RV maker Jayco, features an electrically operated outside awning, beneath which sits a 32-inch TV, attached to the vehicle’s side. (When not in use, it’s protected by a flip-down cover.) Toss in a Direct TV receiver and a couple of lawn chairs, and you, o rugged pioneer, could enjoy the evening air somewhere in the Rockies while watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Mob Wives.
Who said American ingenuity is dead?
To read the entire article click here.