Three RV industry veterans have formed a new company – Heritage One Inc. - to build Due West travel trailers that are expected to begin shipping in mid- April.
“We are currently seeking dealers and everything is in the process to get our Canadian approvals,” said Steve Smith, vice president of sales and marketing and a former Monaco Coach Corp. executive.
Other owners of the new firm are President Paul Miller, formerly with Newmar Corp., and Vice President of Production Tony Newman, formerly with Travel Supreme.
“The economy concerns us, but this is the industry that all of us have been in pretty much our full careers,” Smith said. “And we have access to extremely skilled employees. With what’s happening in the RV industry, everybody is headed for towable products.”
Operating out of a 60,000-square-foot factory in Nappanee, Ind., Heritage One will offer Due West travel trailers in five 24- to 33-foot wood-and-aluminum floorplans with up to two slideouts. The company primarily will market Due West east of the Rockies because of transportation costs.
“The thing that distinguishes us is that we did an extreme in-depth study of the product that is out there being offered and what has been successful in the marketplace,” Smith said. “We’ve done our own spin on the most popular floorplans. One of the things that surprised us was it wasn’t the least expensive models that were seeing the most success.”
Smith said a void has been left on dealers’ lots with the recent bankruptcy of Monaco and Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. and Pilgrim International Corp. closing down.
“There are a lot of dealers out there wondering what product lines they’re going to fill those gaps with,” Smith said. “And stick-and-tin towables are still having some success in the marketplace.”
The entry-level Due West features queen beds, pass-through storage, linoleum floors, solid wood drawer and cabinet fronts and antique bronze fixtures. MSRPs start at $14,500.
“A special characteristic that we look forward to bringing to the table is a flexibility dealers are not used to seeing in this type of product,” Smith said.
Newmar Corp. doubled its Class A motorhome market share in January compared to January 2008, the company noted in a news release.
The Nappanee, Ind.-based manufacturer cited the latest data compiled by Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., showing that Class A motorhome retail registrations in January of this year showed a 61% decline vs. the numbers a year prior. In the face of these declining numbers, Newmar experienced an increase of its Class A motorhome market share from 3.2% in January 2008 vs. 7.6% in January 2009. Newmar’s market share growth was 136.3%.
“Although one month’s worth of data does not make it a trend, this is welcome news and a good sign for Newmar and its dealers,” said John Sammut, Newmar vice president of sales and marketing. “Newmar will continue to work hard through the 2009 calendar year, but this certainly is a strong start to the year for our company.”
Newmar ‘s growth in market share came from both the gas and diesel motorhome segments of its Class A business.
“The improvements made to the interior and exterior designs of Newmar’s 2009 motorhome product line up appear to be having a positive impact even in a declining motorhome market,” added Pat Terveer, Newmar’s director of sales. “Developing great looking product at a great value will continue to be our company’s focus.”