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New Monaco Dynasty Targets Luxury Segment

November 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

2014 Monaco Dynasty

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.”

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Holiday Rambler Marks 60th, Eyeing Louisville

November 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

1954 Holiday Rambler travel trailer

Navistar RV, a subsidiary of Navistar International Corp., will mark the 60th anniversary of its Holiday Rambler brand at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show, Nov. 27-29 in Louisville, Ky.

According to a press release, the companywill also introduce three model-year 2014 vehicles. The new Presidential will reestablish Holiday Rambler’s presence in the luxury fifth-wheel category while the company will continue to build and sell motorhomes with the reintroduction of its Augusta Class C B-plus style coach and the new Vacationer, an entry-level class A gas coach.

“We are very pleased to mark the 60th anniversary of Holiday Rambler, a preeminent brand in the history of recreational vehicles,” said Bill Osborne, president, Navistar RV. “Throughout its long life, Holiday Rambler’s success has been fueled by its pioneering spirit, including countless innovations that helped create a new way for families to go exploring and enjoy a rich, rewarding life.”

The first Holiday Rambler was a travel trailer introduced to the public in 1953. In 1961, the brand’s introduction of aluminum body framing ushered in an era of lighter, stronger and more durable RVs. Alumaframe became the standard for RVs for 40 years. Holiday Rambler was also responsible for many firsts, including built-in refrigerators, holding tanks and aerodynamic radiused corners. As Holiday Rambler moved into motorhomes, it was the first with tag axles, and its kitchen slideout revolutionized interior engineering in the field. Holiday Rambler was sold to the Monaco Coach Corp. in 1996, now a part of Navistar.

“While we are proud of Holiday Rambler’s rich history, we aren’t stuck in it,” Osborne added. “We continue to introduce new designs, exciting new options and features, and wonderfully realized floorplans that can accommodate the changing needs of consumers.”

Holiday Rambler Presidential fifth-wheel

The new Presidential is a maneuverable and roomy fifth-wheel that offers the appointments of a luxury motorized RV. A widebody design, combined with a unique chassis platform, provides industry-leading exterior storage with both front and rear pass-through storage. Premium construction methodologies include a 100% gel-coat exterior (no metal skirt), thicker laminated walls, composite structure panels, frameless windows and arched roof trusses.

Notable interior features include Lane-brand leather furniture, a fireplace and pull-out desk, flatscreen TVs in the living room and bedroom, a walk-in shower and tiered bathroom vanity with vessel sink, and available dishwasher and stack washer/dryer. Storage is plentiful, with a full-size pantry, and custom dinnerware and glassware drawers.

The new Vacationer SE offers customers the high-end features of a diesel coach — Smart Structure chassis system, ergonomically designed cockpit, soft-touch ceiling and generous pass-through storage — at the lower price of a gas vehicle. The new Augusta is a maneuverable and compact motorized RV with maximum space and inventive design features including a Murphy bed that folds away to allow for a larger living area.

“These new vehicles are proof positive that Holiday Rambler continues to expand its product line and create models that aim at fulfilling the needs that are seen amongst today’s RV consumer community,” said Osborne.

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Navistar: Selling RV Unit a ‘Realistic Outcome’

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Troy Clarke

To address a number of topics prior to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th Annual National RV Trade Show, Nov. 27-29 in Louisville, Ky., Navistar International Corp. President & COO Troy Clarke agreed this week to field an array of questions on behalf of the Lisle, Ill.-based company, a global truck builder and parent company of Navistar RV. Clarke, a former GM executive like Navistar’s new chairman Lewis Campbell, joined Navistar in 2010 and assumed the reins of the company’s top day-to-day job in late August during rather turbulent times for the legendary Chicago-based firm. Here’s the highlights of that RVBUSINESS.com conversation:

RVBUSINESS.com: There have been quite a few changes for Navistar over the past several months and plenty of news reports in recent weeks about the company. What, in your view, is going on at Navistar these days?

Clarke: Yes, you’re right, we’ve had a good amount of change these past several months. One of the major announcements was the change in our engine strategy. For our commercial trucks and engines, we’ll begin to use the same emissions technology, a system called Selective Catalytic Reduction, or SCR, the same one used by our competitors. With this change in strategy, we’ve made several other important changes and announcements, including bringing on our new CEO, my boss, Lewis Campbell.

Together, Lewis and I have been working with the Navistar leadership team on a plan we call “Drive to Deliver,” which provides a renewed emphasis on our company’s North American truck and engine business and doing the things that need to be done to quickly turn the company’s performance around and drive shareholder value.

RVB: So, what are some of these things you’re doing to improve the performance of the overall company?

Clarke: Well, as we move to our new emissions technology, we’ve really tried to take some noise out of the system, address some of the criticism head-on and make some decisions that will help make this a smooth, swift and high-quality transition. We’re bringing back the Cummins ISX15 in our trucks and will use the Cummins SCR aftertreatment system for our heavy-duty engines.

We believe we have sufficient liquidity to make this transition, and we expect to end our 2012 fiscal year at the high end of our guidance of $875 million to $1.25 billion in operating cash. And, just last week we announced a public offering of stock that generated upwards of an additional $200 million to enhance our balance sheet. We did this to put to rest yet another uncertainty — the question of whether Navistar will have enough available liquidity to manage through the current industry downturn and bridge us through our new product launches throughout the year.

RVB: And how about your Navistar RV business? How will it be impacted by these developments?

Clarke: We are currently evaluating all parts of our non-core business, which we define as businesses outside our core North American truck, engine and parts businesses. We are making an assessment as to both their strategic fit and their current and anticipated return on invested capital – ROIC — using a disciplined process. We are moving quickly, and we will communicate those decisions when appropriate.

RVB: So, for the benefit of all those who regularly visit RVBUSINESS.com and generally follow the industry, the question looms: Do you consider Monaco, Holiday Rambler and R-Vision brands part of Navistar’s “core business?”

Clarke: Our focus is on restoring our North American truck, engine and parts businesses to their market leading positions. While we view our RV business as an important part of our what we do, we do not consider Navistar RV and our Monaco, Holiday Rambler and R-Vision brands to be a part of our “core” North American commercial truck, engine and parts business. So, RV is under review.

RVB: Then, if Navistar RV is under review, what does that mean for the Navistar RV business moving forward?

Clarke: It’s important to note that Navistar RV is not being singled out; all aspects of our business are on the table for review. As you know, there’s been some steady growth over the past few years in the RV industry, and we’re committed to the long-term viability of the RV business.

Navistar RV President Bill Osborne and the entire Navistar RV team are excited about the great new products we’re introducing at next month’s Louisville RVIA show and we are well positioned to take advantage of the growing RV industry.

RVB: What, specifically, are some of the things the company is looking to improve on the RV side of the business?

Clarke: When Navistar acquired Monaco out of bankruptcy a little more than three years ago, we implemented many changes to enhance the business. We recently completed a number of actions to improve our quality, increase efficiencies, reduce costs and better leverage the significant RV supplier base in northwest Indiana. So, many improvements have already been made.

RVB: And you closed down your Coburg, Ore., operations.

Clarke: Yes, in August of 2011, we announced the consolidation of our manufacturing operations from Coburg, Ore., to Wakarusa, Ind. and those actions are complete. Since January of this year, we have added more than 500 manufacturing employees to ramp up production in our Elkhart and Wakarusa facilities. In fact, our 2014 model year lineup and the RVs we’ll be showing next month at the Louisville Show represent the first RVs produced through our streamlined manufacturing processes. As a result, we’ll be able to provide our customers with the best combination of quality, comfort and affordability in the industry.

We’ve done some other things as well to improve the business. We’ve leveraged the sourcing and engineering strengths of Navistar to achieve improved scale, higher quality standards and improved costs. And, we also closed our Union City, Ind., RV chassis operations and have idled production of our Workhorse RV and step van chassis operations.

RVB: So, realizing that your evaluation is currently underway and looking in your crystal ball, what, realistically, does the future hold for Navistar RV? Is there a chance Navistar could sell or close its RV business?

Clarke: We are committed to the long-term viability of our RV business. With that said, there are really three potential outcomes for our RV business — close the business, sell the business or continue to invest in and grow the business.

Well, I can tell you, we have no plans to close the business and have not studied a closure scenario. It is not our plan to do so. In the last three years, we’ve made significant investments and have taken actions that have delivered improvements in the performance of the business. Right now, we are simply evaluating all of our businesses to ensure they are delivering the appropriate “Return on Invested Capital” and have the right strategic fits.

Selling the business is a realistic potential outcome and would support our efforts to maintain the future viability of the business. If a sale were to occur, Navistar would be looking to sell to a buyer who can create more value in the RV business than we can.

If someone else can maximize its value, that is ultimately best for all stakeholders. That’s another option and one that we are closely evaluating. Now, this would not be a distressed sale. We don’t have that need. As I said, we have the cash necessary to manage our emission transition plan. And, we have already made investments in the business and have taken actions that are driving improvements in the business.

RVB: Any other closing comments, Troy, or anything else you’d like our readers to know?

Clarke: Let me end with where I began. When evaluating our businesses, and in this case, Navistar RV, we are using a disciplined process to assess both return-on-invested capital and strategic fit and the close/sell/grow options. We want to make these decisions in a timely manner to address the uncertainties for our employees, customers and dealers, but we won’t sacrifice performing the due diligence that’s required. My commitment is that when we have made a decision and are ready to announce that decision, these key stakeholders will hear about it first from us.

 

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Navistar RV to Roll Out New Models in Louisville

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Navistar RV, a subsidiary of Navistar International Corp., will showcase a number of new products at this year’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 27-29. The display will include the model-year 2014 Monaco Monarch SE, as well as the new Holiday Rambler Vacationer SE and Augusta B-plus style Class C motorhome.

“These ambitious products represent the next generation of RVs from Navistar and our brands,” Bill Osborne, president of Navistar RV, said in a press release. “We’re excited to have our industry unveiling at the RVIA show, then to roll the models out to the public at events later this year and next.”

As part of its product development process, Navistar keeps a close eye on market trends and the desires of RV dealers and customers.

“The overall mix of products in the market has shifted, with a larger preference for gas as compared to diesel in Class As,” Osborne said. “Also, amenities that were previously only available in diesel have now made their way into gas coaches.”

The Monarch SE and Vacationer SE address these changes by delivering the high-end features of a full-size diesel coach — Smart Structure chassis system, ergonomically designed cockpit, soft-touch ceiling and generous pass-through storage — at the lower price of a gas vehicle. The RVs also emphasize the company’s striking new exterior style and incorporate new floorplans to suit individual needs.

“Our gas products were previously on the higher end of the price segments,” said Osborne. “These new products allow us to offer customers a gas Class A unit with deluxe amenities, and because they’re affordable, first-time buyers and part-time enthusiasts can now enjoy a great, luxury coach.”

During its product line evaluation, Navistar also determined there was an opportunity to add a B/C category unit to its portfolio, addressing the needs of first-time buyers and enthusiasts who want to be in a small but self-contained motorized RV.

“Holiday Rambler hasn’t introduced a new vehicle in this product class for some time,” Osborne added.

The new Augusta is a maneuverable and compact motorized RV with maximum interior space. Inventive design features include a Murphy bed that folds away to allow for a large living area with skylight, plus a pop-up TV for enhanced counter space and work area. Storage is plentiful, with a mega-locker that can be accessed from the inside and outside. The vehicle is available on a gas Ford E-350/450 chassis.

“These new vehicles reflect the vision of Navistar RV to be the most innovative quality product in the industry,” said Osborne. “We anticipate the RVs will be very well received, as they provide superior luxury, styling and features at an attractive price point.”

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Navistar’s Osborne Touts Quality in Newsletter

August 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Bill Osborne

Editor’s Note: The following is a column authored by Navistar RV President Bill Osborne that appeared in the company’s monthly newsletter reaffirming his commitment to product quality and customer service.

Let me begin by telling you that my vision is for Navistar RV to be one of growth and success founded on “three key elements” – product quality, innovation, and a renewed focus on customer care.

Our intent is to build the finest coaches in the industry, period. This isn’t going to be accomplished by launching some special initiatives. We will accomplish it by organizing ourselves to do it, setting higher standards for ourselves, and living up to those standards. It simply has to become part of our DNA and we have to improve on it every day.

At over a year in my role as President, I am still a newcomer, but my 30-plus years in the global and domestic auto sectors have uniquely prepared me for my job. Some of my past experiences include president of both Ford Australia and Ford Canada, as well as heading up Ford’s North American Truck Engineering group, where I led the development of award-winning products like the F150 and Super-duty line of pickup trucks. Previously I also served as the CEO of Federal Signal Corp. and as a member of the board of directors at Navistar.

Of course, none of my past roles makes me an expert in the RV business. But I do bring a wealth of experience and some fresh thinking to the table that I leverage as we build the RVs our customers want to own and enjoy.

I’m sure you expect an ex-Ford guy to talk about improving quality. And you’re right! That means that I’m not going to tell you that it will be done quickly or that we will be an overnight success. It is hard work and it is going to take time. But we have established the culture, processes and commitment to make it happen. With regard to service, I know that our customers want a no-hassle, worry-free experience with our products. Along with quality we have enhanced our service capabilities by reopening our Wakarusa, Ind., service center which joins our Coburg, Ore., service center. I have tasked my team to build upon our great service to define and deliver the optimal service experience through our world-class service centers and our dealer partners.

A great example of the direction we’re going in the future is the expansion of Navistar RV’s service capabilities in the Southeast region. In March, I was proud to announce Alliance Coach in Wildwood, Florida joined our family as our first Platinum Sales and Service Center. This new center is a welcome addition to our dedicated regional service locations in Wakarusa, IN and Coburg, OR. The Platinum Service Center is part of my long-term commitment to establish a network of elite sales and service centers to provide our customers with superior regional product support.

As we raise the bar for ourselves, on quality, on innovation, and on service, we wouldn’t be doing justice to our customers if we didn’t ask the same commitment by our dealer network. We continue to work together to define how our dealers should market, sell and service our next generation of Navistar RV customers. As we grow our dealer network, I can promise you, we are focusing on dealership quality and not quantity.

 

 

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Navistar Open House to Unveil New RVs, Plant

August 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Navistar RV’s towable division will host an open house Sept. 18-20 at its newly opened production facility at the corner of Nappanee St. and Hively in Elkhart, Ind., as part of the Elkhart County 4th Annual RV Open House Week.

According to a press release, the 200,000-square-foot facility is located at the site of the former Roadmaster Custom Chassis plant, and will allow for separate production lines for fifth-wheels along with laminated and stick-and-tin travel trailers.

In conjunction with the opening of the new plant, Navistar Towables will be introducing new, reengineered Trail Lite and Holiday Rambler products. Trail Lite products will be showing a completely refreshed look which includes Trek, a new lightweight family of towables targeted for the price-conscious consumer.

Holiday Rambler is reintroducing its flagship Presidential Luxury fifth-wheel during the event. Designed with the input of current owners, it features “a new chassis design, premium construction methodology and unsurpassed storage capabilities,” according to the company. In addition, the venerable Aluma-Lite will be enhancing its brand by adding market-driven floorplans and product features.

For additional information please call Andrea Ritsema at 574-389-4037.

 

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