Newmar Corp.’s senior management had a lot to talk about during the Nappanee, Ind.-based company’s 2015 Model Year Dealer Seminar May 20-23 at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine – from its new approach to delivering its own motorhomes to ownership succession and corporate training programs. But the biggest news in Grapevine this week was yesterday’s (May 21) unveiling of a 2015 London Aire Class A diesel pusher that should go a long way toward bolstering Newmar’s role as one of today’s premier North American coach builders. Newmar officials noted that the builder hasn’t marketed the London Aire brand since the 2007 model year when it was the company’s top-end line. The new London Aire is a 45-footer built on Freightliner SLR chassis equipped with a 600-hp Cummins 15-liter ISX engine – the largest available to production-type motorhome builders — equipped with a tag-axle, independent front suspension and Comfort Drive steering. Priced beneath the King Aire and Essex lines, all three of which now sport 600-hp power plants, the new London Aire retails for $619,820 with a full-wall slide bath-and-a-half floorplan featuring elegant dark maple-accented interiors, polished solid-surface countertops, porcelain floor tile and a featured ceiling that masks the air conditioning vents. “We wanted to really cash in on the brand equity of the London Aire name,” Vice President of Sales John Sammut told RVBUSINESS.com. “It’s had many forms out there over the years, including a high-end fifth-wheel and a Class C product. It was the flagship – the most expensive Newmar Class A at one point. Now, although it’s not the most expensive Newmar product, we thought we could really leverage the London Aire name, bringing out this new 600-hp product at the price point it’s at.”
The Class A motorhome builder reported in a press release that the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Award is presented to dealers who scored in a pre-determined percentile based on results from customer surveys. Fourteen Newmar dealers earned this coveted award by providing excellent customer service to Newmar customers receiving warranty work.
The 2013 award winners include: Ansley RV, Duncansville, Pa.; Beckley’s Camping Center, Thurmont, Md.; Buddy Gregg Motorhomes, Knoxville, TN; Coachlight RV Sales Inc., Carthage, Mo.; Dick Gore’s RV World, Jacksonville, Fla.; Freedom RV, Tucson, Ariz.; Guaranty RV Center, Junction City, Ore.; 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.; Steinbring Motorcoach, Garfield, Minn.; Tom Johnson Camping Center, Marion, N.C.; and VR St-Cyr, St. Mathieu De Beloeil, Quebec.
“Newmar feels this award is important because we value how our mutual customers are treated and that the service experience is a positive one,” said Newmar Vice President of Service Operations Matt Utley. “Newmar is pleased with the customer support provided by our dealer partners. As confirmed by their customers, the dealers earning this award possess a strong commitment of customer satisfaction that permeates through their entire organization. We are proud of their achievements.”
Four dealers this year also earned the Mahlon Miller Service Excellence Award. Miller is the founder of Newmar and the award in his name recognizes those dealerships that most embody the spirit of customer service. This elite group of winners includes Guaranty RV, Coachlight RV Sales, Steinbring Motorcoach and Ansley RV.
“Mr. Miller and the entire Miller family have a passion for customers,” added Utley. “Through his guidance and leadership, customer service will be forever engrained into the fabric of Newmar.”
Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. recently added Kyle McCrary to its management team as director of product planning and design.
According to a press release, McCrary brings 27 years of experience in the RV business to Newmar, including stints with Bluebird Corp., Fleetwood RV Inc. and American Coach, as well as a previous term with Newmar from 2002–2012.
“All of us at Newmar are thrilled and excited to have Kyle back here at Newmar,” said Newmar President Matt Miller. “I feel very strongly that Kyle’s experience and talent will enable Newmar to continue to build on the advancements in product innovation and design our company has introduced to the market over the past two to three years,” Miller added.
In his new role, McCrary will report directly to Matt Miller.
Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. has been awarded the Quality Circle DSI Award by the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
According to a press release, Newmar be presented the award on Dec. 2 during the RVDA Dealer Reception at the Crowne Plaza Hotel just prior to the opening of the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
This is the 20th year that RVDA has surveyed its dealer members to rate their manufacturers in the areas of sales support, sales territory given to dealers, vehicle design, vehicle reliability and quality, competitive price and value, parts and warranty support, as well as communication. Manufacturers are ranked from 1 to 5 in each of the categories measured.
According to the RVDA report, Newmar scored above the motorhome industry average in every category measured by its survey, with a score of “5” in the area of vehicle reliability and quality.
Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. hosted an elite group of suppliers for a sit-down chicken dinner at its Annual Vendor Appreciation Dinner on Oct. 22 at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury.
According to a press release, approximately 140 people attended the event. Select vendors were honored in various categories for outstanding performance in supplying Newmar with various components and materials used in production of its high-end motorhomes.
The companies recognized for outstanding performance were based on internal surveys measuring each suppliers’ level of quality and service while interacting with Newmar’s purchasing, manufacturing and engineering departments. A score of 214 of 220 possible points were required for the vendors to earn an invitation to the evening’s festivities.
Virgil Miller Award of Excellence: Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.
Sales Person of the Year: Cindy Schneider – Ameri-Kart
Customer Service Awards: Will Weed – Robert Weed Plywood; Laura Frizzo – Paramount Plastics
Purchasing Recognition Award: Mike Berzai – Robert Weed Plywood
Delivery Service Award: Jeff Porter – LaSalle Bristol
Innovation Award: Equipment Service/Stresco
Top Ten Vendors
• Industrial Finishing
• Jenkins Automotive
• Medallion Plastics
• Quality Hardwood Sales
• Ramco Engineering
• REM Industries
• S & H Metals
• Winegard Co.
Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. will display several 2014 offerings in its motorhome lineup as part of the Elkhart County RV Open House, set to run Sept. 17-19 throughout the industry’s manufacturing hub in northern Indiana.
According to a press release, the Newmar exhibit will be located along County Road 6 in the parking lot of Ramco Engineering at 52965 Frederic Drive. Newmar said it selected the site because of its prime location just a mile west of the RV/MH Hall of Fame. The Newmar product display will be visible and conveniently accessed from CR 6.
Lunch will be served Tuesday through Thursday and a good sample of all Newmar brands will be available for viewing by visiting RV dealers, including the all-new 2014 Canyon Star.
Newmar representatives, including many of the company’s executives, will be available onsite all three days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to show the product and answer any questions that dealer guests may have.
Transwest Truck Trailer RV announced it is partnering with Newmar Corp. to be an exclusive full-line dealer for all of Colorado. According to a press release, Newmar coaches will be on display later this fall at Transwest’s Denver and Grand Junction locations.
“Newmar is an iconic luxury brand of coaches. They have been an industry leader for many years and Transwest identified with their creative design and never-ending commitment to their customers and partners,” said Jeff Mullins, general RV sales manager for Transwest.
“Transwest is a unique dealer that allows our Newmar family to seek all levels of service from the engine to complete chassis and house repairs at one site. We are happy to partner with the team at Transwest to better serve our loyal customers and grow Colorado RV market,” added John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing for Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar.
Transwest also announced it is expanding its Denver location with an additional store adjacent to the current dealership. The facility, set to be completed in the late fall, will be situated on nine acres and include 16 larger service bays, a parts department that has doubled in size, and a showroom that will increase the store frontage to 1⁄4 mile of display space.
Transwest is now accepting applications for full time sales, service, and parts employees for the new expansion, they hope to be completed in late fall 2013.
Thousands of life-size smiling images of Newmar Corp. President Matt Miller affixed to paddle sticks — AKA “Flat Matts” in campaign jargon — have found their way across North America since the beginning of July as part of a promotion through which “Flat Matt’s” were mailed to all of the company’s U.S. and Canadian dealerships.
The idea, the brainchild of Newmar Marketing Manager Shannon Stover and the Nappanee, Ind., company’s Element Three marketing agency, is for both RV-owning and non-RV-owning consumers to incorporate “Flat Matt” images into all kinds of pictures of people and places and submit them to the company, which, in turn, selects one or two winners a week.
“We weren’t formally ready to roll this out quite yet, but at the closing ceremonies of our owner club rally — the Kountry Klub rally down in DuQuoin, Ill., in June — we had kind of given everyone a preview of what was to come with ‘Flat Matt’ and the whole promotion and the impetus behind the campaign,” explained Newmar Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Sammut. “And the people immediately afterward wanted to come up and find out where they could get their ‘Flat Matt.’ It kind of started there, and it has gained momentum ever since.”
“We’re going to give away a Sony iPad, and because it’s Sony, the most entertaining photo that we receive will win the Sony iPad,” said Stover, adding that River Park Inc., a national distributor of mobile audio products for RVs, boats and specialty vehicles based in Elkhart, Ind., is providing the Sony iPad.
Newmar is also giving away a Big Green Egg Grill, and Matt Miller would like to have pictures submitted of people cooking or grilling to win that prize, said Stover.
But the rest of the prize winners, again, are all being selected at random. “All the other prizes that we’re giving away, including the grand prize, are all computer-generated,” said Stover. “I click a button, and it takes all the people that have submitted photos, and it gives me a lucky candidate.”
All in all, the promotion is meant to remind consumers in an “easy, fun and quirky” way of Newmar’s corporate sales and service support wherever those people might be on the American road.
The new promotion, by the way, coincides with Newmar’s senior management’s decision to drop its annual U.S. tour of dealerships, which it had done for the past couple of years to elevate the personal profile of its senior management.
“The guys this year weren’t planning on taking a road trip” said Stover, “and we wanted to replace it with something fun. That’s how we came up with the heads, because I knew everyone would participate in this. It would be kind of be a competition; it was quirky enough, and all anybody had to do was take a picture with their camera or their smart phone, upload it and there it would be.”
“Flat Matt” pictures are being uploaded to gonewmar.com as part of the promotion, which runs through October, after which the grand prizes will be awarded: A choice among a $3,000 gas card, $6,000 off any Newmar Class A motorhome or $10,000 off any of Newmar’s diesel coaches. Other prizes include Newmar-branded apparel and folding lawn chairs.
Flat Matt’s are available at Newmar’s corporate office, the company’s service customer waiting area and tour building and through marketing partners Spartan Chassis in Charlotte, Mich., Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. in Gaffney, S.C., and River Park. They’re also available through Newmar’s website: gonewmar.com.
Judging by the activity level at Newmar Corp.’s dealer meeting, April 9-11 at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, the recreational vehicle industry’s gradual recovery appears to be continuing in a big way.
Beyond all of the glitz and glitter of the new 2014 models on display, the big news for family-held Newmar’s management team at its first dealer meeting since 2008 had to do with the upbeat attitudes and, more importantly, the product-ordering inclinations of the Nappanee, Ind., company’s dealer body.
So strong was the pace of business, reports John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing, that Newmar’s senior management started bulking up its plant staff to accelerate production immediately upon its return from the Lone Star State.
“I think everybody in Newmar management had their expectations exceeded,” said Sammut. “I don’t know that we had a formal target that we wanted to hit (in orders). We definitely wanted to feel that the dealers appreciated the message during the business meeting and then were wowed by the product. And the comments that we’ve fielded and the orders we’ve received since the meeting were their stamp of approval that we’ve done the right things with the product and that we’ve had the right message.”
The dealers stepped up to an extent that Newmar hadn’t seen for some time in an array of product lines from the company’s least expensive $122,000 retail Bay Star Sport Class A to its totally upgraded King Aire, an upscale A-body that at $902,000 retail is positioned to compete in the high-line bus conversion market.
“Yes, they did,” said Sammut. “So, when you look at chassis we need to build these units, the demand is there at almost every price point – 50% gas, 50% diesel, and the diesel was well mixed among the Ventana, Ventana LE, the Dutch Star, the Mountain Aire and then, of course, our high-end lineup.”
The strong sales were also an affirmation, Sammut noted, of the market’s continued upswing. “I think there’s an improved level of confidence among the dealer network with the banks maybe getting a little more reasonable on financing – both retail financing as well as wholesale financing,” Sammut said. “And seeing their inventory turns on Newmar product go up, they now have a confidence level that they haven’t had in a long time not only to stock inventory, but to put Newmar product on the lot.”
The dealers’ response, of course, was well received by the company’s production staff for whom a meeting was held right after the Dallas confab with Sammut, Newmar President Matt Miller and Vice President of Manufacturing Kevin Bogan, addressing Newmar’s work force in the plant amid an array of work in progress.
“We brought them up to speed and addressed the fact that we are making plans, ordering chassis and other materials, and hiring to get to 25 units a week production, five a day, in about six weeks time,” said Sammut. “And should the excitement and the business conditions persist, we have the capability, provided we can hire the right people, to possibly see 30 units a week sometime this summer.”
Miller, son of founder Mahlon Miller who appeared on tape during the dealer meeting from his retirement home in Phoenix, couldn’t have agreed more. “We are in a better financial position than we have been in many, many years,” said Miller, “and we are managing our business for continued great profitability because the 2008-2009 downturn helped us to manage our business better, and we’ve had some very good years the last couple of years. So, we’re reinvesting in innovation and having people focused on improving products, and we’re poised to really make a mark on the industry.”
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.