Elkhart, Ind.-based NeXus RV LLC has received received recognition as a Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) by Ford Motor Co., according to a press release.
NeXus RV is a factory-direct manufacturer of Class C and Class C B-plus style motorhomes built on Ford E-series chassis.
“By achieving a QVM certification, NeXus RV is continuing down the path of building the best Class C in the industry,” states Claude Donati, president. “We are committed to following the standards and qualification set forth by Ford Motor Co. to assure we are building the highest quality product in our class.”
NeXus RV uses Ford Econoline gas chassis for its Viper B-plus and the Phantom Class C motorhomes.
NeXus RV, a factory-direct manufacturer of Class C and Class C B-Plus style motorhomes, is introducing the Ghost “Super C,” based on the Navistar International Terra Star chassis.
“As we planned when we started NeXus RV, we were going to offer other products that we felt could save our customer’s thousands of dollars while enhancing the entire buying process,” said Claude Donati, president and co-founder of Elkhart, Ind.-based NeXus RV. “Our decision to introduce a Super C motorhome is based on our vast experience with this type of product. We were part of the team that created the category nearly a decade ago.”
NeXus RV plans to introduce the Ghost Super C in two floorplans, a 34G triple slide and a 36G double slide. Both models will start at $139,999.
“As we analyzed the market, it is clear there is a big void in the market for high-quality, affordable Super C motorhomes,” stated Dave Middleton, vice president and co-founder of NeXus RV. “The Ghost will offer many more people the chance to buy a Super C, customize it and save a lot of money in the process.”
NeXus RV, a privately held company, was founded in 2010 and has doubled business every year since. For more information visit www.nexusrv.com or call (574) 970-0848.
Editor’s Note: The following is an unsolicited statement from Elkhart, Ind.-based Nexus RV, a new Class C builder, on its decision to adopt a factory direct business model.
Recently, Mike Molino, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), wrote an editorial in the September/October issue of RV Business. This magazine is primarily an inside industry trade magazine that informs those that supply, manufacture and sell RVs of current affairs. I read with astonishment the candor in which Molino delivered the current philosophy of the RVDA.
It appears the association is concerned with sales that occur outside a dealership’s given territory and with service centers that work on RVs that don’t sell that product. Interestingly, if the association had their way, customers would pay more for their RVs because you would only be able to buy your RV from a local dealer. Consequently, they would pay more to have their unit serviced because the customer could only get their unit serviced by a stocking dealer that would charge more per hour for repairs in order to cover the large overhead associated with stocking large inventory. By restricting the options a customer has can only increase the cost of both the unit and servicing the unit after the sale.
At Nexus, we sell Class C and B-plus-style Class C motorhomes directly to the retail customers, and we have set up a network of servicing dealerships throughout the country that is more extensive than any other dealership in the industry. The fact is RVers travel throughout North America and relying on the local selling dealership to handle the service needs is nearly impossible. Many times the RVer is thousands of miles away from the selling dealer and must rely on mobile service centers and “non rolling stock service providers” to get them on the road. The current manufacturer-dealership business model has failed horribly with supplying customers with the service support they need. Removing all the politics and restrictions to making customers happy is the foundation that Nexus RV is working toward.
As for the selling of RVs directly to the retail customer, without the dealer network, will save customers money. The buying experience when buying from a factory direct cannot be matched by a dealership. The overwhelming advantages are easy to see. First, retail customers are looking for as much information on how their unit is built as possible. In fact, many retail customers want to understand each and every process and component that goes into the building of the unit. As a factory direct company, we know everything there is to know about our product and the reason behind each design. When visiting a dealership, the customer can only look at finished product and the dealership personnel have little information on each model because they represent many different companies and they have too much to remember. This lack of knowledge can cause many other problems down the road. Secondly, when buying factory direct, the retail customer has the ability to “menu customize” their unit. Picking fabrics, outlet locations, paint colors and important options makes the retail customer feel like they had some input on their unit. Contrarily, buying from a dealership, the retail customer is pushed hard into buying the “green one” on their lot because the dealership is trying to move the inventory as it has been on the lot for up to a year or more. Enticing customers to buy aged units with “rot lot” by lowering the price is a recipe for a dissatisfied customer. Buying factory direct, the retail customers gets to buy a unit with little miles on the odometer and that has been freshly built. The unit is truly new.
Finally, one of the most compelling reasons to buy factory direct is the value customers get when eliminating the “middle man.” At Nexus, we have measured the savings we have given our customers. After a year in business, we have saved our customers an average of $7,100 dollars. Imagine, a better buying experience because of more information, better service because of a national service network, a better unit because it is newer and it is built to the customers specs and at a lower price. Do not let anyone tell you different, if you can get all those benefits to buying from a factory direct, you should do it!
Elkhart, Ind.-based Nexus RV had a “coming out” of sorts earlier this month when the young minimotorhome builder displayed its two new lines, a Viper “B-Plus” Class C and a more conventional Phantom C-body, for the first time at a retail venue during the 43rd Annual Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show, Sept. 12-18 at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Although Nexus is a factory-direct manufacturer to the retail consumer, Donati reports Nexus is currently marketing rental units to U.S. dealers.
“We are committed factory-direct,” says Donati, a former Gulf Stream Coach Inc. executive who welcomed out-of-towners last week (Sept. 19-25) during Elkhart County’s 4th Annual RV Open House Week. “Our assembly line is our showroom. But we are investigating a non-USA dealership network, specifically in Quebec in Montreal, the French speaking provinces. We have some contacts in those markets that are showing a big interest in carrying our product.”
Nexus showed 29-foot Vipers with cabover entertainment centers mounted on Ford E-450 cutaway chassis; Nexus is building exclusively on Ford cutaway chassis at this point. The Elkhart firm also showed three different Phantom models, including a 31-footer with full body paint and a 32-foot bunk bed model, both featuring over-the-cab sleeping accommodations.
The more aerodynamic and expensive B-Plus Viper, with Corian countertops and a few more amenities, sports an MSRP of $103,000. However, the unit on display at Hershey, fully loaded with full body paint, was selling in the mid-$80,000’s.
Of equal interest to those cruising the Hershey Show was a familiar face working the display, Brian Shea, the former president of Nappanee, Ind.-based Gulf Stream’s Motorhome Division. Donati, who with Nexus Vice President Dave Middleton owns half the company, says Shea acts as a consultant for the company and is one of seven other investors behind Nexus along with a steel supplier, a West Coast rental dealer and four other individuals outside the industry.
Realizing that competitors might use it against them as a factory-direct company, Donati says Nexus now has service agreements with more than 100 service centers throughout the country. “So, we have actually made it part of our presentation to the customer that we have the best service network of any dealership in the country,” he told RVBUSINESS.com. “We have over 100 service centers in every state, and we are adding service centers all the time.
“What we are finding more than anything else is that our business model is attractive to a customer,” adds Donati. “So far, we’re eclipsing 70 units sold. Our first unit went offline in April. We had bumps along the way, I don’t want to pretend that we didn’t. But against our business plan, we are about where we thought we would be, and we were pretty aggressive with our goals.”
Nexus RV will be hosting an Open House for rental dealers Sept. 19-25 at its facility in Elkhart, Ind., according to a press release.
Hours will be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will include a comprehensive factory tour and review of the rental program for those dealers “looking to add value to their rental fleet.” The event coincides with Elkhart County’s 4th Annual Open House, running Sept. 19-23.
“We are excited to go into our second year of supplying major rental customers with their units,” said Dave Middleton, vice president of Nexus RV. “We learned a great deal about what will separate our units from the pack. A big part of our product is giving more features for less money and we feel we have designed the best product for customer usage.”
Nexus RV is a factory direct manufacturer that also supplies rental customers with Class C and Class B-plus units. The company is located at 3400 Reedy Drive in Elkhart, one block north of CR 6 on CR 13.
To view videos on the NeXus website, click here.
It’s no longer a dream or even a plan —- it’s a reality.
Less than nine months after planning their own RV startup, Dave Middleton and Claude Donati have NeXus RV operating in Elkhart, Ind., and have sold 62 units, the South Bend Tribune reported.
The company, which got off the ground in August at Notre Dame’s Innovation Park, has been in its own facility at 3400 Reedy Drive, Elkhart, since October.
Production got under way Feb. 14, and already four recreational vehicles have been produced. The business is now producing about one RV per day.
“It really is exciting,” said Middleton, co-founder and vice president.
“We were just talking the other day, myself and Claude, in regards to where we were at. And not even a year later we have our manufacturing up and running, our production line actually producing product and have sold it and shipped it. We have come a long way in a short period of time.”
The company is building Class B-plus style and Class C motorhomes. Both styles are built on Ford V-10 Cutaway chassis with both the cab and living quarters on one unit. The Class C is 23 to 32 feet long while the Class B+ is 23 to 29 feet long.
“You drive down the road and pull into the campsite, push a couple buttons for the slide-out awning and you are done,” Middleton said. “You are camping in less than a minute.”
Beyond the two founders, the company currently has 34 employees. Middletown and Donati own half the company with the rest being held by a group of investors.
An open house will be held at the facility in Elkhart June 20-30.
Lifelong friends Donati and Middleton are veterans of the RV business, having worked in various roles for about 15 years.
Prior to forming their own company, the pair worked at Gulf Stream Coach Inc. in Nappanee where Donati was vice president of the motorized division and Middleton was national sales manager.
It was there they felt they could do some things a little differently that would benefit the customer.
The three-tier system of the RV maker selling to the dealer who in turns sells to the customer, is costly to the customer, the pair believed.
Plus the economic downturn cost the industry more than 300 dealers nationwide since 2007.
So they started their company which eliminates the dealer.
“We felt we could roll the red carpet out for our retail customers, save them money, let them have a looking glass into the manufacturing process as well as give them a say in the product they would like us to build for them,” Middleton said. “And in doing that combination, we felt we would be able to supply a better product.
“We would be hands-on with the customer, dealing directly with them and they would be more satisfied with the buying purchase.”
Donati and Middleton also believe their way results in better service after the purchase.
The company, with its “Fly and Drive” program, will even fly in customers for free as long as they agree to purchase one of their RVs. The program allows the customer to not only order their RV, but customize it to their liking, choosing things like exterior colors and decals as well as interior cabinets, fabric and paint.
In addition, things like back-up cameras to aid in parking, are standard as is the electrically operated awning.
The company features a 25,000-square-foot climate controlled showroom and 86,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
Thus far, 60 of NeXus RV’s orders are from dealers who will use the RVs as rentals and two are from customers, one of whom will be picking up an RV during the open house.
Since placing an ad in MotorHome Magazine, the company has taken more than 230 calls from interested customers.
The two individual customers estimate their savings ranging from $7,000 to $12,000, Middleton said.
“Everything is going better than expected,” Middleton said. “Our game plan is if everything goes well, by the third year we would like to add a Class A product and by year five have 100 employees.”
NeXus RV has begun to promote its first Open House, scheduled for June 20-30 at its facility in Elkhart, Ind.
The NeXus RV campus at 3400 Reedy Drive on the north side of Elkhart includes an 86,000-square-foot manufacturing space and a 25,000-square-foot, climate-controlled indoor showroom.
Customers will save an additional $2,000 toward a purchase of a Class B+ or traditional Class C motorhome during these dates. All units are exclusively manufactured to driver specifications and built on the “Pillar of Strength” all-steel cage construction, according to a news release.
NeXus RV was formed by lifelong friends Claude Donati and David Middleton, experts in the field, with the pioneering/revolutionizing concept of building and selling motorhomes on the same campus. It is their intent to eliminate all areas of waste in the selling process and deliver the highest quality exclusively built motorized product direct to the retail customer, saving thousands of dollars in the process.
NeXus offers an online On Demand Video Studio and an exclusive Fly & Drive program.
For more information call (574) 970-0848 to make an appointment or register online and receive a free gift upon arrival. Visit www.nexusrv.com.
Newly formed motorhome manufacturer Nexus RV announced it has temporarily located its corporate offices in Innovation Park at the University of Notre Dame in Northern Indiana.
The company plans to produce motorhomes in Northern Indiana or Southern Michigan, according to a news release.
“As we finalize many of the details in our initial phase, Innovation Park offers many great resources,” said Claude Donati, president. ”The environment here is conducive for a thorough and professional approach to make many of the important decisions a new company has to make.”
Donati, formerly vice president of the motorized division at Gulf Stream Coach Inc., in nearby Nappanee, Ind, added, “It is our plan to determine the location of our production campus within the next 60 days. We are analyzing several facilities to assure our needs will be met not only for our initial phase but as we grow. Many traditional sites are being reviewed but we are also looking at those areas where the community is eager to create tax revenue.”
Donati announced his resignation from Gulf Stream in mid-June.
“It is with great excitement and ambition I resign my post as the vice president of the motorized division of Gulf Stream Coach,” Donati said in response to RVBUSINESS.com’s inquiry. “I appreciate the 15 years that I worked at Gulf Stream and will miss the many employees that I worked with over the years. I would like to especially thank (Motorized Division President) Brian Shea for the many years of opportunity he provided for me and my family.
“As for my future,” Donati continued, “it is my hope and expectation to be part of a company in the RV industry. I will rely on my many years in manufacturing and my vast knowledge of the business as well as the many relationships I was fortunate enough to establish to create a business that will allow me to contribute to the local economy and to remain an active member of the RV community.”