Paula and Brian Donat believe there is a niche in the RV market that hasn’t been filled. And, according to a report in the Goshen (Ind.) News, they intend to fill that void.
The Donats have created Eterniti RV, which is headquartered in Goshen in a small manufacturing building. Inside the well-used building that has housed other manufacturing ventures, the Donats are assembling their team to build their product, a fiberglass shell travel trailer built to United Kingdom specifications that will be sold there after the first of the year.
“We will initially be selling in the U.K. to start off and we plan to venture into Germany and Australia eventually,” Paula said.
The Donats also operate a marketing company representing several RV manufacturers, which provided the springboard to their new venture.
“We met a gentleman who wanted us to broker for him, and he wanted us to find a dealer here in the States to build units for him to go over to Europe,” Paula said. “We went to several manufacturers around the area and they did not want to build units to the U.K. specs, they wanted to build to the U.S. specs and send them over. And that is not quite what he was looking for. And he said ‘you guys have done this before, why don’t you guys build my units?’ And that is how it all transpired. We decided to start an RV company to build units to the specs of the U.K.”
Paula has spent the past year planning and preparing to ramp up production. The first chassis are set to arrive soon from Germany. The European RV chassis is lower, narrower and shorter than those used in the U.S. to allow trailers to be towed along the narrow European lanes that date back many centuries.
The Eterniti trailers will be ultralights so they can be towed by the many smaller cars in use in the U.K.
“We will be putting slides in them because none of them (manufacturers) over there do slides. And those will be aluminum. I can pick them up with my hand,” Paula said.
Camping trailers are known as “caravans” in the U.K., Paula said. And those who use them traditionally outfit them with luxurious interiors.
That tradition, coupled with the weaker U.S. dollar vs. the Pound Sterling, will be a marketing edge for Eterniti, the Donats believe.
“We are going to be able to load these up and they will be able to pay the same prices for what they are currently paying over there currently not loaded up,” Paula said.
Brian has paid visits to the U.K. to study what caravaners there want, need and are used to. He is expecting the Eterniti product to get a lot of positive attention quickly.
“We really plan to just change the industry over there,” he said.
And it may cause some changes in the U.S. as well.
Brian said Eterniti will install web cameras in its manufacturing area so customers can watch their units being constructed and have input during that process. Most sales will be direct retail, with some units also offered through dealers in the U.K. Eterniti trailers will cost between 20,000 and 25,000 Pounds Sterling, according to Brian.