The dealers who were interviewed during the recent Coachmen RV Co.(CRV) national dealer meeting in Dallas raved by the company’s 2004 product offerings.
Mike Stier, owner of Stier’s RV Sales in Bakersfield, Calif., was particularly impressed with Coachmen’s diesel pusher lineup.
“I think you’ll see a huge market share gain with their diesel-pusher business,” Stier said. “They’ve gotten focused and they’re doing an absolutely phenomenal job as far as capturing that market.”
Peter Kinden. general manager of American RV Outlet in Santa Clarita, Calif., is enamored with the new Sportscoach Elite diesel pusher, which was introduced at Dallas. “It’s radical, it’s fantastic,” Kinden said. “With the raised rail (Freightliner XC chassis) along with the full-body paint and fiberglass caps, it’ll be able to attack the higher-end stuff at a lower price.”
Meanwhile, Kathy Valero of Valero Century Inc. in Delmont, Pa., really likes the new Concord Class C motorhome touring coach without the traditional overhead bunks.
In November, the Valero dealership ordered a “B+” style Class C from another manufacturer, but, she said, “We’ve sold only a couple of them. It hasn’t been exciting.” However, Valero said, the Concord “blows that one away, the quality is so much better and the eye-appeal is really exciting.
“The curved wall (of the Concord) gives you a feeling of more space,” she continued. “The colors in the bathroom are something you might see in an expensive home, it seems more upscale.”
Mike Terlep, president of CRV, a unit of Coachmen Industries Inc., said the company’s management was restructured in March and April, when product managers were assigned to single product categories. For example, John Gallagher now is product/sales manager for Class C’s and Mike Scheetz is product/sales manager for diesel pushers.
CRV also is in the process of filling similar positions for its travel trailer, fifth-wheels and gas-engine Class A motorhome offerings, Terlep added.
Kinden, the dealer from California, believes the restructuring has worked.
“I used to think they were spread thin, that the creativity pool was not there,” Kinden said. “Now, they have a focused diesel group, a focused Class C group, rather than one person trying to create everything.”
Kinden’s dealership has inventoried CRV products for seven model years and he agrees Coachmen did have a reputation for building stodgy, plain-vanilla products. But when he arrived at the product display at this year’s CRV dealer meeting, he said, “I felt like I was somewhere else, like we fast-forwarded five years.
“The negative connotations that were attached to their name, in my opinion, have been erased with this model year introduction,” Kinden said. “Prices in some cases are lower, a couple went up, but on an average basis, they stayed about the same. But the value has gone way up.”