Towable RV builder Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., has adopted a new branding strategy to better reflect the growth in popularity of new subcategories within the broader travel trailer-fifth-wheel category, according to the firm’s president.
“Until recently, our company had one very dominant brand name, Dutchmen, and we partnered with great dealers,” President Rich Florea said. “But as the market began to segment into expandable products, sport utility RVs, stick and tin vs. laminated, midprofile vs. high-profile fifth-wheels, our old business model would have had us placing the Dutchmen brand-name on products in those different market segments. But, by doing that, it would have been very hard to meet the needs of each segment.”
So company officials decided “to really dial the focus in to give each segment the individualized attention that it needs,” Florea said.
The new strategy includes the creation of several new brands for model year 2005, which the company’s dealers will be able to see first-hand during Dutchmen’s national dealer meeting in Goshen Ind., Aug. 25-27. The list includes:
• The Dutchmen/Four Winds division’s Denali and North Shore series of laminated travel trailers and fifth-wheels, which represent a step-up product from the division’s core Dutchmen and Four Winds stick-and-tin travel trailers and fifth-wheels.
• The Aero division’s new Tundra series of travel trailers and fifth-wheels, which replaces the Skamper brand. The division believes the Tundra will help create a new towable RV product subcategory, the superlite. The series includes a dinette-sofa slideout that’s 40 inches deep but weighs only around 5,500 pounds in a 26-foot-floorplan configuration and around 6,100 to 6,200 pounds as a 31-footer.
• The Colorado division’s new Grand Junction laminated, aluminum-framed, midpriced, high-profile fifth-wheel, which offers a step-up in amenities from the division’s core Colorado brand.
As part of the restructuring, three separate divisions were created within Dutchmen, each headed by an industry veteran with successful track records.
“We’ll still have individual branded dealers as we always have,” Florea said. “I think creating a general manager and a product team devoted solely to a product category will speed the decision-making process and put us closer to the customer and allow for faster, better and more accurate changes to meet the needs of the market.”
The new Dutchmen Manufacturing structure gives dealers the opportunity to order product from all three of the company’s divisions, or select certain products built by either of the divisions to better satisfy consumer demand within their market territory.
As an example, the company’s Dutchmen/Four Winds division will continue building stick-and-tin product and laminated product, “but in some markets, dealers may only want to focus on the stick-and-tin segment of that business,” Florea said. “Under our old business model, it was impossible for us to reach the laminated market in that trade area because of the dealer’s decision to focus on the stick and tin. It would not have been in the dealer’s best interest or ours to set up a second Dutchmen dealer in that market because it would confuse the market and make it more difficult for each of our dealers.”