Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. is preparing to reduce its number of RV brand names to strengthen consumer awareness of its surviving brands, according to Ed Caudill, the company’s president and CEO.
Additionally, the name “Fleetwood” will get more emphasis to provide more linkage to the surviving brands, Caudill said in a recent interview with RVBUSINESS.COM.
The creation of brand names is connected with a company’s effort to build different products within the same price point.
Caudill noted, however, “I think it’s gone too far with us and Monaco (Coach Corp.) There’s too many brands. It confuses the consumer. So, you’re going to see a lot more emphasis on (the name) Fleetwood as well as a rationalization of product and brands.”
As a result, Caudill said, Fleetwood “may reduce the number of nameplates but not the number of price-point products, which is really what the consumer wants. We’ve got way too many names. They blend over each other. People don’t know what they’re buying.”
Because the effort to update Fleetwood’s brand strategy has just started, Caudill said, he does not know which brands will survive, but he explained, “We’re not going to take away peoples’ Bounders or their Pace Arrows, or Southwinds or their Discoverys, but the Fleetwood name will have a larger presence on their vehicles.”
Late last year, Fleetwood hired marketing executive Scott Grafft to the newly created position of senior vice president – strategic planning.
“He has a lot of expertise in brand positioning and market development,” Caudill said. “He’s just really starting to look at (updating Fleetwood’s brand strategy) along with our own people. Our own people realize we have too many brands and too much product confusion.”
However, no major changes are expected for model year 2004 because Caudill said, “We really need to go out and measure what equity there is in each brand and what identification there is in the consumers’ mind for each brand. And then we need to have a strategy laid out to make sure we offer the customer the variety that he wants without so many brand names.”
Caudill added that some of Fleetwood’s towables brand names are as strong as its motorhome brands. “It’s according to the market,” he said. “People in the towables market know Prowler and Terry and Wilderness are Fleetwood brands. Some of the other brands, like Triumph and Pride, have less equity but they’re relatively new.”