Gulf Stream Coach Inc. climbed to No. 2 in retail market share in the Class C motorhome category for the month of December, and executives at the Nappanee, Ind., firm are confident the trend will continue.
In reaching the No. 2 position, Gulf Stream achieved a 14% market share for Class C’s in December, an all-time high for the company.
The December retail sales data from Statistical Surveys Inc., which Gulf Stream cited, confirms Gulf Stream Class C’s had a strong finish in 2003. For all of 2003, Gulf Stream finished No. 4 in Class C’s with a 10.9% market share.
The leader in Class C’s in December and for the year was Winnebago Industries Inc., with a 20.9% share in December and a 23.4% share for the year, according to Statistical Surveys, an independent market research firm.
Finishing No. 2 in Class C’s for the year was Thor Industries Inc., at 14.8%, followed by Coachmen Industries Inc. at 12.7%, Statistical Surveys reported.
In December, Coachmen placed No. 3 in market share for Class C’s at 13.8%, followed b Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., at 10%. Thor was No. 5 for the month at 9.8%, according to Statistical Surveys.
Gulf Stream Class C’s are gaining popularity because the 2004 models include features usually seen only in higher-line motorhomes, said Joe Luther, Gulf Stream’s national sales manager for Class C’s. Those features include 7-foot ceilings, slam-latch basement doors, flush-floor slides, solid wood cabinetry, a full fiberglass roof, steel floor trusses rated to withstand 6,000 pounds each and all-paint graphics.
Gulf Stream’s flexible manufacturing techniques also contributed to its market share growth, said Brian Shea, president of Gulf Stream’s Motorized Division.
“We are really working on a six-month cycle,” Shea said. “As a privately owned family business, we are by no means limited by a board of overseers. If there is a positive change, we implement it immediately.”
It appears some Class C manufacturers are concentrating on the rental market too much and it’s putting a strain on their relationships with their dealers and customers, Luther added.
“While we also maintain a close eye on rental programs with our Yellowstone products, Gulf Stream has made a commitment to our dealers that they will always have products to sell on their lots. This shows our dealer body and our customers that they are our priority,” he said