Gulf Stream Coach Inc. decided to jump-start the wholesale demand for its model year 2001 motorhomes by scheduling its dealer meeting unusually early this year, said Brian Shea, president of the motorhome division.

The move turned out to be successful, Shea said.

“Dealer attitudes lately have been real good,” Shea continued. “They’re seeing the (high) gas prices haven’t hurt them that bad. Confidence is building.

“We didn’t want to over-build 2000s so we pulled back production in early May,” he added. “We started to ramp-up (model year 2001 production) in June.”
The Nappanee, Ind.-based company held its dealer meeting this year on June 15 in nearby South Bend, Ind., and Shea said 150 dealerships were represented at the gathering.

Gulf Stream’s retail network is comprised of 200 to 250 independent dealerships, he added.

Retail sales of Gulf Stream motorhomes “has been pretty consistent, as good as last year,” Shea said.

Gulf Stream ranked No. 8 in retail sales of motorhomes during 1999 with a 3.9% market share, according to market research firm Statistical Surveys Inc.

However, sharply higher interest rates this spring led to dealers reducing their order volumes to lower their finance charges, he said.