Jayco Inc. has suspended production of its AVATAR diesel pushers and Firenza gas-engine Class A motorhomes, President and COO Derald Bontrager confirmed on Tuesday (Feb. 18).
The action was taken because “at foreseeable volume levels, we are unable to support existing Class A motorhome production facilities without penalizing our more established operations.”
Jayco, a significant producer of Class C motorhomes and towable RVs, entered the Class A motorhome sector in 2001, but its dealers retailed only three Class A’s in 2001 and they sold 64 units in 2002, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
The Middlebury, Ind. company had only a 0.2% share of the retail market for Class A’s in 2002, Statistical Surveys reported.
“Despite our best efforts, we realize that our current Class A motorhome offering is not positioned to take full advantage of the Jayco name and reputation in the marketplace,” Bontrager said on Tuesday. “Therefore, it has become necessary for us to downsize our motorhome operations and significantly reduce our cost structures.”
Bontrager left open the possibility of Jayco re-entering the Class A market, but he added. “While we evaluate our position in the Class A motorhome market, we will focus our attention on the Class C motorhome market segment, where we already are a major player.”
In Class C’s, Jayco ranked No. 6 with a 6.9% share of the retail market during 2002, Statistical Surveys reported.
Jayco’s Class A motorhome assembly plant north of Middlebury will be “mothballed” and possibly sold, said Sid Johnson, the company’s director of marketing.
However, Johnson also said, “Our plan is to evaluate how and when to re-enter” the Class A market. The AVATAR and Firenza were “overpriced,” so if Jayco re-enters Class A’s, it would look more towards the low-to-mid price ranges for gas and diesel engine units, he added.
Last month, Jayco revealed it added a high-volume production line in Middlebury and reopened its mothballed factory in nearby Lagrange, Ind., late last year so it could produce more towable units.
Jayco ranked No. 4 in the combined travel-trailer/fifth-wheel category with a 6.2% retail market share in the first 11 months of 2002 and it ranked No. 3 in folding campers during the same period with an 11.2% retail market share, according to Statistical Surveys.