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Monaco Coach Corp.’s retail market share in diesel engine Class A motorhomes slipped down to 25.5% in February, but Chairman and CEO Kay Toolson believes the company’s diesel-pusher market share will be up around 30% by the end of this year.
“We’re not happy with the performance we’ve seen in the first two months (of 2004),” Toolson said during a conference call with investment analysts last week. ”Even if there are people (competing manufacturers) out there with very competitive prices and are happy with (profit) margins that are a little bit less than ours, we’re going to try to have a product people will pay extra for. If we have the right features and benefits, I think we can do that. We’ve done it in the past.”
Monaco introduced some 2005 diesel-pusher models during the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) convention in Albuquerque, N.M., in March and will introduce the remainder of its 2005 lineup during its national dealer meeting in San Antonio, Texas June 28-30.
Monaco is working especially hard on its low- to midprice-point diesel pushers for 2005, Toolson said.
“The lower and midprice-point diesel products are quite competitive, there’s a lot of people who’ve come out with models in particular niches that they priced very competitively and are gaining market share in part because of pricing,” according to Toolson. “We’re trying to hold our margins on those products and really come out with products that are better values for the prices we’re offering. We’ll have some big improvements particularly in the lower end of our diesel product mix.”
Toolson also said he believed the data gathered by Statistical Surveys Inc., the source for RV industry retail sales data, “sometimes lag” the sales figures that Monaco gets from its dealers and from consumer warranty registrations.
During the first two weeks of April, retail sales of Monaco’s diesel and gas-engine motorhomes and towable RVs occurred at a faster pace than the company’s production rates, Toolson added.
The importance of the diesel segment to Monaco is indicated by the fact 77% of Monaco’s $355 million in sales revenue for the first quarter of this year came from diesel pushers, said Marty Daley, CFO. Gas-engine Class A and Class C motorhomes accounted for 14% of Monaco’s first-quarter revenue and towables contributed 9%, he said.
Industrywide, diesel-engine units accounted for 46% of the total Class A motorhome market during the first two months of this year, compared with 43% a year earlier, President John Nepute said, citing Statistical Surveys figures.
“We gave up market share on the diesel side, while gaining on the gas side with an 8.5% market share,” Nepute said. “As more manufacturers crowd into the diesel market, we’re pleased to see that it’s expanding and we’re happy to see our attempts to make inroads into the gas market having retail success.”