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Forest River Inc., Elkhart, Ind., is a major producer of towable RVs and company executives believe it is the largest cargo trailer manufacturer, but growing its motorhome business now is the top priority, according to Pete Liegl, president and CEO.
“There are several growth areas that we are concentrating on right now,” Liegl said during a recent interview, which will appear in its entirety in the May edition of RV Business. “No. 1 is motorized (RVs). We are very serious about motorized, even though that is one big area in the RV sector that we have been a very small player in. But tomorrow is coming quickly, and things will change.”
In terms of retail market share, Forest River ranked No. 11 last year in the combined Class A and Class C category. It was No. 14 in Class A motorhomes and No. 7 in Class C’s in 2002, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
But Liegl said Forest River plans to build a 500,000-square-foot motorhome manufacturing complex in Northern Indiana so it can produce more units.
Forest River has made an offer to buy a site for the motorhome complex, although no deal has been completed. Liegl declined to reveal the exact location of the property.
The motorhome complex would include one building for mainstream Class A’s and one for the company’s Tsunami highline diesel pusher.
The Tsunami, which wholesales for $250,000, was “a super success” at the Family Motorcoach Association (FMCA) International Rally in Pomona, Calif., March 21-23, Liegl said.
“The response to the Tsunami, our first high-end product, has been overwhelming from retail and dealers,” he said.
“If you look at some of the people that we have (on staff) who have come from a motorized background and look at some of the products we make, you can see that we have taken the motorized market seriously,” Liegl added.