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The dealers who stock Newmar Corp. motorhomes and towable RVs are “fairly bullish” and President Dick Parks believes attitudes will continue improving “with the impending victory” in Iraq.
So far, Newmar, based in Nappanee, Ind., has had a good 2003, climbing to No. 4 in terms of retail market share in the Class A motorhomes segment, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
During the first two months of 2002, Newmar ranked No. 5 in Class A’s, both gas and diesel, Statistical Surveys reported.
“We’re doing fairly well as far as retail goes,” Parks told RVBUSINESS.COM today (April 10). “Our wholesale is fairly strong although I can’t say it’s as strong as it was in January.”
Many manufacturers have reported that their dealer orders fell off sharply beginning in mid-February as dealers became worried about the impact of a war in Iraq on consumer confidence.
Newmar was not immune, and the 900-employee firm did work some four-day work weeks, although it did not lay off any workers and has no plans to do so, Parks said.
Newmar employees will work a three-day week next week (April 14-18), but that is because the company will observe Good Friday as a day off. (Many Elkhart County, Ind., companies do not conduct business on Good Friday.)
The company has been able to maintain its normal schedule of building 17 motorhomes and towable RVs per day on one production line.
It does not build any units that have not already been sold to a dealer, Parks said. “We’ll stay conservative, it’s not Mahlon’s (Newmar Chairman Mahlon Miller) philosophy to build ‘open’ units. We might not capture all the business because people might have to wait” to buy units when demand is strong.
“So, we try to build the best product so people will think it’s worth waiting for,” Parks said.
He added that he is pleased with the demand for Newmar’s Scottsdale-brand gas-engine Class A motorhome introduced last June. Meanwhile, the Dutch Star diesel pusher is Newmar’s top-selling Class A motorhome brand. The Dutch Star ranked No. 7 in retail market share among all Class A motorhome brands during the first two months of this year, Statistical Surveys reported.