Class A motorhome and fifth-wheel manufacturer Newmar Corp. will begin construction of a service center and campsites later this year if it can persuade Nappanee, Ind., officials to annex the 40 acres of land on which the facility would be built, according to the Elkhart Truth.
Newmar launched its expansion effort when the attorney for the real estate developer hired by Newmar appeared before Nappanee town officials earlier this week. The attorney said he did not know the details of Newmar’s plans, but a Nappanee official said she was told that the company planned to use the land for a new service center and campsites for service center patrons, according to the Truth.
The Nappanee Town Council will conduct a public hearing on Aug. 2 on the ordinance that would allow the annexation. Two more hearings on the proposal likely will be conducted later in August council meetings, and then there would be a 60-day waiting period before the annexation could become final.
Newmar ranked No. 7 in retail market share among the producers of gas- and diesel-engine Class A’s, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
Newmar had a 5.6% share of the retail market for Class A’s during the first four months of this year, but the number of motorhomes its dealers sold during the period declined by 2.1% compared with the first four months of 2003.
Retail sales of gas- and diesel-engine Class A’s built by all manufacturers increased 13% in the first four months of this year compared with the same period a year earlier.
An effort by Newmar to reverse the decline apparently is under way, as indicated by the recent hiring of former Fleetwood RV Group executive John Sammut as the company’s director of sales.
Newmar is one of the smaller players in fifth-wheels, focusing its attention on the lower-volume, high-end product category. However, the recently hiring of Jeff Cripe from major towables producer Keystone RV Co. suggests Newmar intends to give towables more emphasis.
During the first four months of this year, Newmar ranked 21st among fifth-wheel builders with a 0.8% retail market share, Statistical Surveys reports. Retail sales of Newmar fifth-wheels, in terms of units, also declined by 26% during the first four months of this year, when compared with the same period a year earlier.
The entire retail market for fifth-wheels expanded by 23% when the first four months of this year are compared with the same portion of 2003, Statistical Surveys also reported.