Highline Class A motorhome and fifth-wheel manufacturer Newmar Corp. will be adding a 130,000-square-foot chassis preparation facility to its complex in Nappanee, Ind., following the town’s annexation of acreage purchased by Newmar in 2003.
“We bought around 70 acres last year,” Newmar President Dick Parks said. “There were three separate pieces. Currently, we are asking for annexation into the city of two of the parcels, one around 20 acres and the other 40 acres. We are planning on building the chassis prep facility on the 20-acre piece on the north side of our complex.”
Construction is slated to begin in March, according to Parks, and will consolidate all of the company’s chassis preparation for towables and motorhomes.
“Right now we do chassis prep at several different facilities,” Park said. “By consolidating, we will improve on overall efficiency.”
However, building a chassis prep facility does not mean Newmar will assemble its own diesel pusher motorhome chassis, as does a few of its competitors.
“Never say never, but, right now, we’re satisfied with buying our chassis because the chassis manufacturers have to continue to try to make chassis better and better, and that requires a lot of investment,” Parks said. “If we were doing it ourselves, we’d have to keep spending money after money to keep the chassis up. So we’re satisfied with what these chassis specialists (Freightliner, Spartan and Workhorse) are doing.
“We don’t think there’s anything wrong with building your own chassis, except you’ve got to keep investing money to make that chassis better to keep up with the specialists,” Parks continued. “It doesn’t work with our operating model at this time, but never say never.
“Right now we’re focusing on that box and marrying that box up with that chassis,” he said.
Newmar had strong market-share growth in the Class A motorhome market . Newmar ranked No. 6 with a 6.3% retail market share in Class A’s during the first 11 months of 2003, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market reserach firm.
During the first 11 months of 2002, Newmar had a 5.8% share of the Class A retail market.
The number of Class A’s its dealers sold during the first 11 months of 2003 grew by 15.3% compared with the same portion of 2002, Statistical Surveys also reported.