Newmar Corp. again hosted top-performing suppliers – a crowd of 170 diners — at the Nappanee, Ind., motorhome manufacturer’s Annual Vendor Appreciation Dinner on Oct. 23 at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, Ind.
Originally the idea of former Newmar Chairman Virgil Miller, a highly respected industry leader who passed away in 2002, the dinner is a means of rewarding component suppliers for maintaining high standards in purveying goods to Newmar. And it remains so in an era in which Newmar motorhomes continue to gain cachet with the American coach-buying public, John Sammut, vice president of sales, told the group.
“Congratulations to all of you, the suppliers to Newmar Corporation in attendance here this evening,” said Sammut. “The fact that you have been invited to this year’s event is confirmation that you and your employees have continued the commitment to our company to provide some of the best components, materials and services to our teams in purchasing, manufacturing, engineering, and parts and service. Your exemplary support of our company allows us to continue to manufacture some of the best built, best designed, best backed, and now some of the fasted growing motorhome brands in the RV industry today.”
Among the vendors recognized, based on internal surveys:
• Virgil Miller Award of Excellence: Equipment Service/Stressco Machine Inc.
• Salesperson of the Year: Joe Gales, independent representative
• Customer Service Awards: Stacy Miller, REM Industries, and Amanda Girten, Positron Corp.
• Delivery Service Award: David Williams, Cummins Onan Inc.
• Engineering Innovation Award: Cass Hudson Co. Inc.
Top 10 Vendors: Almega Tru-Flex Inc., DH Machine Inc., Industrial Finishes, Lambright Comfort Chair LLC, Medallion Plastics Inc., Cummins Onan Inc., Quality Hardwood Sales LLC, River Park Inc., Positron Corp. and Ramco Engineering Inc.
While Newmar has never considered itself a volume-oriented manufacturer, the latest retail reports from Statistical Surveys Inc. indicate that Newmar, which specializes in upscale diesel motorhomes, has indeed been gaining ground in the marketplace, according to Sammut, who shared a “report card” with the Essenhaus guests that included:
• In a retail Class A motorhome market that was up 12.2% year-to-date through August — and with gas up 17.2% and diesels up 4.2% nationally — Newmar’s total Class A registrations increased 47.8% and its combined gas and diesel market share grew to 6.9% from 5.2% for the same time period in 2013.
• While Newmar’s gas Class A retails were up 11.0%, the family-held company’s diesel Class A registrations rose an impressive 83.5%, its diesel market share reaching 12.0% from 6.8% in 2013.
• Driving the majority of the company’s sales growth through August were its Ventana LE and Dutch Star lines – now Newmar’s sales leader – as well as the Ventana, Mountain Aire, Essex and Bay Star Sport brands.
“Orders for Newmar product are up 40% calendar year-to-date,” said Sammut. “Although our company has increased production twice since our dealer meeting in late May, to our current rate of 40 units per week, delivery times for some of our company’s motorhome brands are out as far as early April.”
“Newmar dealers’ inventories,” he said, “are healthy with a large majority of their units in stock being fresh with aged inventory at an all-time low. Newmar’s dealer network is in the best shape since 2006. Our company has added many new dealers since last year’s Vendor Appreciation Dinner, and this has contributed immensely to our company’s growth in business.”
Essentially behind the growth, he added, has been an array of factors, from product innovation to superior design, quality in manufacturing, commendable service and parts support in addition to new quality dealers, an increased focus on product training, astute marketing and quality staff. “Quite frankly,” said Sammut, “more and more people are ‘Getting to know the Newmar Difference.’”