June '17

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26 • RV PRO • June 2017 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S • The large Mountain Aire has been joined by a little brother for 2018, as a 40-foot model was introduced with a floorplan similar to the 4018 Dutch Star brand. Still, one of the most eye-catching innovations joining the Newmar lineup comes courtesy of Flexsteel. Exclusive to Newmar for 2018 models, Flexsteel introduced the Lift-and-Lock Sofa Bunk. Instead of being a fold-out bed, the sofa pops up, offering two sleeping bunks. Former Newmar Director of Product Planning and Design Kyle McCrary, who passed away in January, came up with the idea and Flexsteel engineers saw it through to completion. "I think it's phenomenal," Miller said. "It's a game changer for people who want bunks sometimes, but not really all the time. And it sits well. If you don't open it up, nobody will ever know it's not just a sofa because it sits so well. It's really a great way for dealers to stock inventory that appeals to a couple of different segments." The bunk is 61.5 inches tall when opened. The upper sleeping surface is 69.5 inches by 22 inches and the lower area is 71.5 inches by 33 inches. When opened, the bunks are secured by a ladder and support mechanism. Side walls, which fold down when not in use, keep young fingers from getting into areas where they might get pinched. Several dealers expressed interest in the sofa because they said it gives an option to traditional bunkhouse models. One dealer said bunkhouse models either sell right away or else they sit on lots for months at a time waiting for a buyer. "To have all the new product in the display for them to touch and feel and see and experience firsthand is very pow- erful," Sammut said. New Year a Comeback After a 2016 that saw Newmar reduce staff and reduce production, Miller said he is confident that early indications in 2017 and the reaction to the 2018 models will put Newmar on solid footing for the year ahead. He said that, although the Class A motorhome retail market dropped off in the first quarter of 2017, Newmar's adjustments helped the RV maker make sure dealers had fresh inventory that was turning in a timely manner and not getting stale on the lots. "So, we increased our production late last summer and went back to 40 units a week and we've been running at that 40 to 45 units per week rate since then," he said. "I think 2017 is probably going to push us to a higher rate at some point." He said reaction at the unveiling to the 2018 models – and particularly the New Aire – offered a boost of confidence and a little bit of a pleasant surprise. "We have to project (the number of ) chassis (that will be needed) for Freightliner," he said with a laugh. "I'm pretty sure we underestimated the demand for the New Aire, but we'll recover. It'll take us three months or so, and we'll have plenty of chassis. But the first little while we probably under- estimated the number of chassis we'll need." Newmar President Matt Miller (left) and Chairman Dick Parks (right) present an award for delivery excellence to Steinbring Motorcoach of Garfield, Mich., during the RV maker's dealer event.

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