December '17

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18 • RV PRO • December 2017 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S Coachmen Gaining Ground in Class A Segment As the Class A market wasn't growing like other segments, it prompted a reexamination of the Coachmen Class A product lineup, which led to significant product changes starting in early summer, according to company President Michael Terlep. "We have re-aligned our product line up to provide a far better value proposition, while balancing out our floorplan offerings to meet the demands of today's customer," the industry veteran says. Coachmen introduced six new floorplans at the Forest River Expo, four of which were shorter in length. The new 27-, 29-, 30- and 32-foot floorplans are spread across Coachmen's Class A gas lineup of Pursuit/ Pursuit Pre- cision and Mirada. Additionally, a 31-foot bunkhouse will be introduced at the Louisville RVIA show. "These new products are generating results, as evidenced by our market share increase this last quarter. Our dealers have also enthusiastically endorsed the changes we have made in our products, as our unit backlog is now the largest it has been since we were acquired by Forest River in 2008," Terlep says. "Several key dealers were very influential in the re-evaluation and re-alignment of our Class A product line up. As a result of listening to their input, as well as the voice of our target consumer, our Class A business is as strong as it has ever been." Terlep adds, "We simply were not as competitive as we needed to be in the entry-level price and we were missing some key floorplans across the board. To both of these points, that is no longer the case." Base MSRPs are between $118,000 and $124,000 for the RV maker's Pursuit and $127,000 and $140,000 for Mirada, which puts them in the meat of the market. Figure 4 Gas vs. Diesel Product Mix: 2008-2017* Year Gas / Diesel Mix 2008 47.98% / 52.02% 2009 45.18% / 54.82% 2010 50.96% / 49.04% 2011 56.54% / 43.46% 2012 58.22% / 41.78% 2013 61.07% / 38.93% 2014 63.82% / 36.18% 2015 66.15% / 33.85% 2016 67.76% / 32.24% 2017* 66.56% / 33.44% * Through Aug. 31. Source: Statistical Surveys 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 GAS DIESEL Terlep notes that the amenities in Class A's have taken the product to an entirely new level. "The technology advancements ranging from electronics, Bluetooth, GPS to systems and supporting Apps has made for a far more user friendly and convenient product that appeals to a broad breadth of demographics … and yes, Millennials included," Terlep says. "As our customer demographics have transitioned from Tra- ditionalist, to Boomers, to Gen Xers to Millennials, the Class A product has had to keep pace with the expectations, demands and needs of the changing customer," he adds. "Very few owners today carry tool boxes and enjoy tinkering with their coach. Product quality is paramount and customer satisfaction is our No. 1 priority. We work very closely with our dealers to enhance and improve the ownership experience." Terlep says he believes that the Class A market recovery since the Recession is similar to the overall economic recovery … slow and steady. Asked why, he identifies a change in the landscape of Class A product in both size and price points, tighter controls pertaining to retail financing and a cautious consumer sediment. "Keep in mind that the number of first-time buyers have had a significant influence in the overall growth of the industry. Historically, Class A purchases have not typically been first-time buyers," he notes. Class A registrations remain relatively flat. Still, Terlep is optimistic on the Class A segment. "I firmly believe that 2018 will be our best year ever in Class A growth," he says. "We've already increased production As shown in the graph above, diesel's share of the Class A market peaked in 2009, but has declined on the whole since then. Today, gas-powered Class A's are outselling diesel ones by a two-to-one margin.

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