|October 2003||Volume 29 - Number 3|
Cover Story Page 3
“We have reinvested in the company and the industry. It is easier for Dan and me to get more involved in association activities because we have an excellent management team in place. Our continuing emphasis on training, including college level courses, has produced one of the best group of employees in the industry today.
“I know we have arrived as a major player in the RV industry and we have created an environment and reputation that now has more dealers wanting to take on our product lines. Although we do have some open territories, we actually have fewer dealers now than we did a few years ago."
Donati adds, "Our relationship with many of our key dealers has been nurtured and is now at the point where they can maximize profits with the Gulf Stream products. We are ready to take on more business, but not at the risk of offending those who have brought us to this climatic twentieth anniversary year. We are now attracting the attention of some of the largest dealers in the country who regard our product mix and quality at the same level as the industry leaders.
“Our growth will be regulated and will be focused on excellent customer service. We want to partner with the right people. Gulf Stream RV’s use name brand components, have outstanding interiors and floor plans, and are aggressively priced to allow the dealers to make the profit they need to be successful.
“I think our products are the most profitable RV’s on the dealer’s lot today. We don’t overbuild, in fact, we usually build to order and there is no inventory sitting in the yard. Everything out there is prepped and ready to be delivered."
The motorized division is literally and figuratively "on a roll" these days. Donati notes, "Dealer acceptance of our new products has been amazing. Our luxury coach business is up 40% and our Class C business is up 25%. Every product in our lineup is selling well. On the high-end of our line, the Atrium and Friendship G7 have been very well received at the major RV shows. The new Endura Class C with the Kodiak chassis is a real beast. When you put this motorhome up against conventional Class C’s built on the van type chassis, there is real product differentiation and we can’t build them fast enough.
“The new Crescendo diesel motorhome offers mid-level options and engine at an entry level price. We can continue to provide this type of price to product benefit to our dealers because of our manufacturing expertise and flat management structure.
“We have also introduced our new Vista Cruiser that is built on the Freightliner Mercedes-Benz unit. This is the first unit that was approved by the Sprinter Division and we are already building two a day."
The RV divisions have been helped by the success of Jim Shea’s original vision, the Fairmont manufactured homes. They are the #1 manufacturer in the thirteen state area where their products are distributed through dealers. Like other companies, their business was impacted by the downturn of the industry, but it is still a profitable operation and their expertise has benefited the RV divisions.
Brian said, "We benefit from
their manufacturing expertise
and buying power. The combined
purchasing power of the
entire company helps all our
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