August '18

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rv-pro.com August 2018 • RV PRO • 43 brought in its West Coast rep for the brand, Peter Kinden, and tasked him to become product manager for Reflection and also to help with the introduction of Grand Design's next new brand, Imagine. "As with all of our products, our primary focus was on quality and functionality. We were adamant about limited floorplans, focusing exclusively on top-selling designs. We recognized that a brand only gets one shot at a first impression and we wanted Reflection's to be stellar," Kinden recalls. Reflection was instantly in "high demand, but we were early in the brand's start-up phase. Instead of jeopardizing Reflection's quality and rushing mass production, we stayed disciplined and built at a responsible pace," he says. Grand Design in June was adding additional space to the existing 170,000-square-foot Reflection facility, which will further help meet dealer demands. Presently, Grand Design has carefully raised its capacity to meet the growing demand of its Reflection brand roughly 300 percent more than its rate during its first years of production. "But," Kinden stresses, "from Day 1, our goal was never to be the largest manufacturer in the industry. Our goal was to build the best possible product for the customer. If growth comes as a by product, we will take it." Secret to Success So, what is the secret to Reflection's success? "That question has been asked a lot," Kinden says. "If you break it down feature by feature, we build the quality and value in, we don't bolt it on. The cornerstone of Grand Design is our pursuit of quality and our unique service after the sale. The competition tries to copy our floorplans but they can never copy who we are. That is the recipe for all our products." And those various benefits are backed up by Grand Design's three-year structural warranty on all of its products, he notes. Kinden says that Reflection "went through a pretty healthy lifestyle refinement in June 2017." The brand remains fresh and no dramatic changes are anticipated for 2019. However, Grand Design did take an additional step in the late winter and introduced five floorplans in its new 150 Series, which is designed specifically for half-ton tow vehicles. Key features are: floorplans with dry weights that start at less than 7,000 pounds, hitch weights that start at 1,200 pounds, and with a 90-degree turn radius pin box designed for short-bed trucks. Reflection's demographic follows industry trends, Kinden says, although he notes, "In the last 18 months, I've been to many of the major retail regional shows throughout the country and we're seeing lots of younger buyers as well as older, first- time buyers." When talking with customers, he describes the Reflection as "a mid-priced, towable fifth wheel that is heavily sprinkled with luxury features. We simply give more for the dollar. We've hit a sweet spot and we're running with it." Demand Continues to Exceed Supply Despite the recent expansions, demand still exceeds present capacity. Clark adds, "Thanks to Winnebago Industries' confidence and support, we are adding to Grand Design's capacity. Our relationship with Winnebago has been positive and has helped with our accelerated growth." Winnebago Industries' quarterly reports provide a hint at Grand Design's performance. Although the breakdown doesn't go into each Grand Design brand, Winnebago revealed that in the third quarter (ending May 26), Winnebago delivered 3,703 fifth wheels to dealers, representing a 20 percent increase over the third quarter of last year. The vast majority of the towable figures represent Grand Design brands. Meanwhile, unit backlog of both travel trailers and fifth wheels totaled 9,968 units valued at $313 million. Again, Grand Design accounted for the major share of backlog. Clark declined to break out the Grand Design brands from the Winnebago report, but says, "Our backlog continues to be strong; retail demand continues to be high, which means dealers continue to have an appetite for our product. We have a responsibility to our dealers to do what we can to fill their needs in a timely manner." A freestanding table and chairs and a chase lounge dinette are available as options for select Reflection models.

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