March '20

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52 • RV PRO • March 2020 rv-pro.com feedback, the newly designed Prisms will feature particularly functional floorplans that offer some of the largest kitchen counters, kitchen cabinets and interior closet spaces. Coupling the livable inte- riors with large exterior storage and class- leading propane, water and cargo carrying capacity, the new Prism will be designed to meet any customer's needs." How Class C sales overall fare this year is anyone's guess. "Even if we have a slight decline, we should be in a position now where we're doing a better job as manufacturers man- aging our yards and fields. I think our dealers are doing a better job of managing their inventory," says Bear. "If you look at the stats, 2017 was a really good year. 2018 was great, but not a growth year, but everybody treated it like it was going to grow like it did between 2016 and 2017. "There was a lot of capacity in the mar- ketplace. Even though the Forest River busi- ness model is to only build what we have orders for, a lot of the players jammed and crammed dealers. Dealers bought inventory heavily early in the year because there was a shortage of readily available product." He adds, "I believe this year we'll have consistent run rates that will allow us to be efficient. It will help us with distri- bution and strengthen our relationships with dealers. I'm looking forward to a year where we can deliver product timely and take even better care of our customers." Too Many Competitors in Niche Market? The Sprinter market is different now than it was after the RV industry emerged from the 2008-2009 recession. "If you look at that market today versus five years ago, there's probably two to three times the amount of people in that business, so we have a lot of people competing for a rel- atively small segment of the Class C market," says Bear. "I think that's still a good, solid segment and we're committed to staying and winning in that segment. I think it's just going to get a little convoluted as we come through this last change in Mercedes chassis. "One of my biggest concerns is where this huge price increase in chassis is going to leave us as an industry. We are all in the same boat, but ultimately, it's going to be a $10,000 increase to the retail customer," Bear adds. "In all fairness, the customer will get more safety features, but when you think about it, whenever you get a product – whether it be a car, a boat or an RV that takes that big of a jump all in one bite – I think we should be concerned." The differentiator will be the amenities each OEM offers, Bear speculates. "For our next generation Prism, it will feature a new front cap, new front windows, Renegade RV introduced an updated version of the Villagio motorhome (pictured) at January's Florida RV Supershow in Tampa. Standard interior appointments on this motorhome include maple hardwood cabinets and solid-surface countertops, a deluxe dinette, roller-style night shades and heavy-duty vinyl flooring throughout the coach.

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