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Old 05-31-2007, 04:27 PM   #1
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Here is something from RV Business News that should help those who have concerns for NRV's stability.
Gleen from it what you will.


Is SoCal's National RV Poised for a Comeback?
RV Business
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Although the RV industry is cyclical by nature, Perris, Calif.-based National RV Inc. (NRV) has experienced more than its share of ups and downs in recent years.

Yet, NRV's management team is here to tell you that National RV, an all-motorized manufacturer best known for its mid-priced Dolphin line of Class A motorhomes, is on the mend. That's the message being broadcast right now to America's recreational vehicle dealers.

"There's a lot of misinformation out there, and we just haven't done a good job getting our side of the story out," maintains NRV President Len Southwick, who joined NRV Vice President of Sales Doug Kollmyer and Director of Sales Scott Degnan in an early May interview with RVBusiness during which NRV's management was offered a chance to speak its mind without interference from competitors or financial analysts. "With the sale of Country Coach, we are financially stable "” extremely stable, more so than we've been in a long time. It's time for the RV public and the RV dealers to understand what the truth is "” and the truth is that we're a strong company. We've got great products, and we have unbelievable things on the horizon.

"We'll have something at Louisville that will be one of those unique ˜industry-changing' things, in my opinion," he added. "We've spent an inordinate amount of money in our engineering department, and our development department "” and it's going to pay off."

On the heels of its fifth consecutive year of financial losses "” in 2006 the firm registered a net loss of $24.3 million followed by a $4 million loss in this year's first quarter "” NRV has announced plans to sell a third of its Perris, Calif. manufacturing campus to a division of First Industrial Realty Trust of Chicago for $31.8 million. That would nearly double the company's recent cash infusion from the February sale by its parent firm, National RV Holdings Inc., of what was then its lone profit-generating subsidiary, Country Coach Inc., to a group of investors for $38.3 million.

According to NRV's management, however, those statistics fail to present the complete picture. In Southwick's assessment, the company's financial performance has overshadowed more positive steps taken by the venerable manufacturer. "National RV went through a period of time, when it went public and when it bought Country Coach, where there was a lot of concern in upper management between the two companies at the beginning," said Southwick. "That caused [a situation where] they had five presidents at National RV in five years. I'm the fifth.

"The company had to be turned and faced in the right direction," he continued. "It had been five years of losses. We put together "” from the current company and a few new people "” a team back in October 2005 that would turn around this company ... guys like Scott and Doug and Larry Budica, vice president of engineering, and Mike Cloninger, vice president of operations, and John Millis, director of product planning. It took us six months. We lowered the cost of production and improved the margins on some of our products. For the last three months of '05 and the first three months of '06, we had less loss every single month "” until March of '06, when we were profitable, the first profitable month in a long time.

"We made a million dollars in March of '06, and the company had turned. Our market share had gone from the 4's to the 6's, percentage-wise. We had management and employees that were fired up. We had dealers joining us "” it was just exciting. And then the [Crane Composites] sidewall-material problem hit, and it literally took the wind out of the company, and a lot of cash, and it's taken a year to recover from that."

The situation led to the eventual sale of Country Coach to a group led by Los Angeles investor Bryant Riley that also included members of Country Coach management.

"We would not have sold Country Coach had it not been for the financial position the sidewall company put us in," Southwick said. "One thing that has not gotten out to the dealers, and to the RV public, is the devastation that this sidewall problem caused. We tried to keep it in-house so that it didn't affect our dealers negatively, but it put us in a financial position that was very difficult."

While the sidewall-delamination problem has yet to be completely resolved "” NRV is suing its vendor to recoup millions of dollars spent on warranty claims "” the company has, in many ways, already moved on. "During the time we were [dealing with] the sidewall material problem," Southwick said, "we have quietly put together one of the strongest teams in the industry "” if not the strongest team in the industry "” as far as products, development, manufacturing and so on. We are in a better position than we have been in years."

NRV's new Pacifica "” the only motorhome currently available with a curbside full-wall slideout "” is the first example of this effort. However, Kollmyer declined to discuss specifics in advance of the company's 2008 product rollout at this fall's Louisville Show, although he did acknowledge that the manufacturer was not only learning from past mistakes but past successes. "Going back, National was very successful with the micro-mini Dolphin," he noted. "Over the years, I think maybe National tried to become some things it was not, and we want to get back to where National was successful in the past. We're looking real hard at what we can do to make that happen. We're looking very hard at the segments where we're not performing very well. I will tell you that we're probably not performing at the most price-sensitive, affordable segments, so that's where we're looking first.

"I'll also tell you that after we introduce our '08 lineup, every product we currently offer will have had a life-cycle change within two years. If you go back three or four years, you'll see that the product hadn't changed much, and had become a little stale."

NRV currently manufactures Tradewinds, Pacifica and Tropi-Cal diesel motorhomes and the Sea Breeze, Dolphin and Surf Side nameplates in its more affordable gas lineup. "One of the comments I heard recently was that we have to offer a unique product, we can't try to be like some of our competitors," Kollmyer continued. "That's one of our focuses ... we're looking to offer innovative products that are very, very affordable, that are easy for dealers to sell and that are appealing to customers."

NRV's dealer format is also subject to change. "If a dealer carries Dolphin and Tropi-Cal, for instance, they are not entitled to carry all National brands," Degnan said. "Our dealers will be set up by brand, as other manufacturers do. We are in the process of restructuring that so we will have our dealers signed up as individual dealers for those brands.

"What that allows us to do in some cases is split the brands within a market. Because our brands are not sister products "” they don't compete with one another "” we could have two dealers in one market, each selling National RV [products], not competing with each other. Our goal is still to have one dealer per market, carrying all of our brands. But if they can't handle that load, we will have a second point of distribution in that market."

National has also been increasing its dealer network. "We're very aggressive on a campaign to add new dealers," Degnan pointed out. "We'll have brought on eight new dealers within about a six- or seven-week period, and we're going for the largest dealer in each market or the secondary dealer in each market."

National's dealer focus has also prompted the company to add a sixth regional sales manager, reducing the number of dealers with which each manager works, along with refining payment schedules. "Our sales managers are paid half of their commissionable money at wholesale, and half at retail," Degnan noted. "I know other [manufacturers] have tried that at different times, but we're going to stick with it, going forward. The dealers understand that the inventory we're moving in is not just to ˜pipe fill' them, but also to push it out the other side."

As Kollmyer noted, National also will work to eliminate sales incentives, despite market pressures.

"The entire industry has been using too many incentives," he said. "If we have the best product out there, they just aren't necessary."
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:48 PM   #2
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the letter to rvb is just propaganda for the public. LOOK at their history and sec filings.
that tells it all.
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Old 06-01-2007, 06:06 PM   #3
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gotta love that positive attitude from gizmo. Gee and like Ford and GM are not having financial issues or have made the wrong choices. I bet the SEC filings for Ford or GM are looking really rosy too. Just like any other major company out there. Everybody goes through hard times.

Steve, Thank you for posting that article. At least it finally explains all the issues that National has been going through. Unfortunately, they do have a difficult road ahead of them to change the minds of consumers and the industry. Hopefully the new PR firm B.J. Thomson Associates that National recently hired as noted in the Press Enterprise on May 26, 2007 to help the company's trade, consumer and media relations will do good for the company. At least they seem to be trying to do something about it and not fall by the wayside.

I for one am looking forward to the 08 models. We are looking at an 07 or an 08 Dolphin LX and have an eye on a 07 but am really wanting to see what the 08' changes are.
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Old 06-01-2007, 06:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
We've got great products, and we have unbelievable things on the horizon.

"We'll have something at Louisville that will be one of those unique ˜industry-changing' things, in my opinion," he added. "We've spent an inordinate amount of money in our engineering department, and our development department "” and it's going to pay off."
It will be very interesting to see just what the above reference turns out to be. I wish them good luck. ED
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Old 06-03-2007, 08:41 AM   #5
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Well we did buy our new Pacifica amidst a lot of negetive press and rumor. Myself I felt comfortable with a company that stood behind their product, when the delamination issue arose. National repaired every coach out of their own pocket, before trying to recoup loses from the supplier, for me, that shows real moxie, and dedication. It's hard when yer the little guy, I'm rooting for NRV
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Old 06-04-2007, 08:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by edgray:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">We've got great products, and we have unbelievable things on the horizon.
"We'll have something at Louisville that will be one of those unique ˜industry-changing' things, in my opinion," he added. "We've spent an inordinate amount of money in our engineering department, and our development department "” and it's going to pay off."
It will be very interesting to see just what the above reference turns out to be. I wish them good luck. ED </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Those are my thoughs too. I have looked around for any references to a Louisville RV show and all I find are dates in November for the RIVA show and a general Boat and RV show at the end of January. I would think that November would be too late with other manufacturers making announcements for their 08 products showing up now. Especially with the Pomona RV show happening in October.
With all the good news starting to come out of National, I would think they would start "leaking" some of that information more publically to garner interest in their new products. At least more so than the TeleSlide and the Pacifica Full wall slide that are currently on their website.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:54 PM   #7
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All I can say for now Mike is "STAY TUNED"
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:54 PM   #8
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Originally posted by Jestme13:
All I can say for now Mike is "STAY TUNED"
That is such a TEASE!!!!
Not even a hint as to announcements being near or not?
I know I will be on this forum and the National website often.
We will be taking a Factory tour next week so maybe we can get some 'hints' as to what is upcoming. Especially since after looking at the 07 coach we were thinking about buying, we saw that it had the Maple which we didn't want. We like the natural Cherry MUCH better. SO, it is looking like we will be getting an 08 with the price increase and any changes after all. Oh well i guess I will have to wait.
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:04 AM   #9
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Hey! We gots Maple! Whats wrong with Maple?
Just kidding. Make sure you get the free DVD on the assembly process, and show it to your non-NRV friends.
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Old 06-05-2007, 11:20 AM   #10
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Originally posted by Bill Davis:
Hey! We gots Maple! Whats wrong with Maple?
Just kidding. Make sure you get the free DVD on the assembly process, and show it to your non-NRV friends.
But even maple syrup is darker than the wood. How does that work...LOL

Thanks on the DVD suggestion. I will make sure I remember that. Gonna take th tour on Monday the 11th. Looking forward to it not to mention it gave me an excuse to take a day off.
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:06 PM   #11
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Mike you could be the first to know whats coming in 08.
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Old 06-06-2007, 02:25 AM   #12
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Link to NRV videos www.rvvideoshowcase.com

I will be takeing my Sea Breeze in for service on 6-11-07, I also plan on takeing the factory tour when I pick it up three or four days later.
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Old 06-06-2007, 05:18 AM   #13
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Nice work Richard! You're making a name for yourself around here!
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jestme13:
Mike you could be the first to know whats coming in 08.
Well, I am certainly going to try to find out something. Especially for the Dolphin LX since that is what we will be buying. I will try to take notes. Anyone have any specific questions they want asked? Hopefully the person giving the tour will know enough to answer all my questions.
The wife asked about bringing cameras and the recptionist didn't know if they were allowed or not. I am betting not but we will be bringing one just in case.
If I can take pictures, I will have to figure out how to post them in the picture section here.
At any rate, I will still post a report. I am sure it will be fun.
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