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Launching A New Line Of Luxury

Jayco unveiled a new “luxury” coach at the Tampa RV SuperShow. Here is some of the press release information:

The Jayco Embark luxury coach is designed to meet consumer demand for a premium, more accessible package for younger RV buyers, as well as customers looking to drive a smaller coach, while remaining on the premium motorhome foundation. Spartan’s premium chassis features an independent front suspension with Bilstein shocks, providing the 37-foot coach with best-in-class ride and handling; it also features better serviceability, and Spartan’s extensive service and support network.

The Embark Class A Diesel luxury motorhome features:

  • Three eye-catching premium exterior paint choices
  • Choice of two stunning interior décors
  • Galley kitchen galley complete with residential refrigerator with ice maker and water dispenser, induction cooktop, 1.5 cu. ft. convection microwave oven, solid-surface countertops and stainless steel sink
  • Versatouch Lyra command center with App
  • Entertainment system including a 50-inch LED HDTV with a sound bar in the living room and a 32-inch LED HDTV in the bedroom
  • Exterior 39-inch LED HDTV
  • Industry-leading manufacturer’s limited 2-year warranty and 24-hour roadside protection plan

The Spartan K1 360 chassis features:

  • Industry first Cummins B-series engine packaged chassis with an Independent Front Suspension
  • Bilstein 46mm shocks which provide consistent ride tuning
  • Easier serviceability with Spartan’s exclusive side-mounted service center
  • 10,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Raised rail design for frame strength and basement storage
  • Rear-mounted radiator and charge air cooler, parallel air flow system with low-profile radiator with clutch to minimize noise and dust kick-up

This is Spartan’s first foray into the Cummins B-series diesel market segment and an indication that the red hot RV market sees room for an entry level diesel pusher with some upscale pricing.

Specs and features here.

I configured the 37MB model with the following options:

  • Canadian Standard (not sure what that is but being a Canadian I thought, “what the heck, eh?”)
  • Customer Value Package which includes an 8kW diesel generation, 2,000 watt inverter, 15,000 BTU air conditioner with heat pump (2), automatic leveling jacks, backup and sideview cameras, power awning, solar shades and a couple of other minor items. (Not sure why you would order a coach without most of these items.)
  • Central Vac
  • Theatre Seating
  • Winegard Satellite Dish
  • WiFi Extender
  • Slideout Storage Tray
  • Solar Prep
  • Washer/Dryer

This is the floorplan:

And this is an interior shot from their website.

Add it all up and the coach lists for $300,000 USD or about $380,000 CAD. Assuming a 25% discount off MSRP and adding in taxes and dealer prep, this coach is roughly $325,000 CAD. Seems a bit high for younger RV buyers. North of $300,000 and you can find some wonderful lightly used models albeit with a larger chassis.

And it doesn’t look all that great in the photo gallery. Seating, finishes and cabinetry don’t cry out luxury to me.

Seems like a lot for a little coach.

It would be interesting to see how it drives on the Spartan chassis. And perhaps it does fit a certain customer segment.

Either that or there is so much demand that price and value aren’t all that meaningful in the market right now. Build something as cheap as possible and sell it for as much as possible.

Entegra Qwest

Not quite what I expected.

Entegra has now started posting some details about their new lineup of Class C coaches on their Facebook page and on their website.

Looks like the Entegra web team haven’t spent much time on building up a slick marketing presentation for the new product. No dedicated page for the Qwest as yet. Even the QWest brochure looks a bit, well, anemic. You can download the pdf here.

The brochure contains no photo gallery of the exterior or interior. A couple of small thumbnails and a couple of floorplans. And a fact sheet. At least with their coach brochure, you get a sense of excitement about owning their product.

Doesn’t come across to me that they are all that enthused about their new class C lineup.

Maybe someone forced them to do it against their will? The Qwest looks very close to the Jayco class C.

I guess I was expecting better. Looks more like a nameplate change to an existing platform with some minor refinements.

Entegra Enters Class A Gas and Class C

I came across this press release from Entegra:

Entegra Coach recently announced the expansion of its family of luxury products to include luxury Class C and luxury gas Class A members.

“The name Entegra Coach is synonymous with luxury motorhomes,” said Andy Baer, GM of Entegra Coach. “Expanding into smaller coaches allows us to better support our loyal Entegra Owners by providing luxury options prior to, and after, their large diesel coach lifestyle. … In addition, now multiple generations of families can enjoy the Entegra Coach lifestyle together, while in the luxury of their own coach.”

We almost bought an Entegra.

This one actually:

It was the first coach that we walked through when we went to the Hershey Show way back in September of 2015. Loved it. And the salesperson was very keen to cut us a great deal. If we bought the coach right then.

“Canadians buy from us all the time!” He told us.

We were not there to buy from a U.S. dealer though. We were there to do our research. And we ultimately decided on a Newmar Dutch Star.

We bought our coach from a Canadian dealer. Primarily for warranty support and relative ease of access. And our Canadian dealer, the Hitch House, has been terrific.

Entegra became part of Thor. Thor was founded in 1980 when two entrepreneurs acquired Airstream. Then Thor made a string of acquisitions leading up to Jayco.

Thor had a knockout quarter with record sales of $2.23 billion, up over 30% and record net income of $128.4 million, up over 63%.

I had posted about Thor in December of 2016. At that time, the share price was $105 USD.

The current quote for Thor is $153 USD. Really big jump on their results. Yikes.

Companies like Thor don’t fit into my investment portfolio although given the incredible surge in the RV industry, perhaps I should have taken a bit of a position in Thor. It looks like easy money now doesn’t it?

Hard to say how long the ride might last for Thor.

This move by Entegra to get into Class C and Class A gas coaches is interesting. The new products were to be featured today at the RVIA show in Louisville. One luxury diesel Class C coach, the Entegra Qwest, two luxury gas Class C coaches, the Entegra Odyssey and Esteem, and one luxury gas Class A coach, the Entegra Emblem.

Nothing up on the Entegra website as yet.

I’ll have to check back and see what they are doing on this front.

With all of this demand and new product, it is bound to start getting crowded at the RV parks.

Andy Pargh has a couple of interesting posts about Entegra that he wrote back in June of 2016 here and here.

For whatever it might be worth, Andy went on to purchase a Prevost.

 

Thor Industries

We almost bought an Entegra Coach. This one actually:

It was the first one that we saw at the 2015 RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Loved it. For a number of reasons, though, we went with the Castaway, a Newmar Dutch Star. We do not regret our decision.

So, what does the Entegra coach have to do with Thor Industries?

Thor holds an extensive set of RV subsidiaries including Airstream, Dutchmen, Heartland, Keystone, and Thor.

Earlier this year, Thor acquired Jayco and its subsidiaries which included Jayco, Starcraft, Highland Ridge and, yes, Entegra.

So, how did the stock market react to the acquisition? The chart below tells that story:

I am an active investor but I do not trade in the RV industry. A bit too volatile for my tastes. Obviously the stock market really liked the Thor acquisition deal. Very impressive stock performance.

Entegra owners? Well, let’s just say that they seem a little concerned about some of the changes taking place as a result of the acquisition.

Thor seems to be doing very well so far as they announced at the end of November record results for their fiscal 2017 first quarter. Sales up by 66%, net income up by 56%, diluted EPS up 55% and their backlogs more than doubled over their fiscal 2016 first quarter.

Thor believes that 2017 will be one of the strongest years for wholesale shipments for the industry since the 1970s.