Newmar Layoffs

Newmar laid off roughly 10 percent of its staff. Inevitable really. Class A motorhome wholesale shipments fell by 24 percent year over year. The prevailing view was that the RV industry had overestimated demand and that dealers were sitting on too much inventory. Perhaps. The entire market, towables and motorhomes, was down in 2019.

The RVIA, which needs to put a positive spin on what is happening in the RV market, made the following projection for 2020:

RV shipments are expected to stabilize in 2020, according to a new forecast prepared by longtime RV industry analyst, Richard Curtin, PhD, who is also a professor at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center.

In the Spring 2020 issue of the RV RoadSigns newsletter, Curtin projects total RV shipments will range between 420,200 and 380,300 units this year with the most likely final total being 410,100 units. That total would represent a one percent increase over the 406,100 units shipped in 2019.

Towable RV shipments are anticipated to reach 366,900 units in 2020. Motorhome shipments are projected to finish at 43,200 units by year end.

Curtin believes that steadying RV sales will be due to positive economic indicators, including job and wage growth as well as low interest rates and inflation. The upcoming presidential election and potential impact of the coronavirus are uncertainties that will likely impact the market in the second half of 2020.

Ignoring the towable market, the 2020 RVIA forecast for all motorhomes, at 43,200 units shipped, is less than the 46,629 units shipped in 2019.

I was not surprised to come across this news item from RV Business:

WSBT Report: Newmar Conducted Late Week Layoffs
By: RVBusiness|Published on: Feb 29, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News|

Nappanee, Ind.-based motorized RV manufacturer Newmar Corp. has reportedly laid off a number of employees, according to a Friday evening (Feb. 28) report broadcast on WSBT TV, a CBS affiliate in nearby South Bend, Ind.

WSBT indicated that about 10% of Newmar’s workforce was involved, although those numbers, from all RVB could gather, may be overstated. RVBusiness was unable to confirm any details, however, because company officials were unavailable for comment.

Newmar, in response to WSBT’s inquiries, said it does not comment on specific details concerning staffing or production issues, but it did say it continually monitors and adjusts activities to reflect business needs and stay competitive.

When Newmar was acquired on Nov. 8 by Winnebago Industries Inc., the builder of Class A and Super C motorhomes employed 1,060 people at its manufacturing and customer service facilities in Nappanee.

The reaction on social media is that the layoffs are related to the sale of Newmar to Winnebago.

The market data indicates that demand for Class A motorhomes fell in 2019 and it will fall again in 2020.

The economic fallout from the coronavirus will have an impact as fear and uncertainty has reduced consumer confidence.

Newmar had little choice but to adjust the supply side. I suspect more layoffs ahead for Newmar.

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