I have to let it go. This Winnebago and Newmar thing. I want you to know that I have sought outside help and my therapist believes that I am making some progress but it will take time. Time to heal. Time to forgive.
Matt Miller, how could you do this!
Oops. Sorry. It comes out. The pain. The hurt. The betrayal.
I continue to read opinions on the deal even though, as far as I can tell, no one seems to have read Winnebago’s U.S. SEC Form 8-K to understand the specifics of the deal. And I get that. Not everyone wants to jump into that level of detail.
When a company borrows almost $300 million to make an acquisition and that company has to answer to shareholders, it is naive to think that the culture of Newmar won’t be impacted. It will. The only question is whether the impact is unduly negative, mildly annoying or downright positive.
Winnebago, Newmar and the dealer community understand that current Newmar owners are not very happy with the news. And that the negative reaction could really hurt future sales as a large percentage of existing Newmar owners are repeat buyers. And so the marketing of the deal begins.
The key messages?
Matt Miller is still running the company with the same executive team and the same group of employees. Newmar is still committed to its values around quality and customer support. The deal will help Newmar continue to grow and flourish.
Mount Comfort RV is very active on YouTube. Chris Anderson, in particular, is well known for his comprehensive video walkthroughs on Newmar coaches. I watched his video on a 2016 Newmar Dutch Star 4018 dozens of times while we were waiting for our coach to be built. The unit he showed was very similar to our coach.
This is the first video I have seen on YouTube that provides a dealer’s perspective on the Winnebago and Newmar deal. Ken Eckstein, the president of Mount Comfort RV, takes time to put out this video presumably to assure his current and future Newmar customers that all is not lost.
The spin from Winnebago and Newmar reminds me of what I used to deal with as a corporate executive. Whenever the senior team made a significant or controversial decision, we had to spend time on WSWSHH.
What Should We Say Happened Here.
The spin. The press release. How to manage the customer and employee response. We had a corporate communications group that specialized in crafting the specific FAQs and talking points all precisely documented in a comprehensive communication plan. All done before the news about the decision went public.
Just like the Winnebago and Newmar deal.
So, take it with a grain of salt. We will know within a year or two what kind of company Newmar will become after the acquisition. Better or worse? Again, we will know soon enough.
Here is another take on the deal by David Bott, a popular RV blogger with Outside Our Bubble:
My take has been captured in these posts: