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Post Info TOPIC: Fleetwood & Newmar Factory Tours

RV-Dreams Family Member

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Fleetwood & Newmar Factory Tours

Like another poster on this site, I just returned from two weeks of business/vacation, which included two factory tours for American Coach/Fleetwood in Decatur, IN & Newmar in Nappannee, IN.  In order to keep this concise, I'll simply give you my general takeaways:

1.  On both tours it was evident that since 2008, the recession has significantly impacted the RV industry.  On the American Coach (AC) tour, the guide made it a point that although Fleetwood MH products (like the Bounder) are built on the same assembly line as the AC product, Fleetwood as we knew it, no longer exists.  On the Newmar tour, they have "one" assembly line for both MHs & 5th Wheels.  Newmar once had a staff of 1,200 which is now reduced to 400. 

2. That said, there were things I liked about both, but I think the AC Tour was better (2 1/2 hrs) compared to Newmar (1 hr.).  Plus, the AC tour guide was much more knowledgeable about the technical details vs. the Newmar guide.

3.  The Newmar assembly line seems more antiquated than the AC assembly line.  For example, they have stations where multiple trades are completing their tasks at once.  The tour guide indicated this was due to the numerous lay-offs.

4.  Newmar still puts the side-walls on their RVs "manually" vs. AC which has their side-walls laminated under hydraulic pressure.

5.  Something that surprised me:  No matter how much you spend on MH or 5th wheel, you get the same amount of insulation in the roof & side-walls.  The only difference in the floors were in DP which had a tag axle.  Then, on the AC product, their floors contained 3 times the amount of insulation; however, Newmar had the same floors in all their products.

6.  Newmar still uses aluminum side-wall studs.  AC uses laminated sides under hydraulic pressure which I believe Tiffin uses on their MHs as well.  I believe it's a more advance construction technique when it comes to side-wall construction. 

7.  Newmarmis a privately held company which employs numerous Amish & Mennoite Christians.  In fact, the company is still owned by this family.  So, while I do believe they have a strong work ethic, the factory didn't seem to have as much technology as the AC factory. 

8.  Overall, if I had to choose between these two motorhomes, I would choose an AC over Newmar.  Yes, I know there's also a significant price difference, but the construction techniques simply seemed better.  However, that's why I hope to visit Tiffin next Spring to make a better informed decision.


Carpe' Diem!  

On the Road Nov.'15                                                                                                                                                     
Tim & Cindy

RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 1417

Thanks for the review, we are lucky to have two members recently touring factories and posting....G


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 5387

Tim and Cindy,

Once you tour the Tiffin factory, be sure and give us a review of what you see.  Jo and I considered the Tiffin Phaetons while we were deciding between the motorhomes and fifth wheels.  We drove a Phaeton 40-footer and a 42-footer.  We both seem to get the feel that the 42 was a LOT more stable than the 40-footer because of the tag axle.

In the end, we went with the Mobile Suites fifth wheel because of price differences and the thicker walls and insulation.  DRV Suites builds their models with 3.25 inch walls with corresponding fiberglass insulation.

Since we really enjoyed the Phaetons, I am looking forward to your review.

Thanks for helping out a lot of folks.



Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2019 Ford Expedition Max as Tag-along or Scout

Our photos on Smugmug

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