Grand Coach RV, under President and CEO Darryl Connors, will begin production today on a slate of motorhomes with previously high-profile brands.
First up, on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, will be the Dolphin. Other names will join the lineup in the future including Sea View and Cape Cod.
Connors, who has extensive experience in the automotive and van conversion businesses, said he isn’t just entering the field to join the ride of a growing industry. He wants to shake things up and challenge manufacturers to achieve higher quality.
“I’ve had three RVs and I’ve had RVs from the best and I’ve had to take delivery and I have two pages of things that have to be fixed before I can use it and I just spent half a million dollars,” he said. “Whether it’s a half-million or $50,000, it’s the same deal. We’re going to build automotive style, and that includes quality control and inspection and finish.”
Connors said that his three priorities for Grand Coach are brands (check), quality (procedures in place) and innovation.
As an example of innovation, he points to a water purification system that Grand Coach has exclusive RV industry rights to that will provide users with bottled-water quality.
He said a number of dealers are on board already to stock Grand Coach vehicles, but declined to name them before delivery begins due to the competitive nature of the industry.
Shortly on the heels of the Dolphin, Connors said the company has plans for another Class B model that will be built on the Dodge ProMaster chassis.
“It will be ready in about three months on a ProMaster that’s going to change the industry,” he said. “The Dodge has been a value proposition. It’s the real deal. We’re doing some serious modifications to it that really change the product. It’s big in Europe and we’re going to be bringing it here.”
With production kicking off today at the company’s facility at 21240 Protecta Drive in Elkhart, Ind., Connors said the initial goal is to produce one completed vehicle per day.
Although finding the right workers was difficult in the tight job market, he said he believes he has put together a solid team that will achieve his goal of producing a quality vehicle.
“We’re going to be a high-line company,” he said. “We’re looking to be the best in the business. End of story. That’s why we’re spending a lot of money on inspection processes and quality control. Every dealer that we have talked to has said the same thing. Things show up with problems and the customer is upset and customer retention and CSI scores are all down. If you had a car and you picked it up and it had 25 or 30 things wrong, you wouldn’t accept it. So why isn’t it that way in the RV industry? We’re changing that. That’s what we’re going to do different.”
The company’s state-of-the-art website is expected to be active within seven days.