Northwood Manufacturing Hosts Product Preview
Arctic Fox's Northwood Manufacturing, once again brought dealers from throughout the Western United States and Western Canada to their manufacturing complex in La Grande, OR. (One dealer traveled all the way from New Hampshire.) Company executives were on hand to interact with the dealers to solidify relationships and collect feedback. While unveiling a multitude of product refinements was the primary focus, the major underlying theme was that, in spite of all the changes the products have undergone, Northwood (as a company and the way they conduct business) has not changed. Ward King, Northwood COO, clearly stated that "Northwood's objective is to provide both dealers and the end user with the best built towable products in the market. Northwood has built its reputation by providing dependable, high value recreation vehicles by insisting upon quality components and demanding quality craftsmanship from our dedicated production line associates. Ron Nash's stamp is on everything that we do- it is our company culture. We could not abandon that influence; it is the solid foundation on which we build. That commitment will never change.
Donald Cochran, National Director of Sales, led the dealers through all the exciting changes the company has been working on over the last year. "Using input from owners and our dealers, we have spent the last year fine-tuning our brands to provide product solutions that will satisfy today's consumer and lead to improved sales and profitability for our dealer partners. Our products have been revitalized and energized. They are positioned for a major resurgence when the winter show season gets under way.
All Arctic Fox models now feature laminated construction complete with welded aluminum frames. Additionally, Arctic Fox is now sporting a bold new look thanks to an aerodynamic front fiberglass cap with integrated LPG tank cover as well as an updated logo and graphics package. All exterior compartments have been equipped with "slam latch catches. Silver Fox Edition now features a new stylish aerodynamic grey fiberglass cap with integrated LPG tank cover. Interior enhancements include solid-surface galley counter-tops with cutout for trash drop and designer backsplash. Kitchens also feature antique-glazed deep maple cabinet doors for a luxurious richness. The Silver Fox bedroom features a large skylight with blackout shade. All Arctic Foxes feature the improved comfort of Northwood's Tru-Rest memory foam mattress and the convenience of an Interior Command Center- a centralized location for switches and the monitoring station. Front bedroom models incorporate a new headboard design that provides a great look and added functionality. "This is a new Arctic Fox that looks dramatically different than previous versions. We have increased the value of our products. We want to give our current customers a reason to buy a new Arctic Fox and we want to attract new buyers. All these improvements were incorporated without a price increase, stated Cochran.
An even more dramatic change can be found in the Silver Fox Edition fifth wheels. These fifth wheels have been redesigned from the ground up. Starting with a wide-body design, they feature a grey aerodynamic cap complete with docking lights and "Tight Turn radius design. Stack rail chassis design allows for cavernous below deck storage and the signature diamond plating is mounted on the bulkhead to shield this area and to showcase the generator-ready front compartment. Other exterior enhancements include keyless entry and an exterior convenience center complete with 12V disconnect. The product is also available with a pivoting termination site with electric dump valves and a power cord retractor. Interior upgrades include solid surface counter tops and antiqued-glazed, deep maple cabinets throughout. Livability was greatly enhanced as a result of the 6'6 tall main floor slideouts in conjunction with the wide body design. Interior design enhancements include new furniture styling and comfort, new window treatment applications, new signature cabinet installations and designer Iron decor items. Bedroom comfort has improved greatly as a result of the 80 king size bed, featuring the Tru-Rest memory foam mattress on the Ultra Deck Sleep System platform.
Returning to its original position in the market, Nash has been repositioned and rebranded as Nash LT and Nash DLX. Providing a choice for the customer looking for an affordable alternative to all the stick and tin clones in the market, both Nash LT and Nash DLX will feature the certified Northwood off-road chassis with 15 radial tires, an enclosed, insulated and heated fresh water tank and a durable, easy to clean fiberglass exterior siding. Nash DLX takes self-containment to the next level by providing a 10 gal water heater, a generator ready compartment, as well as a 2000 lb receiver hitch that can accommodate an optional cargo rack, 4 bike rack, or gas grill. These unique features complement the distinctive look Nash DLX achieves as a result of the light grey fiberglass siding with black accents (including awning arms, frames, and LPG tank cover).
Desert Fox has gone through a dramatic life cycle change and achieved a dynamic new look that hits right in the heart of the market. Larger than life, body wrap Desert Fox icon graphics create a contemporary look that is unique in the toy hauler segment. Other exterior features include 16 aluminum wheels, solar reflective windows, motion detector patio lighting, and electric awning. Interior highlights include a stainless steel appliance group, Kicker Premium Sound System w/Amp, CD/DVD player, designer interior with logo accents. Overhead cabinets feature soffit lighting with volume ceiling storage with cargo nets and the cargo area has rubber matting. There is an interior command center and the refrigerator is a spacious 8 Cu Ft. There are many options available to equip the Desert Fox for any market including: Fuel Station, Generator, Thermal Pane Windows, 4 Season Package, Power Rear-Bed Options, Convertible Seating Options, LCD TV, Satellite Dish, Air Compressor, Pressure Washer, Toy Lock, etc.
Two new Snow River fifth wheel models were showcased. Snow River is Northwood's new "step-up product targeting those customers who are looking for a combination of convenience and value. The 2665RKSS features a rear u-shaped kitchen as well as a super slide; the 2765RLSS features a center galley and super slide with a pair of recliners in the rear. Both of these models are less than 30 feet and dry weights are in the mid 7000 lbs. These are mid-profile, half-ton towable fifths that provide full stand-up head room on the upper deck. Like the travel trailers these fifths are equipped for four season usage and feature great amenities such as an LCD TV, CD/DVD player, electric awning, full fiberglass front cap, etc.
Fox Mountain, Northwood's aluminum-framed, laminated mid-profile fifth wheel brand was displaying two new models as well. The new 245RKS is a rear kitchen model that weighs just over 7000 lbs. The 265RLSS is a rear lounge model with a center galley and super slide that features a pair of recliners in the rear. Both models have a GVWR of 9,500 lbs. so they are a great match for the new half-ton trucks. Fox Mountain provides great headroom on the upper deck and great livability throughout. All Fox Mountains are built for year round use and amenities include full fiberglass front cap, electric awning, stainless steel appliances, LCD TV, CD/DVD player, etc.
Director of Materials and Marketing, Lance Rinker, was on hand to report on the launch of Northwood's new user-friendly website as well as provide some insight into the planned marketing efforts currently under development. He and his team will focus on developing materials that help communicate some of the unique processes/features that distinguish Northwood products, including the launch of the "Absolute Northwood campaign. He also reported that all Northwood towable brands will now feature a decal at the entry door that boasts the certification of Northwood's chassis by a third party engineering firm that conducted aerospace Interference Grid Technology Design Analysis for optimum performance and safety. "This certification proves that Northwood is committed to building better products and further distinguishes Northwood products from others in the market, said Rinker.
If dealer response is any indication, these new products will prove extremely successful in the market. Tom Nelson, principal of Nelson's RV's in Boise and Caldwell, ID was particularly excited, "All the changes are fantastic and will help us to increase our retail activity across the board. Northwood is finally back in the fifth wheel business and the new Desert Fox is just what we were asking for. Still, I'm most excited about the Arctic Fox and the repositioning of the Nash product. We think this new Nash will help us recapture the market share we enjoyed when Ron Nash first launched the product. We couldn't be happier.
Kevin Baker, principal of Apache Camping Center in Portland, OR and Tacoma and Everett, WA, offered this observation: "Northwood is back. This is the boost that we have needed for our towable business. Northwood has taken major strides to separate the brands and have them stand on their own. The changes in Arctic Fox are right on target, incorporating the features we think are needed. And the Nash product will give us a huge opportunity to offer our customers a unique product that makes sense for our market.