Freightliner chassis are here for a while

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It appears that the battle has been won. Spartan is desperate for cash. They have sold their emergency division and name/logo to rev group, owners of fleetwood.

They have licensed (for now) the logo so that they can transition to a new name as they continue to try and succeed in the rv market.



As we know, newmar is the only one that offers a choice. How long this will continue is unknown, especially with the lack of certainty with a struggling chassis manufacturer formally known as spartan.

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Gonna be interesting to see how Newmar works with this.
 
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Some random thoughts:

1) freightliner resale value improves or holds steady.
2) spartan vintage values improve or hold steady.
3) new Spartans are seen as less than desirable. Not based on facts, but based on community think and perception.


Newmar should take advantage of kicking a guy while he is down and negotiate even stronger. Force spartan fo be ***truly*** better than freightliner.

Things like disc brakes all around, 20k front axle, better marketing on service locations, and a joint partnership on the warranty effort, making it seamless for the buyer.

There is a great opportunity here for spartan, but they need to change more than just immediate cash flow.

Heck, it appears they have already allocated all their proceeds just to retire debt. What better time to make big changes?

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Well, after a careful reading of Spartan's announcement and some research within that industry, I see this quite differently. Spartan says it has sold its "emergency response business unit" (fire trucks and associated vehicles) in order to focus more on "specialty vehicles" (which includes their RV chassis line). And, they have retained (through a lease-back arrangement) the Spartan name and logo. This may actually mean that Spartan will gain a stronger foothold in the RV market.

I know there is a fierce rivalry between Spartan and Freightliner chassis owners, but both companies make excellent products; we have owned both and have had good service from both. And, we've had some issues with both.

Let's see how this shakes out before determining whether or not the sky is falling.

TJ
 
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How will Newmar under Winnebago handle this? I heard W doesn't do SP, will W influence Newmar to discontinue SP? Didn't Newmar long ago try to move away from SP but the customers revolted?
 
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Or, could this be Spartan's entry point to the Winnie line?

TJ
 
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I dont see this as sky falling either.

I do think it shows that spartan is not financially strong, and they have made a move to right the ship.

I hope they take it even further, as the product they make is very good. I would like to see more innovation and improvements to make their product superior to freightliner.

This may mean dropping chassis and focusing only on tag axle 40+ chassis. Simplification in supply line, and marketing on the service as well as investing into a 24x7 support center will mean more to buyers than seeing the name everywhere.


You can see a thor everywhere. I personally shop where thors are not sold.

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When you look back you start putting 2 and 2 together such as the upcharges for SP. The need for more cash on the sale. I had heard through an unnamed source that FL was simply able to offer lower pricing to Newmar on chassis which is what drove the price differences.
 
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Freightliner will win a price war.

Spartan needs to fight a different battle.

A smaller company cannot have the depth of product line and maintain superior quality.

Hopefully spartan focuses on killing freightliner with quality.

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I think FL will also win and continue to win the innovation war. They already parted ways with the norm with the new smart wheel. Larger resources are able to do this. Newmar keeps the playing field level with the components (brakes, etc.) but the tech side is up to the chassis vendor it appears.
 
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Things like disc brakes all around, 20k front axle, better marketing on service locations, and a joint partnership on the warranty effort, making it seamless for the buyer.

NHSO

This is somewhat misleading. Spartan already does disc brakes all around. I had them on my 17 DS and they are standard on the HiLine coaches riding on Spartan. They would be standard on all Spartan chassis if Newmar set the spec that way. The coach manufacturer sets the specs for what will be standard on the chassis. That’s why a Spartan K2 chassis on an Entegra Anthem has push button Start while on a DS riding on a K2 you use a key.

Same for the front axle. Newmar sets the spec. This is not rocket science. Either FL or Spartan will build their product, within reason, to the spec Newmar lays down.

As to the overall motivation for this sale, REV group already has business units building the same types of vehicles that Spartan divested. I have no inside info, but in one release I read, I got the impression that Spartan wants to use the freed up production capacity to build products with higher margins.

Spartan will rename their corporate structure but they retain the right to use the Spartan name for their RV lines.




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FWIW, the announcement doesn’t appear to be hurting Spartan’s stock price.... It’s actually up a bit.




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Either FL or Spartan will build their product, within reason, to the spec Newmar lays down.
That’s the way I understand it as well. Newmar is probably lowering the spec to increase their margin.
 
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I agree, newmar sets spec. It is for this reason this reason that there is very little reason to choose one over the other.

What I would like is for Spartan to figure out a way to offer something that is clearly (not subjective, but clearly) better than freightliner.

This should be in quality, innovation, and service. They need to make all 3 drastically better than freightliner.

This would be very good for all owners, as it would force freightliner to improve their product, starting a new battle where everyone wins.

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I agree, newmar sets spec. It is for this reason this reason that there is very little reason to choose one over the other.

What I would like is for Spartan to figure out a way to offer something that is clearly (not subjective, but clearly) better than freightliner.

This should be in quality, innovation, and service. They need to make all 3 drastically better than freightliner.

This would be very good for all owners, as it would force freightliner to improve their product, starting a new battle where everyone wins.

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An admirable request but how could they do that? Newmar sets the spec. SP delivers a chassis that matches. If SP goes out and decides, Newmar said drum brakes and SP delivers a chassis with disc brakes, Newmar will probably reject it as it’s not to spec.

The only obvious lever I see for SP to pull is to build their chassis using those stepped up components all around, bar none. At that point, if Newmar specs with drum brakes for instance, SP would have to come back to Newmar and say “nope - we don’t build em that way. Discs or bust.” At which point, SP risks losing that chassis business from Newmar.
 
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An admirable request but how could they do that? Newmar sets the spec. SP delivers a chassis that matches. If SP goes out and decides, Newmar said drum brakes and SP delivers a chassis with disc brakes, Newmar will probably reject it as it’s not to spec.

The only obvious lever I see for SP to pull is to build their chassis using those stepped up components all around, bar none. At that point, if Newmar specs with drum brakes for instance, SP would have to come back to Newmar and say “nope - we don’t build em that way. Discs or bust.” At which point, SP risks losing that chassis business from Newmar.
Or, Spartan could tell Newmar that there will be an "uncharge" for substituting drum brakes for the standard discs! Wouldn't that be interesting to see how Newmar would explain an "uncharge" for downgraded brakes is spec'd?

TJ
 
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Customer service is an intangible that cannot be overlooked. How are warranty claims handled? How about faulty components or selections for their chassis? I'm not stating a side but this intangible is of high value. If you cannot win this side of the game then no matter what tangibles you throw out will matter.
 
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Customer service, dealer network, 24x7 phone service, technology in the dash that works and gets upgraded quickly.

Dealing with mistakes honestly, quickly and openly. (Ball joints, shocks as examples in the past).

Bottom line, putting the customer first, second, and third all the time.

That would make a huge impact on the industry.

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I certainly agree that the "customer experience" (a little broader than "customer service") is a very important component. That said, "customer experience" varies widely between customers. There are common elements like "dealing with mistakes honestly" and having a good service network, but even those vary with the individual customer.

As an example, "technology in the dash" is essentially meaningless to me. I grew up with analog instruments and they always served me well; I could determine my speed, engine RPMs, oil pressure, engine temperature, etc. just fine. They rarely had an issue and never needed software upgrades. For others, the digital "glass dash" is very important. For me, I wish everything was still analog. I detail this only to show that it isn't easy to satisfy all sectors of the customer spectrum.

So, "putting the customer first, second and third all the time" is definitely not a simple, straightforward task.

TJ
 
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