Saturday, September 29, 2012

What's New With Newmar?

Elkhart, IN     High:  68   Low:   46

Lots to do here in Elkhart, IN...You might not think so, but with the Amish and Mennonite communities nearby like Shipshewanna and Nappanee, (30 min.), the RV Museum (10 min.), Amish Acres, the Heritage Trail, the newly renovated Lerner Theater in downtown Elkhart, the Elkhart River Walk.......

The Pumpkinvine Bike/Hike Trail, and lots more...there's never a dull moment here!  And don't forget all the RV suppliers, too! From HWH (leveling system on many coaches) to RV and fifth wheel dealerships, to discount parts and supply stores for RV's, you could spend a lot of time here....And so, we are!

Eldy decided he wanted to take a tour of the Newmar plant in Nappanee, IN, one of the few remaining family owned RV businesses, and in his mind, one of the top three companies left out there who build quality RV's. The hour long tour is free and you get to get up close and personal with each factory line in the shop and with the owner, Mahlon Miller.  Mr. Miller came into the meeting room and chatted with us at the beginning of the tour. He described some of the quality that's built into each custom built coach, like the Comfort Drive steering option-- basically, a pushbutton that enables you to steer much more easily in a constant wind by adjusting the amount of pressure needed to turn the steering to your liking. Someone asked about how many coaches are built each day. The plant does not build a single coach until they have an order from a dealer. They are currently building three coaches a day. Want to know how much one of these babies cost? They had retail price lists in the waiting room....Sparky went into sticker shock after the first two, so the King Aire-top of the line is not listed, but it's over $700,000.

After getting our headsets, a young woman started the tour for us, and unfortunately, no photos were allowed, unless you order a coach from Newmar. (photos today from a King Aire brochure) Then you can find out when the line is going to start your rig, and you can photograph your rig being made from start to finish! We started with an RV that was just beginning to be assembled on the chassis. She took us down the line and at each "station", as the coach was built, she gave us facts about the wiring, the roof, the specs on the interior walls and such. As we walked the line, we saw the rigs from bare bones to receiving the appliances, to putting on the roof, to adding the slides to the finished coach waiting to be painted.

Eldy was totally absorbed in the structure of the motorhomes, so much, that as he was peering under the slide, looking at the new type of flush floor slide out (no bump to go up and over as the slide comes in) that a worker came over and asked him what he thought about the slide mechanisms. They had a nice conversation, and the tour just about left him behind! He could have talked with the guy a lot longer, but it was time to move on.

You know how the newer Newmars have the air conditioning units hidden up on top by the way the roof is framed in? And how a couple of their models look so tall, much taller than the normal RV? Well, they are. The tour guide lady said that the heights on these top of the line Newmars are 13 feet, 4 inches! That reduces a lot of bridges that you can go under, that's for sure! We've seen many bridges on our travels that are right at 13'-4" and 13'-6". Sparky and Eldo wouldn't want the worry and additional travel planning and restrictions that would cause, even if these are gorgeous coaches!
living room and kitchen area
Eldy loved the cockpit on the Newmar....It sort of wraps around the driver, making all the controls easy to see...He also loved the power cords on rewind wheels and the tire pressure monitoring system already on the coach...His favorite model and on his "wish list" if he hit the lottery, was the King Aire....That's one of their coaches that was 13 ft., 4 in.  A metallic looking porcelain floor, rear walk in closet, a full wall slide, a Fisher & Paykel Dish Drawer, a.k.a. a dishwasher, a 5 watt solar panel, a six camera external/internal monitoring system, heated driver and passenger seats, self-closing cabinets, power window shades, Bose radio system, King Sleep Number bed, ten fire extinguishers/smoke detector alarms, Ultra leather headboard and room accents, electric heat under the floor tile in the bathroom (an extra)....geesh! The list goes on and on......

They let us go inside some of the finished coaches that were waiting for cleanup after our tour was complete. We enjoyed seeing the work of a different manufacturer than our Tiffin. There was a couple from Australia on the tour, and they gave a glowing report of nothing but positives about their new Newmar that they had recently purchased.  Nice to know there are still companies out there that are taking care of their customers and products in the RVing industry...

We really enjoyed our tour today and highly recommend seeing the Newmar facility when in the Elkhart/Nappanee area......


  1. Have toured Airstream in In Ohio and Holiday Rambler factory in Wakarusa Indianna . bothe have been very interesting. Next time we are in the area will probably check out Newmar.

  2. If we hadn't bought a Tiffin, it probably would have been Newmar. Nice coaches.

  3. We are definitely earmarking staying in Elkhart the next time around...for more than overnight :) Looks like a great area. See you on Tuesday!

  4. We were in that area just a year ago. We love Amish country. We had a wonderful time visiting all the small towns and meeting the nicest people.

  5. If you get a chance, go visit the CORD DUESENBERG MUSEUM in Auburn about 75 miles from Elkhart. This was one of the neatest museums I've seen. We love that area of the country.

  6. and that price list reminds me why we never, ever buy NEW. . .YIKES!

    When we are checking out consignment lots, we always check out any Newmar product that is available. . .they seem like very well made machines. . .just lovely!

    Tell Eldo I enjoyed the tour too. . .