Dynamax: Class C Pioneer Builds Up Brand
Soon after its formation in April 1997, Dynamax Corp. of Elkhart, Ind., established a significant presence among firms that build smaller, luxury Class C motorhomes, including the Isata Sport Sedan, Starflyte and Carri-Go brands.
Then, under the guidance of president Dewayne Creighton Jr., the company staked out territory in the upper end of the highline motorhome spectrum by introducing the ultrasize and brawny Grand Sport line, built on a Freightliner commercial-class truck chassis, which boasts the residential ambience of a luxury, Class A diesel pusher.
Today, the company’s 27.3-acre Elkhart facility produces about 250 units per year that are sold by a sales network of over 50 dealers throughout the U.S., and the firm continues to seek new markets.
Dynamax recently hired 25-year industry veteran Rick Horn as vice president of sales and marketing. Horn’s mission: expand the company’s dealer base, directing additional sales emphasis on the West Coast and increasing the market footprint of the Isata Sport Sedan series by developing it into two distinct tiers.
“The Isata is our core product,” Horn said in explaining the reasoning behind the line’s expansion. “We have added three new 32- to 35-foot floorplans, constructed on Freightliner’s M2 business class truck chassis, to our present 22- to 29-foot floorplans, built on the Ford E-450 chassis.”
He noted that in addition to expanding the size, the company also had developed a two-tier price-content approach.
“The Touring level will be new for 2004 with more upscale appointments and a slightly larger inside height and width, while the Sport level will be decontented to be more affordable,” Horn said. “What we hope to accomplish is to reach a broader base of customers with our most popular models.”
Dynamax also recently introduced a new Grand Sport variation, based on the Freightliner M2, with its other 2004 models. The M2 replaces the former Freightliner FL-70 platform and will be available in 32-, 35- and 38-foot floorplans. Units will be powered by a 300-hp Mercedes Benz engine backed by an Allison 3000 transmission and carry a gross vehicle weight rating of 33,000 pounds.
Also new from Dynamax is the firm’s Dynasport UTV, utility travel vehicle, which rides on a 23-foot Ford E450 chassis with a 14,050 GVWR and is built for optimum towing and minimum motorhome amenities in the smallest package possible. The Dynasport includes such amenities as a bathroom, refrigerator, generator, microwave and entertainment system, but is primarily designed as a “travel vehicle,” Horn explained.
“Dynamax has stayed the course with luxury Class C units and has no future plans to move into towable or Class A production. We like the truck cab-chassis base for our coaches,” Horn said. “Our customers like the way our vehicles handle the road, whether it’s the van cutaway or the larger Freightliner platforms. If bus chassis performed and handled better, the long-haul commercial guys would be using them rather than business-class trucks.”
Horn noted that Dynamax coaches are usually the second or third motorhome a couple owns; not their first.
“Many people actually move down to our smaller Class C units after many years in high-end Class A’s,” he said. “For a variety of reasons, they no longer wish to deal with issues of operating large vehicles, but still want to occasionally participate in the RV lifestyle.
“Our products allow people to be surrounded by the same level of luxury and residential amenities that they have been accustomed to, but in a smaller, more manageable package,” he said. “I guess you could reasonably say that our customer base relies heavily on older, more mature couples who know exactly what they want.”