Mitch Daniels Meets NeXus RV President Claude Donati
at Elkhart's RV Hall of Fame Show
Elkhart, Indiana - April 27, 2012
The Web, the Manufacturer and the Customer
President Claude Donati
This is a short tail about the progression of the relationship between
the Manufacturer of RVs and the Retail Customer.
For decades, the traditional relationship between the retail customer and the
manufacturer of RV has always run through the local selling dealer or the
local servicing dealer. This three tier approach to handling the customers had a few convenient
benefits such as face-to face interaction. A sense of security from the retail customer
that the “guy” down the street could take care of them in the event something
was to happen to their unit, or the ability to physically look at the inventory
on the local dealer’s lot at any moment, even though it
may be the third time the customer may have seen the unit.
Steel VS. Aluminum
President Claude Donati
For many years the RV industry has used a light-weight tubular
aluminum framing to act as the foundation in creating strength
for the “box” of their motorhomes. This strategy has had little discussion as most
manufacturers favor working with aluminum because of perceived weight
savings as well as the ease of spot welding and moving the
framing process down the assembly line without truly measuring the safety factor.
ROI (Return on Investment)
Ford cut away Chassis V.S. Sprinter cut away Chassis
President Claude Donati
Over the last 17 years, I have had the pleasure of helping thousands of
people make their RV motorhome purchase. This unique perspective of
assisting in the shopping process gave me the understanding of what
is important to the retail customer. Things like value, performance,
design and safety rule the day. Recently, there has been
a new factor, fuel efficiency.
Nexus RV Factory Direct Motorhome Sales
Where are we now?
At Nexus RV, we have completed our first full year in business
and we have enjoyed great success and progress toward building
the best Class C and Class B+ buying experience ever seen in the industry.
Factory Direct works! Take advantage of it.
RV Vets Donati, Middleton Embrace
"Factory-Direct" Business Model
with Nexus RV Startup
July/August 2011 by RV Business
Founding a new enterprise in the aftermah of an economic downturn can be
quite a challenge. But Claude Donati and David Middleton, the two principals behind
startup Nexus RV, Elkhart, Ind., feel that the waning recession actually has
worked in their favor and helped them reach the conclusion that their fledgling
motorized RV manufacturing company ought to adopt a factory-direct business model.
"When the market hit a downturn, there were literally 300-plus dealerships
that went out of business," said Donati, who, with Middleton,
formerly worked for Nappanee, Ind.-based Gulf Stream Coach Inc.
"Markets like Kokomo, Indiana, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, that previously had
three or four motorhome dealerships suddenly had none, forcing the potential customers
in those markets to go on the Internet to do their shopping and make their purchase
hundreds of miles from where they lived," ...
NeXus RV is taking off
April 28, 2011 by South Bend Tribune
ELKHART -- It's no longer a dream or even a plan -- it's a reality.
Less than nine months after planning their own RV startup,
Dave Middleton and Claude Donati have NeXus RV
operating and have sold 62 units.
The company, which got off the ground in August at Notre Dame's
Innovation Park, has been in its own facility at
3400 Reedy Drive, Elkhart, since October.
Production got under way Feb. 14, and already four recreational vehicles
have been produced. The business is now producing about one RV per day.
"It really is exciting," said Middleton, co-founder and vice president.
"We were just talking the other day, myself and Claude, in regards to
where we were at. And not even a year later we have our manufacturing
up and running, our production line actually producing product
and have sold it and shipped it.
"We have come a long way in a short period of time."
Revolutionizing the concept of building
selling motorhomes - NeXus RV
April 21, 2011 by The Roaming Times
4/21/2011 - ELKHART, Indiana – Visit the NeXus RV campus, one that
includes 86,000 square feet of manufacturing space and a 25,000 square foot
climate-controlled indoor showroom, during its introduction
Open House June 20th – June 30th. Located in Elkhart, Indiana,
the RV capital of the world, customers will save an additional $2,000 toward
a purchase of a Class B+ or traditional Class C motor home during
these dates. All units are exclusively manufactured to driver specifications
and built on the Pillar of Strength™ all steel cage construction.
NeXus RV was formed by lifelong friends Claude Donati and David Middleton,
experts in the field, with the pioneering/revolutionizing concept of
building and selling motor homes on the same campus. It is their intent to
eliminate all areas of waste in the selling process and deliver the highest quality
exclusively built motorized product direct to the retail customer,
saving thousands of dollars in the process.
NeXus offers an online On Demand Video Studio and
an exclusive Fly & Drive program. Read more...
NeXus RV Promotes June 20-30 Open House
April 21, 2011 by RV Business
NeXus RV has begun to promote its first Open House, scheduled
for June 20-30 at its facility in Elkhart, Ind.
The NeXus RV campus at 3400 Reedy Drive on the north side of Elkhart
includes an 86,000-square-foot manufacturing space and
a 25,000-square-foot, climate-controlled indoor showroom.
Customers will save an additional $2,000 toward a purchase of
a Class B+ or traditional Class C motorhome during these dates. All units are
exclusively manufactured to driver specifications and built
on the “Pillar of Strength” all-steel cage construction, according
to a news release. Read more...
Nexus RV: Direct to Your Driveway
March 2011 by South Bend On
It’s a good thing Claude Donati and Dave Middleton didn’t heed
the conventional wisdom about the direction of the RV industry.
Had they looked at drooping RV sales figures, or listened to
the doomsayers who proclaimed the industry all but deceased,
they might not have established their startup, Nexus RV, at Innovation Park
at Notre Dame. Tapping the intellectual resources available at Innovation Park,
they developing a strategic game plan for a whole new RV enterprise rooted in
the pioneering concept of building and selling motor homes from the same facility.
The two lifelong friends were so confident their unique factory-direct
business model would be a success, they thought it would practically sell itself.
Turns out they were right. ...
Donati Announces Nexus RV June Open House
March 22, 2011 by RV Business
Startup RV manufacturer Nexus RV LLC has invited 20,000 people
to an open house June 20-30 at its Elkhart manufacturing facility
to promote its new line of Class C motorhomes.
“We don’t know how many people will show up,” said Claude Donati,
president of the factory-direct manufacturer who reported that
invitees are current or recent RV owners.
Nexus’ full lineup, which includes a traditional Phantom minimotorhome
and a B-plus-style Viper C-body, will be on display at the June open house.
“We are going to have all our units on display as well as consignments and
used units,” said Donati, a former Gulf Stream Coach Inc. vice president.
Supplier issues delayed a planned debut of the Nexus motorhome
at last week’s Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 45th Family Reunion
and Motorhome Showcase in Perry, Ga. ”We took the posture that you’re
only new once and we didn’t want to make a bad impression
the first time out,” Donati said. Read more...
NeXus RV Rolls into Manufacturing, Sell-Direct
March 18, 2011 by RV Pro
In order to do that, NeXus RV offers its “On-Demand” video studio,
where customers can connect with Donati, Middleton or other NeXus RV
personnel via a live video presentation offered through Skype or Live Stream.
In the middle of the Great Recession, when the door for new opportunity
was closing for many in the RV industry, Claude Donati and Dave Middleton saw
potential in starting an RV manufacturing operation that sells directly to customers.
Born out of what Donati saw as an era for customer neglect,
NeXus RV came to be in July 2010 after Donati and Middleton
left their previous posts at Gulf Stream Coach.
“A couple of factors played into the decision (to start NeXus RV),”
Donati said. “With the economic downturn, a lot of dealers disappeared
and there were a lot of customers calling from hundreds of miles away with
questions, and without a local dealer, other customers started buying
on the Internet. I saw it as an opportunity to fill customers’ needs.” Read more...
Nexus RV to Debut New Lines at March Rally
February 7, 2011 by RV Business
Startup Class C manufacturer Nexus RV LLC will debut its first lines—a traditional Phantom
minimotorhome and a B-plus-style Viper C-body—March 14-17 at the Family Motor Coach
Association’s Southern Homecoming Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Perry, Ga. Read more...
Nexus RVs to Use Factory Direct Biz Model
October 20, 2010 by RV Business
Claude Donati and Dave Middleton played Little League together, attended Penn High
School together, and this summer co-founded an RV manufacturing company together.
The company, called Nexus RVs LLC, on Tuesday (Oct. 19) announced plans to invest
more than $2.8 million to lease and equip the former Prodesign plant complex on Reedy Drive
at Elkhart County Road 13 on the north side of Elkhart, Ind., for their motorhome
production venture, the South Bend Tribune reported. Read more...
Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer
to Establish Elkhart Operation
October 19, 2010
Nexus RVS, LLC a startup manufacturer of recreational vehicles, announced today that
it will establish its production operations here, creating up to 90 new jobs by 2013.
The company, which manufactures Class B and Class C motor homes, will invest
more than $2.8 million to lease and equip an existing 109,000 square-foot manufacturing facility
adjacent to the Indiana Toll Road. “As confidence in the recreational vehicle industry re-emerges,
Indiana is seeing increased opportunities from new and existing manufacturers alike,"
said Mitch Roob, Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic
Development Corporation. “This new business will provide welcomed jobs for workers
in North Central Indiana." Read more...
Dave Middleton Joins Startup Nexus RV
September 14, 2010 by RV Business
Nexus RV LLC has named Dave Middleton as vice president of the new company.
Nexus RV, currently based at Innovation Park on the campus of the University
of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., will manufacture Class C and B+ motorhomes,
according to a news release.
“Dave brings 15 years of experience in the sales and marketing of some of the most unique products
in the industry,” said Claude Donati, president. “Dave is one of the best pure sales people
in the RV industry; his approach to sales is high energy and will be a major factor
in our success.” Read more...
Donati getting back in the Motorhome Biz
July 30, 2010 by RV Business
Newly formed motorhome manufacturer Nexus RV announced it has temporarily located
its corporate offices in Innovation Park at the University of Notre Dame in Northern Indiana.
The company plans to produce motorhomes in Northern Indiana or Southern Michigan,
according to a news release. Read more...