NATDA Magazine Nov/Dec Nov2018Mag_FINAL - Page 22

already knew that we were going to build a new plant. That was two years before,” says Dale Davis, ATC’s leading salesman for its toy hauler division. A new production plant increased ATC’s manufacturing capabilities, sure. It also created a desire to build something new. The new facility would allow ATC to branch out, creating products for a new type of its dealer base. “Long story short, we looked at what we could do. Once we had a new plant, we were able to start a whole new line,” Davis says. So, the company looked inward. People often questioned ATC over custom features in its car hauler lines. Those questions ranged from the mundane all the way to bathroom packages. “We walked through a process,” Davis explains. “Our executives sat down. It’s kind of a problem-solving process. You present the problem, some outcomes and some projections. It’s like a mini- business plan to see if it makes sense.” From what they had gathered, there wasn’t a lot of competition in a very particular segment of the market. So, in April of 2015, the company built its very first ATC toy hauler. 22 “It was slow at first,” he says. “We almost shut it down, but, in the last two years, it went nuts.” For inspiration, the ATC team sought out RV dealers. Unbeknownst to him, that task proved harder than he imagined. While known in the cargo and race trailer industry, ATC was an enigma for the recreational vehicle market. “I had worked here for fifteen years,” says Davis. “I thought they’d at least know who we were, but we’d never been in their circle. Davis and his team started studying what looked good and what didn’t. What they found was that their niche lied in the fact that there was no wood in their toy hauler – at all. So, the team focused on other niches. The company went with an aluminum roof, something of a rarity in the RV world. They noticed their roofs, as opposed to others, weren’t leaking or getting damaged as easily. “We toured RV dealerships and you’d see trim falling off or see things rotting. Floors would bow as we walked through them. We thought if people were willing to pay a little more for something that will last them the rest of their lives, we’ll do okay.” NATDA Magazine www.natda.org