Fri May 10, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
Lorne Nakonechny, CEO of Kelowna, British Columbia, truck camper manufacturer Northern Lite, says his company has strong momentum, and despite the overall industry’s sluggishness, 2019 shapes up to be a banner year.
“We are quite excited about this year,” Nakonechny says. “We produce North America’s lightest four-season camper. It’s the only camper with a six-year structural warranty. People are recognizing, and migrating to, our better-built, sturdy campers.”
Northern Lite, which recently observed its 30th anniversary, has a network of 36 dealers, with 20 in the U.S. and 16 in Canada. He says they are spread out geographically with good representation in the Southwest and Western U.S. The network also has dealers in North Carolina, Maine and New Hampshire. The manufacturer added seven dealers in 2018 and Nakonechny hopes to add more this year.
“We would consider adding more, but we are looking for quality truck camper dealers,” he says. Selling truck campers is not the same as selling trailers. Truck campers require more involvement and expertise from dealers who must be knowledgeable about weights, tie-downs and making sure campers are mounted properly.”
While Nakonechny won’t give an exact figure of the number of units Northern Lite produced in 2018, he says it was “more than 500.” He anticipates the company will build more this year. Northern Lite builds its truck campers in what Nakonechny describes as a “purpose-built” facility that opened in 2015. The company, which employs 77, also subcontracts aluminum fabrication, plastic molding and cabinet finishing to local suppliers in Kelowna.
Nakonechny says the RV industry is suffering from some “self-inflicted” uncertainty in the marketplace. He says the U.S. government shutdown earlier in the year, combined with bad weather in many regions of the U.S. and Canada, produced a slowdown during the first few months of 2019.
“Overall, I am confident with normal weather returning and a pent-up interest in RVs, conditions will improve,” he says. “I am proud of our facility here. It takes more than a good set of hands to put our campers together. It takes a good head a good heart.”