Brinkley RV co-founder Ryan Thwaits and his colleagues cut the ribbon Thursday to celebrate the company’s first Model Z to roll off the line.
During a ceremony at Brinkley RV’s Indiana production facility, management and workers gathered to break bread and celebrate delivering their luxury fifth wheel to their first dealer Walnut Ridge RV. Thwaits said their entire team contributed blood, sweat and tears to get the first RV ready for consumers.
“It is a long time coming, so it was awesome to see it finally come to fruition and know that we are in the marketplace,” Thwaits said. “We have always wanted to run our own company and create a product that was unique to us, and more importantly, that customers could appreciate. We spent our careers really putting this product together.”
Goshen-based Brinkley RV is led by Thwaits and his co-founders Nate Goldenberg, Micah Staley, Ron Fenech and Bill Fenech. The company began construction on three production facilities earlier this year hoping to fill a void in the RV marketplace.
Thwaits said the Model Z is in a category all by itself. Designed for RV owners who may not want a full-size towing pickup, the RV is a mid-size luxury fifth wheel with an automotive exterior and a residential interior. The interior is filled with more features and amenities than traditionally come on high-end coaches, he said.
“It is a whole new segment,” he said. “It does have a sleek look. It is a lot cleaner unit than what the retail customer is used to seeing in our industry.”
Walnut Ridge co-owner and RVDA Chairman Nathan Hart thought it was fun to see all of Brinkley RV’s work finally be rewarded with a completed RV. He said it was an honor to be selected as their first dealer in the country.
“We believe in their product. It is not a normal startup by any means. I think our values and culture align and I know that we will represent them well,” Hart said. “When you walk in the unit, they do not have any sealants or putties. That is where a lot of our problems come from and complaints from our customers. They really approached it differently.”
Thwaits said they had the luxury of time to build four prototypes before the final design, which they have never seen throughout their careers.
“Everything we did had a purpose and so when you come look at a Model Z, we can tell a story behind all these features,” he said. “We just didn’t bolt on features and quality. We made a lot of changes to the product and spent some extra money where the industry usually takes shortcuts. We want to solve those nagging problems that the RV customer has.”
Thwaits said two RVs are completed a day now, but by the end of the year, he said production should be ramped up to about 75 RVs a week.
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