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Ahead of 2021, world-class motorhome brand Newmar released quite a few new and updated models, among them the 2021 Dutch Star. This diesel motor coach features a luxurious and spacious interior, no matter which of the 13 available floor plans you pick. Beyond the good looks, the motorhome’s safety features are impressive, too, and include Comfort Drive steering technology, electronic stability control, available OnGuard collision mitigation tech and more.
If you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ll love the six-way power captain’s chairs, which, of course, come equipped with power lumbar support, recliners, footrests and standard heated seats. For a safer driving experience, you’ll have access to a 360-degree camera system, from the rearview monitor to side-view cameras.
Further on into the coach’s interior, you’ll find all of the comforts of home, from a Whirlpool refrigerator and three-burner cooktop (there are extra options for the traveling foodie, like a portable induction cooktop) to double bathroom vanities and plentiful storage throughout.
We spoke to John Sammut, vice president of sales at Newmar, to learn more about this model and the Newmar experience.
Motor Home News: Are there any key differences buyers should be aware of, between the 2020 and 2021 Dutch Star models?
John: I believe 2020 was the first year of what we call a lifestyle change, so the dramatic changes in terms of exterior and interior designs were really completed in 2020. What you have for 2021 are some nice enhancements for the product.
The driver cockpit area has larger dash monitors, which were increased in size to nine inches. We also have larger windows in the front living room and dinette areas, which provide a more open look and more ambient light during the daytime.
We also had a light wood option for many, many years that was popular and did well, but that was becoming dated, so we introduced a wood color we call Glacier Glazed Maple that we had previously featured in some of our lower-priced products and that was extremely popular. We had a lot of customer and dealer demand to put that newer color in the Dutch Star, which we’ve done in 2021.
One of the biggest pieces of innovations in the Dutch Star for 2021 is an optional feature available in all floor plans called the Aire Chair. We already built some wheelchair accessible models, but for those folks having some difficulty navigating the entry steps in a traditional Class A or Class C motor home, whether it be because of arthritis or another debilitating situation, the Aire Chair is a way to make it easier for them to get in and out of the coach without requiring the need for a full-blown wheelchair lift. It’s an electrically-operated chair lift that gets the customer either inside or outside, from ground level, safely and securely, but it folds away nicely to where that entry door looks like a normal entry as you walk in and out of the coach.
Motor Home News: What kind of traveler/RV-er is the new 2021 Dutch Star model best suited for, in your opinion?
John: There are several. Obviously we have a large number of Dutch Star owners who live full-time in their coach. They’ve sold their homes and decided to travel the country.
We also have a good portion of snowbirds, people who aren’t full-timers, but who live in the North in the spring and summer and go to a destination like Florida, South Texas or Arizona in the winter months.
We also have two bunk models available, so we do see quite a few families that migrate toward the Dutch Star for the first, second or third recreational vehicle.
With that optional Aire Chair and the wheelchair-accessible model, we have people who have a great desire to enjoy the outdoors with another family member, but have a need for an ability-enabling product that will allow them to travel in a wheelchair and use a roll-in shower.
Motor Home News: What are some of your personal favorite features with this model?
John: In general, with all of our rear-engine diesel products, Comfort Drive steering is one of our best features. If you drive for any length of time, that Comfort Driving steering is an amazing feature that makes it easy to drive and very comfortable. It minimizes fatigue even if you’re out driving for eight hours over the course of a day. It’s so much easier than the standard steering feature in any of our competitors’ models.
Heated floors are one of my other favorite features. Even in warmer climates, like Florida, I’ve walked out in the morning to 35 or 40 degrees. It’s nice to hop out of bed and have those heated floors going.
Our most popular floorplans are the ones that offer a bath and a half, with the master bathroom in the back of the coach. There, the cathedral ceiling offers more headroom in that area… It makes it seem a lot roomier.
Then the fourth thing is our “More Floor,” which extends the ceramic, polished porcelain tile into the slide-out floor and replaces all the carpet. Customers today want as little carpet as possible.
Motor Home News: For those seeing this article and possibly interested in upgrading/purchasing the 2021 Dutch Star model, what kind of shopping experience can they expect with Newmar?
John: We like to say that our best customer is the prospective customer who wants to do their homework, the educated customer. We offer one of the best plant tours here in Nappanee and, during the COVID pandemic, we’ve even created a fantastic 360-degree virtual plant tour that we provide daily, hosted here in our office in Nappanee. That virtual tour is booked at capacity just about every day we conduct it.
Then there’s our ability to deliver on special requests based on customers’ personal tastes. Most manufacturers won’t deviate from their standard build. They’re more like a cookie cutter assembly, but we allow customers to substitute flooring material or fabrics or tile backsplashes from one of our other products into the coach they’re looking to order. We accommodate more special requests than any other Class A motorhome competitor in the marketplace.
Lastly, one of the biggest things is our after-purchase support. If you go into any chatroom for RV owners or Newmar owners, they’ll absolutely rave about our parts services and warranty support after a sale. I think that’s important for customers to know, especially when they’re buying their first RV.
Motor Home News: On a separate note, how have you seen the RV/coaching industry impacted over the last year of the pandemic?
John: Once we got into mid- to late-May, we saw a real spike in not only interest, website traffic and inquiries, but also in actual retail sales volume. From our retail sales volume pre-COVID, about the first of March, to what we were experiencing in July, August and September, we saw a 40% increase in actual sales activity during that time. And our dealer inventories have not been lower, at least not in my 17 years with Newmar, than they are now… Now, we’ve seen the seasonal slow down in the recent winter months, but not to the degree we typically do. Our retail sales are very robust right now.
Motor Home News: Why do you think so many families/couples are looking at the RV lifestyle as a hobby or form of reaction right now?
John: I think people are realizing some of the options they have for traveling or going on vacation involves exposing themselves to environments where they don’t have total control on the sanitary conditions or who’s been there before. They’re warming up to the idea that if they get a motor home, they’re basically sleeping in their own bed, they have their own clothes in their own closet and they can prepare their meals in an environment that they can control.
I think people still have that burning desire and spirit to enjoy traveling and the great outdoors — that’s part of who we are as Americans and it’s ingrained in us. They think, I’m determined to enjoy traveling and go on vacation, but now I’ll do it in a way and environment that keeps my family safe.
For more information on Newmar and the Dutch Star 2021, visit newmarcorp.com.