A record attendance of 14,450 dealers, manufacturing representatives and others in the RV industry saw the 2005 RVs and got a peek at a few 2006 models that will reach dealer showrooms later this year.
The trend toward increased roominess was reflected in new Class C mini-motorhomes, some of which are beginning to rival Class As in size, and in decisions by manufacturers to boost the headroom in some motorhomes and towables to seven feet or more.
It was also apparent from the show that manufacturers are putting more emphasis on sleek design. Monaco employed the Porsche Design Group to help create a distinctive look for some of its products, and Airstream collaborated with San Francisco architect and designer Christopher Deam on its International CCD travel trailer. Fleetwood RV turned to BMW Group DesignworksUSA for help with new Class C motorhomes.
A number of manufacturers reported that the show produced a record number of orders, an indication that 2005 may continue the strong sales pace of 2004.
“This has been an exceptionally good show for us,” said John Sammut, director of sales at Newmar Corporation. “A record number of orders have been taken, and we hope this is an indication of what’s ahead for the industry in 2005.”
“This has been our best show ever,” said Norm Jacobson, director of sales and marketing for Lance Truck Camper Manufacturing Corp. “We sold more truck campers this year than at any previous show, and we are very pleased and excited about the year ahead.”
Here are some of the 2005 products and 2006 preview models that attracted attention in Louisville:
Fleetwood Revolution LE Motorhome
Fleetwood RV introduced a new quadruple slideout floor plan for its Revolution LE motorhome, which features a sleek body design, large one-piece windshield and a roomy interior that gives seven feet of floor-to-ceiling height.
The Revolution LE is built on the Liberty Chassis that was formerly available only on Fleetwood’s American Coach family of high-end diesel motorhomes. It contains a 400-horsepower Caterpillar C9 engine. The Revolution LE is available in four floor plans, including a triple slideout with a mid-ship bathroom for guests and a full bath in the master bedroom suite. The new LE 40L model includes two slideouts in the front living area and two in the master bedroom suite. It also has dual pass-through basement storage with side-hinging compartment bay doors for maximum accessibility when slideouts are deployed.
For information, contact Fleetwood Enterprises, P.O. Box 7638, Riverside, CA 92513-7638. Phone (800) 322-8216 or see www.fleetwoodrv.com.
Itasca Navion/Winnebago View
The 2006 Winnebago View and its twin, the Itasca Navion, made their debut at the Louisville show, offering a fresh, contemporary look and the promise of fuel economy. The new models won’t be available in dealer showrooms until this spring.
The View and Navion are built on a Dodge Sprinter chassis with a 2.7L Mercedes turbo diesel engine. Estimated fuel consumption is 17 to 19 miles per gallon. Winnebago says the new models are the result of its design team thinking outside the box and are unlike anything now on the market. The vehicles will be offered in two floor plans, both with slideouts, and each just over 24 feet in length.
For information, contact Information Services, Winnebago Industries, P. O. Box 152 Forest City, IA 50436. Phone (800) 643-4892, ext. 3, or see www.winnebagoind.com.
Chevrolet/Workhorse Class C Chassis
A collaboration between Chevrolet and Workhorse has produced a new Class C chassis that raises the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) to 14,050 pounds, allowing buyers to carry more of their belongings in their motorhome. (The GVWR represents the maximum load of the vehicle and its cargo.)
The new chassis contains several upgrades from the one-ton Chevy Express RV chassis, which has a 12,300-pound GVWR. The Chevrolet/Workhorse chassis has newly designed heavy-duty front and rear suspension systems, an upgraded transmission, a beefed up powertrain cooling package, a higher capacity, heavy-duty rear axle design, a new rear end stabilizer system, and a set of heavy-duty tires. The design also permits more legroom and interior space for the driver and passenger. The chassis is equipped with a system to monitor motor oil to determine when it needs changing, eliminating unnecessary oil changes. For information, see www.workhorse.com.
Country Coach Allure
Country Coach has redesigned its Allure 430 and 470 inside and out for 2005. Both have an 85-inch interior height, a single-piece wrap-around windshield, a choice of up to four slideouts and a DynoMax chassis with independent front suspension and a 400-horsepower engine. The 470 is the upgraded version, with such standard features as hydronic heating, halogen lighting, an XM radio, heat pumps, and dimmer switches for wall sconce lighting.
The Allure 430 is available in a 34-foot or 40-foot floor plan. Full-body paint in a choice of four color combinations wraps all the way around the slide rooms. A wind-sensor equipped patio awning is standard. A 27-inch flat screen TV, a home theater system with a DVD and a separate VCR are also standard, but options include LCD high definition TVs and a 68-inch projection screen TV. Options in the cockpit include OnStar, a global positioning navigational system, and driver and passenger seats with massage and heat controls.
For information about the Allure, contact Country Coach, 210 E. Sixth Avenue, Junction City, Oregon 97448. Phone (800) 654-0223 or see www.countrycoach.com.
Dodge Sprinter Westfalia by Airstream
The Dodge Sprinter Westfalia by Airstream arrived on the market in the middle of last year, but is getting a new push this year with the largest marketing campaign in Airstream’s history. The campaign is aimed at persuading young urban and suburban families that the vehicle is ideal for weekend getaways.
The touring coach is built on a Dodge Sprinter platform; the expansive roof and interior are crafted by Westfalia, the German van conversion company that created the legendary Volkswagen camper in 1960, and amenities for the North American market are added by Airstream. The Dodge Sprinter Westfalia is just a little over 18 feet in length, but has living, sleeping, kitchen and washroom areas to accommodate a vacationing family of four. The kitchen includes a refrigerator/freezer, twin-burner stovetop, stainless steel sink and optional microwave. One bed is in the roof area and another converts from a sofa.
For information about the Dodge Sprinter Westfalia, contact Airstream, 419 W. Pike Street, P. O. Box 629, Jackson Center, OH 45334. Phone (937) 596-6111 or see www.airstream.com.
Spartan Mid-Engine Chassis
Spartan Chassis, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, has made its innovative mid-engine chassis available for entry-level diesel motorhomes for the first time. By putting the engine in the middle, the manufacturer says that the weight balance improves the ride and handling ability of the vehicle.
Spartan’s NVS-ME mid-engine chassis is powered by a 330-horsepower Cummins engine and has an Allison six-speed automatic transmission. The maximum gross vehicle weight rating ranges up to 28,000 pounds, with a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. Spartan says the design gives RV builders new floor plan options, including a garage for sports toys, or an extra room in the rear of the coach. For information, see www.spartanchassis.com.
Georgie Boy Cruise Master
Georgie Boy completely redesigned its 2005 Cruise Master, adding large amounts of storage capacity and giving the gas-powered model the appearance of a diesel pusher. The Cruise Master has 200 cubic feet of exterior storage space, achieved by using a Cargo Master storage platform built on a Workhorse W24 chassis. There is plenty of storage space inside, too, and seven-foot ceilings with vinyl padding make the coach feel spacious.
The diesel resemblance extends to such features as a gross combined vehicle weight rating of 30,000 pounds. This is the highest capacity available for a gas chassis, and allows for additional slideouts and towing capability. The motorhome has an electronic push-button shifter for easy gear selection, four-piston Quadraulic disc brakes and a 50-degree wheel cut for increased maneuverability.
Cruise Master buyers can choose from three hardwood interiors and three floor plans, two at 36 feet and one at 37 feet. One model has two slideouts; the others have three slideouts.
For information, contact Georgie Boy Manufacturing, 69950 M-62, Edwardsburg, MI 49112. Phone (269) 663-3415 or see www.georgieboy.com.
Fleetwood Tioga SLX and Jamboree GTX
The new Tioga SLX and the companion Jamboree GTX feature aerodynamic styling that is a product of collaboration between Fleetwood RV and BMW Group DesignworksUSA of Southern California. The models will reach dealer showrooms in April.
The new mini-motorhomes have an aerodynamic cab-over design with a distinctive front vista window, contoured transition fairings, molded composite running boards, custom-formed aluminum luggage doors and a fully integrated rear body panel. The models are built on a raised platform to provide room for expansive basement storage and heated holding tanks. The interior includes curved cabinetry from Italy, solid-surface galleys tops, a residential-size convection microwave oven and an entertainment center. Options include high-resolution LCD televisions, a power awning, 400-watt power inverter, and a 15,000-BTU air conditioner with a solar panel charger and heat pump.
Information about these new Class C models can be obtained from Fleetwood Enterprises, P. O. Box 7638, Riverside, CA 92513-7638. Phone (877) 308-7644 or see www.fleetwoodrv.com.
Northstar Pop-up Camper
Northstar is offering seven floor plans in hardwall campers and nine floor plans for pop-up campers in 2005. All are built with a narrow design that is engineered to provide stability and easy handling.
The TC650 is a pop-up camper designed for today’s half-ton short-bed trucks. Like all of Northstar’s pop-up campers, it is just seven feet wide, and the pop-up design gives it a lower center of gravity for increased safety. When closed, the camper is just five feet, eight inches high, but the interior extends to six feet, seven inches when it is open. Standard equipment includes a refrigerator, two-burner stove, 30-gallon fresh water tank, and a 16,000-BTU auto-ignition furnace.
For information, contact R. C. Willett Co., 3040 Leversee Road, Cedar Falls, IA 50613. Phone (319) 233-3461 or see www.northstarcampers.com.
The lavishly equipped Esquire is an all-new mini-motorhome that is an addition to the Monaco lineup for 2005. It comes in lengths of 27 to 31 feet with a choice of one or two slideouts and an optional cab-over sleeping area.
Craftsmanship is reflected in the woodwork that includes crown moldings and raised panel overhead cabinet doors with woven raffia inserts. In the kitchen, the overhead lights are framed in wood. The refrigerator has doors with woven ravia inserts. The dining area has a wood booth dinette with side-sliding tabletop and built-in storage.
The Esquire is built on a Ford E-450 chassis with an aluminum superstructure. Standard features include a rear ladder, slide-out awnings for the living area and bedroom, and pass-through bays for storage.
For information, contact Monaco, 91320 Industrial Way, Coburg, OR 97408. Phone (800) 634-0855 or see www.monacocoach.com.
Dynamax Grand Sport Columbia
Dynamax Corporation introduced the aerodynamically designed Grand Sport Columbia with a front engine layout that directs the wind up and away from the cab to produce more stability and a better-handling drive. The truck design also offers the safety protection of a “crush zone” in case of a front-end collision. For service, access to the engine is as simple as lifting the hood.
The Grand Sport Columbia is powered by a 450-horsepower Mercedes Benz diesel engine or a 455-horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine. It has extraordinary towing capacity with a 40,000-pound hitch. The chassis is from Freightliner. The interior has lots of storage and there is a pass-through storage area in the rear of the unit.
For information, contact Dynamax Corporation, 2745 Northland Drive, Elkhart, IN 46515. Phone (888) 295-7859 or see www.dynamaxcorp.com.
Newmar Cypress Fifth Wheel
Newmar’s newest product is the Cypress Fifth Wheel, which was introduced at Louisville as the company’s most affordable fifth wheel yet, with a base price starting at $43,000. It is built on a newly designed 12-inch I-beam frame. It has aluminum-frame sidewalls and roof construction with "walkable" roof decking, and an enclosed and insulated underbelly with floor-ducted heating.
Standard features include air conditioning, a bedroom wardrobe with two full-width shoe racks and top-shelf cedar lining, a kitchen pantry with sliding adjustable drawers, and a fiberglass shower with a glas enclosure. Buyers can choose from nine floor plans ranging from a double slideout with a rear kitchen to a quad slideout with a front living room. The entertainment center features a 27-inch color TV with remote, a surround sound system with DVD and CD players and an AM/FM tuner.
For information, contact Newmar Corporation, 355 N. Delaware St., Nappanee, IN 46550-0030. Phone (574) 773-7701 or see www.newmarcorp.com.
Itasca Horizon/Winnebago Vectra
Winnebago introduced a new quad slide floor plan, the 40FD, at Louisville for its 2005 Itasca Horizon and Winnebago Vectra diesel pushers. The new plan features a lounge chair/sofa/galley slide and a moveable dining table with a large window slide in the front, while a bed and a TV/drawer extend in the back. Other features include French-style doors in the bedroom, a 27-inch Sony flat screen TV, and a four-door refrigerator.
The Horizon and Vectra offer five floor plans in all, including another quad slide. The models are built on the innovative Evolution chassis, which features one-piece, precision-formed steel chassis rails designed to maximize mid-section clearance without sacrificing interior height. A 350-horsepower Caterpillar turbo-charged diesel engine is standard, with some models offering the option of a 400-horsepower Cummins engine.
New features for 2005 include full body paint and an optional exterior entertainment center with a flat screen TV, AM/FM tuner and DVD player.
For information, contact Information Services, Winnebago Industries, P. O. Box 152 Forest City, IA 50436. Phone (800) 643-4892, ext. 3, or see www.winnebagoind.com