Winnebago Industries Inc. is offering front-engine diesel chassis from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. and Workhorse Custom Chassis LLC as options on all of its 2010 gas-powered motorhomes.
”We really haven’t done much with front-engine diesel until this year,” said President Bob Olson. ”Coming off a year when fuel prices were so volatile, the time is right. Now we can give potential customers an option.”
The Ford F-53 chassis will continue to be standard on most of Winnebago’s gas Class A lineup. Workhorse’s W-D series and Freightliner’s FRED front-engine diesels will be available on the Winnebago Adventurer/Itasca Suncruiser, while the Workhorse chassis will be optional on the Winnebago Sightseer/Itasca Sunova and Vista/Sunstar.
Winnebago introduced its 2010 lineup in July during the Winnebago Itasca Travelers (WIT) Grand National Rally at the company’s Forest City, Iowa, headquarters.
Taking an aggressive stance toward R&D for 2010, Winnebago introduced its first-ever tag axle on a 2010 42-foot floorplan — plus a bath-and-a-half floorplan — in the Winnebago Tour/Itasca Ellipse diesel pusher (base MSRP: $311,630/317,278) built on the company’s 44,320-pound GVWR Freightliner Maxum chassis. Also part of the company’s 2010 lineup is a ”low profile” Winnebago View Profile Class C motorhome, designed without a cabover sleeping compartment, on the high-mileage Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis.
Winnebago also has launched production of the long-awaited 25-foot Winnebago Via/Itasca Reyo (base MSRP: $135,132/$135,568)), the first Class A motorhome built on the 11,030-pound GVWR Sprinter chassis equipped with a 6-cylinder 154-hp Mercedes Benz diesel engine. A prototype of the Via/Reyo was introduced last at December’s Louisville Show and a second floorplan should be available by December.
The company also debuted two 34- and 39-foot floorplans in the all-new `value-priced” Winnebago Journey Express/Itasca Meridian V Class A diesel pusher motorhome (base MSRP: $205,419/$210,837) on the 27,910-pound GVWR Freightliner XCS straight-rail chassis equipped with a Cummins ISB 340-hp diesel engine.
Despite the current recession and trend toward smaller, more fuel-efficient motorhomes, Olson is convinced that a market remains for larger diesel-pusher units.
”Once we see the economy turn around and we get back to normal and our finance partners start lending money again,” he said, ”you’ll still see people who want coaches that they are used to and have the amenities that they have at home. You can do things with the tag axle that you can’t with smaller chassis.” Olson said.
Olson said that despite reducing the number of floorplans to 68 from 77 across its Class A and C lineup, Winnebago remained aggressive in developing its 2010 offerings.
”It would have been very easy to pull in our horns and not come out with anything new,” Olson told RVBUSINESS.COM. ”But we felt this industry is going to be around for a long, long time. Coming out of a downturn that we’ve never seen before, what better way to come out with something that our customers have never seen before?”