Earthbound Formulates New Vision: Custom RVs
In response to growing demand in the U.S. market for ultra-luxurious travel trailers, Marion, Ind.-based Earthbound RV announced today (Nov. 18) it will pilot a new production program through the winter and spring of 2012.
According to a news release, customers for the first time will be able to work directly with the RV manufacturer to design fully custom towable RVs. Earthbound President Charles Hoefer said this move is only possible due to the shift in RV buying patterns in recent years.
“We are excited for this new direction, and for the encouragement and positive feedback we have had from customers,” said Hoefer. “The RV climate is much different today. Where you once had a flood of $500,000 to $1 million-plus Class A consumers, we are finding there is a big shift toward appreciation for towable luxuries. For a fraction of the price, we can out-style, out-perform, and outclass the 40-foot diesels with a 30-foot ultralight composite coach you can tow with almost any luxury V8 SUV.”
Earthbound said that for the luxury travel consumer, this new offering provides multiple advantages that were not previously available in modern camping, including:
• Mobility: Earthbound’s use of exclusively composite and alternative [wood-free] materials allows for superior performance in weight, aerodynamics, and overall towability. A unit with options will weigh 5,000-5,800 pounds, which makes for a smooth tow with Mercedes, Volkswagen, Porsche, Jeep, Cadillac, Ford, and Lincoln SUVs. Once at the campground, owners have the option of using their tow vehicle as a daily driver capable of up to 28 highway mpg in some diesel models.
• Design:Earthbound said that each unit can be tailored to meet customer tastes and preferences. Interior and exterior premium automotive paint in any color is standard, and countertops, fabrics and furniture are customizable.
Paint matching a tow vehicle is no problem. The cabinetry is a propriety composite system using thermoplastics and aluminum with a revolutionary surface that can be digitally customized to reflect any print imaginable. Earthbound’s Vice President of Marketing David B. Hoefer Jr. said the unit’s design follows simple rules that discerning customers appreciate.
• Technology: Earthbound offers plenty of technology as well. “The entry steps extend and retract, which is a first for towables,” David Hoefer said. “The awning is automated. LED TV’s, HDMI capability, advanced satellite and military-grade solar systems are just several of the features available.”
• “True” green technology: “Our formaldehyde levels for a just-built unit that has not left the factory are 0.02 parts per million,” said David Hoefer. “This is equivalent to outdoor air quality in many areas around the U.S., and is off the charts for clean air in an RV. We publish our independent test results on our website for all to see.” The factory also produces very little waste that can’t be reused.
Dave Hoefer Sr., Earthbound’s founder and an industry icon, first had his vision for composite RVs in the late 1990’s, and he worked for years amidst stout industry opposition. “The dream was to build an RV for the 21st century,” he said. His prior achievements include founding Dutchmen RV and co-founding Four Winds RV, which he sold to Thor Industries Inc. He also co-founded Dutch Housing, Hart Housing and managed and consulted for a number of other manufacturers.
“We are still very small, so it is hard to gain the approval of the industry,” he said. “We have global demand on every continent and have devoted a number of resources towards future international builds. However, for the immediate future, U.S. and Canadian customers will have our full devotion of resources to work directly with them to create real works of art. These units will be special for years to come.”
Earthbound said it is now taking orders for custom 2012 models for immediate production. Customers may reach the factory directly at 765-677-9090 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Units range in price between $127,900 and $147,900 plus options. Earthbound will reserve up to 20 units for custom production. The project will be evaluated later in the Spring, to determine if it will be continued in the future. More information can be found at www.earthboundrv.com.