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Ford Ups ‘A’ Chassis Output to Meet Demand

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August 7, 2014 by   Leave a Comment

Ford has increased its stripped chassis production to meet demand for Class A motorhomes like the Winnebago Vista

Ford has increased its stripped chassis production to meet demand for Class A motorhomes like the Winnebago Vista

Ford Motor Co., a leading motorhome chassis manufacturer, has boosted production of its Class A motorhome chassis and introduced new options in response to growing consumer confidence and demand for recreational vehicles.

According to a press release, total motorhome sales are up 13% year-to-date through May, according to data from Statistical Surveys Inc., a market analysis company specializing in the RV, marine and manufactured housing industries. Sales of Class A motorhomes – the largest and most luxurious on the road – are up 12% through May.

Sales of smaller van cutaway-based Class C motorhomes are up 14% for the same period.

“Motorhome sales are cyclical, and correlate with improving economic performance,” said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst. “Like boats, homes and luxury cars, motorhomes – especially Class A – are big-ticket items, so when we see a continued upward trend in sales, it means people have far greater confidence to make a large, discretionary purchase.”

Ford leads both the Class A and Class C motorhome chassis markets, with a 63% share of the Class A market and 72% share in Class C chassis year-to-date through May, according to data from Statistical Surveys.

Ford motorhome chassis sales are outpacing the market. Total Ford motorhome chassis sales are up 16.5% year-to-date through May, compared to the 13% growth in total motorhome sales. Ford Class A motorhome stripped chassis sales are up 17% versus the total Class A market’s 12%, while Ford’s Class C van cutaway chassis sales, at 16% growth, are outpacing total Class C chassis sales gains by 2 percentage points.

Class C motorhomes like the Four Winds line from Thor Motor Coach are built on van cutaway-chassis such as the Ford E-Series and Transit.

Class C motorhomes like the Four Winds line from Thor Motor Coach are built on van cutaway-chassis such as the Ford E-Series and Transit.

Ford increased production of its F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis used for Class A motorhomes and commercial vehicle applications, such as parcel delivery, by 33% through the first half of 2014 to meet growing demand. 

“We believe we will see further growth as the industry continues to recover,” said Merkle. “Demographic drivers of this overall growth in the RV market include retiring Baby Boomers with more time for travel and leisure.”

The introduction of the Ford Transit also gives customers additional choices for their Class B motorhome.

Commonly called “camper vans,” Class B motorhomes are built using OEM vans or panel trucks. They drive like a van, and retail for between $60,000 and $130,000, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Transit’s choice of three roof heights, two wheelbases and three powertrains gives customers the ability to customize their camper van cost-effectively, as choosing the high-roof Transit model eliminates the need to raise the roof or drop the floor of a traditional van.

“Transit versatility makes it a great fit for the motorhome market,” said Minyang Jiang, Ford brand manager for Transit, Transit Connect and E-Series. “While our E-Series cutaway will continue to address the heavier needs of the Class C motorhome market, Transit cutaway provides a lighter-weight option. And for camper vans, you can’t beat the high-roof Transit’s best-in-class interior height – passengers more than 6 feet 4 inches tall can stand upright inside.”

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