Cleveland, Ohio-based Class B builder Advanced RV has introduced several new “personalized” coaches, designed to meet customers’ expressed travel needs.
According to a press release, Advanced RV now offers the 2014 Sprinter chassis, which features a seven-speed transmission and four-cylinder engine with dual turbo for smooth acceleration. “We’re constantly amazed — and challenged — by the new design ideas our customers bring to the table,” said founder Mike Neundorfer. “With each new build, our customers push us to rethink the possibilities of a what you can do in a Class B motorhome.”
New builds incorporating “client-guided innovations” include:
• The Dog Handler: Featuring built-in dog crates with internal lighting, waterbeds and advanced climate controls, this motorhome enables its owners to comfortably transport their prize-winning dogs to shows throughout North America.
• The Mobile Professional: Designed as a commuter-camper for a doctor who serves several hospitals, this build prioritizes fuel economy and remote connectivity, transforming any parking lot into efficient home office and relaxing lounge. The coach features a high-fidelity sound system, functional galley and bathroom, and lounge space that converts to sleeping quarters with the push of a button.
• The Jazzman: For a customer who frequents jazz festivals where shore power hookups are scarce, Advanced RV implemented its signature “off-the-grid” setup to maximize sustainability and privacy.
• The Occasional Equestrian: In addition to accommodating the owner’s family for weekend excursions, this motorhome is built to tow a horse trailer and two horses to riding competitions around the country. A six-cylinder Mercedes diesel engine provides the muscle; carefully selected materials and finishes give the coach a personalized touch.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. announced the launch of the new wide-body Prestige Class B motorhome.
According to a press release, the coach is built on the Ford E350 dual rear wheel cutaway chassis with a 176-inch wheelbase and is unique in the market due to its 22-foot length. The fuel efficient Prestige retails for $110,500, fully loaded.
“Following the hugely successful Pursuit model launched last year, developing a second floorplan was the next step for us,” said CEO Dean Rumpel CEO of Pleasure-Way, “We received a lot of feedback from customers who love what we do but wished our traditional Class B motorhome was just a little larger. The Prestige is going to meet the needs of the consumer who doesn’t want to go up to a 24- or 25-foot motorhome and wants a more open and spacious interior than a traditional Class B without losing the driving flexibility.”
Rumpel added, “Aside from spaciousness and efficiency, one of our focuses in building the Prestige was to produce a stunning interior with extraordinary rear bathroom that you don’t normally see in a smaller motorhome.”
Pleasure-Way will be displaying the Prestige Dec. 3-5 at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) 51st National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., in Booth No. 1821.
Kitchener, Ontario-based Class B builder Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. is showcasing the newest addition to its top-selling Adventurous line at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 61st Annual California RV Show currently running in Pomona.
According to a press release, Roadtrek’s Touring Series (TS) Adventurous is the first vehicle in Roadtrek’s lineup to offer dark laminate cabinets. The charcoal like color is accented with chrome pieces and true granite countertops that give the vehicle a rich interior tone. Also included in this luxury touring series is LED strip lighting with dimming control, power awing with outdoor lights, heated floors, a large 1350-watt air conditioner and rear electrical and water hookups. All these features are controlled by a state-of-the-art electrical control, touch pad panel for ease of use.
“We are excited to offer such a wide range of options, features and new styles in our vehicles and these are just the beginning of what you will see from Roadtrek,” said Karyn Torcoletti, Roadtrek’s director of marketing “Roadtrekers expect the best of the best and that is exactly what we have given them with the new Touring Series.”
Other features include four-season RVing, full swivel second row captain seats, a built-in work station for a laptop or tablet, raised appliances and an induction cooktop for faster and more even cooking.
The TS Adventurous is built on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis and has seating for up to seven passengers and can comfortably sleep up to four. Roadtrek is displaying the new TS Adventurous at booth No. 1003 at the California RV Show.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. has introduced a new “Five-Year Freedom” limited coach warranty for its 2014 models.
According to a press release, the five-year, 60,000 mile (U.S.)/100,000 kilometer (Canada) limited coach warranty is the longest manufacturer’s warranty in the recreational vehicle industry.
“We are so confident in the quality and reliability of the motorhomes we build, that we will proudly stand behind them for five years,” said Dean Rumpel, CEO of Pleasure- Way Industries Ltd. “For decades our customers and dealers have appreciated our commitment to building quality motorhomes and our loyal dedication to customer service. We feel the best built motorhomes should have the best backed warranty, so a five-year freedom limited warranty is a natural progression for Pleasure-Way.”
With a dealership network of over 60 dealers in North America, Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. is a family-owned and operated company that has been building quality Class B motorhomes since 1986.
The timing seems right. As Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. marks its 40th year of operation, Jeff Hanemaayer – the architect behind the company’s status as the undisputed market share leader in the Class B motorhome segment – has announced his resignation from day-to-day operations, effective July 31.
During a 31-year run heading the Kitchener, Ontario-based firm founded by his father, Jac, Hanemaayer and his team set the bar for innovation in a niche market that survives on specialization and a cult-like customer base rather than sheer volume.
“The features that have attracted people to Class B’s really haven’t changed much over the years,” Hanemaayer said, noting that Roadtrek has held the No. 1 sales position in the segment since 1990. “The main reason is that it’s easy to drive. My dad used to say that the design appeals to RVers who don’t want to be weekend bus drivers. We also package units with a lot of the same high-end amenities that are typically reserved for Class A’s.”
Hanemaayer, 49, set the table for his resignation from Roadtrek in February of 2011 when Chicago-based private equity firm Industrial Opportunity Partners acquired a majority interest with a multimillion dollar investment in the company.
“I gradually became less involved in the day-to-day operations over the last two years,” he said, adding that he had retained the real estate. “Another factor in my resignation is that we have a long-term president, Jim Hammill, in place who understands the company and the marketplace. Although I will continue as a director, minority shareholder and the landlord, I will be stepping back from everyday involvement.”
He is also stepping down from his board positions with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and its counterpart Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA).
“I enjoyed my involvement over the years with both associations,” Hanemaayer said. “I joined CRVA in 1990 and served in various capacities, including being the youngest president. It was nice to have the opportunity to work with a lot of the smart minds in our industry.”
Hanemaayer reported that Roadtrek had grown to include around 200 full-time employees operating in a 120,000-square-foot facility. “We hit our peak in 2007, but like everyone else were forced to pare back our work force when the market declined,” he said. “Interestingly, Class B’s bounced back quicker than the the Class A and Class C motorhome segments. After dropping off from 2,000 to 2,400 units a year, B’s are back to running at around 1,600 units.”
Hanemaayer acknowledged that the marketplace may never achieve the high volume of Class A’s and C’s as around a dozen OEM’s currently build the product.
“The market continues to be fragmented,” he said. “Larger manufacturers have never found much success because they are not set up to build 100 or so of one model per year. There is also a lot of specialization and product variation. Right now, Roadtrek builds nine different models.
“Another factor that limits volume is cost. Class B’s do not have that lower-end price point. Unfortunately, some consumers equate price with size, so they may gravitate toward a Class C because it’s bigger and, in some cases, less money.”
One area, however, could change the landscape in the Class B market, according to Hanemaayer, as a number of new commercial van platforms have threatened to cut into the domination enjoyed by the Sprinter chassis produced by Mercedes-Benz.
“I think the new number of platforms will influence volume,” he said. “It looks like there will be some direct competition to Sprinter, which should create a lower price point.”
For now, Hanemaayer said he is undecided on his career path. First, he is planning to travel, including longer treks with his partner in their Roadtrek motorhome.
“I will take a half year off,” he said. “But I’m not interested in retirement. I will probably do something part-time that still gives me the option to travel.”
Kitchener, Ontario-based Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., a leading class B manufacturer, drew over 500 owners and 259 rigs to a May 20-24 rally marking the company’s 40th anniversary.
According to a press release, Roadtrek owners from across the U.S. and Canada gathered with Roadtrek senior management, sales staff, engineering representatives and service technicians in Branson, Mo.
During the event, Roadtrek introduced its 40th Anniversary Edition model. Built on the Chevy Express 3500 van chassis, the coach includes 205 watts of Solar, 3,000-watt inverter, 3,500-watt engine generator, four coach batteries, new bamboo décor, new carpet and stainless steel exterior trim. Built for all-season RVing, the motorhome also features the Alde hydronic heat and hot water system.
Roadtrek also displayed its full-product line sporting new color schemes and décors, including the camping focused CS‐Adventurous and the technology focused E‐trek, both built on the Mercedes Sprinter 3500 van chassis.
In addition, attendees participated in a slate of activities, including a free exterior vehicle wash. Roadtrek technicians and engineers provided free technical support and seminars were held on various topics of interest such as solar and power management, fast winterizing, electronics training and generator maintenance. A separate event was organized to collect owners’ feedback on design improvements.
Throughout the week attendees enjoyed delicious meals and first‐rate entertainment, including Clay Cooper with the group from his “Oh What a Night” show; Dolly Parton Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show Theatre; Frankie Valli Singers, including photographs and autographs; Hillbilly Party; singing and dancing with the Lennon Cathart Singers (brothers of the Lennon Sisters) and The Platters.
Other activities included a golf tournament with a hole‐in‐one prize of brand new Roadtrek; Roadtrek “Olympic Games”; buses to various Branson attractions and shopping areas; and a caricaturist on site.
When Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars and former owner of Chrysler, brought its Euro-styled Sprinter van with a 14-foot high roof and sloped brow to the U.S., it stood out on the parkway like a pachyderm.
As reported by Bloomberg, a dozen years later, the commercial-van market has embraced the look. Traditional, big vans, such as General Motors Co.’s Chevy Express and Ford Motor Co.’s Econoline, are starting to fade from the scene as stricter fuel-efficiency standards are prodding a convergence around a more aerodynamic, European look.
“Guess what? The world has changed,” Claus Tritt, who heads Daimler’s U.S. commercial-van business, said in an interview. “We are no longer the oddball.”
Automakers, including Daimler, Ford and Chrysler Group LLC, are all bringing new, large, fuel-sipping work vans to the U.S. as they gear up for a boom in the highly profitable segment. The surge is fueled by new-home construction and an improving economy, the same forces helping make 2013 the year of the pickup, said Tritt. The platform has also been embraced by the RV market, particularly builders of Class B motorhomes.
The new vans tend to have straighter sides and taller roofs than traditional ones that looked more like bulked up minivans. With their improved fuel efficiency and utility, they complement the U.S. automakers’ best lineup from top to bottom in a generation.
To read the entire article click here.
In a segment of the auto industry where originality can be as rare as a pink paint job, Mercedes-Benz had cut out its own little corner of exclusivity: a big yet fuel-thrifty European-style commercial van line.
USA Today reported that the Sprinter van has proven to be a success since it arrived in 2003, initially under the Dodge brand when Daimler owned Chrysler and later under Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand. The Sprinter has also become a popular platform among Class B motorhome builders.
But now several competitors are on its doorsteps with competing tall, Euro-style vans for the U.S. and Mercedes-Benz hopes to fend them off and protect its turf with an all-new version of the Sprinter, the first redo since 2006.
When the new van arrives in the fall, it will sport a more serious-looking, work-oriented front-end styling. A four-cylinder diesel engine choice will be added for the U.S. in addition to the six, along with a raft of safety options. The van will be aimed at not only the plumbers, contractors and ice cream vendors who have been its mainstay market, but also for those who convert it for use as a small motorhome or executive van, where it has found a nice niche.
And it will still have a drawing card that none of its competitors can match: that three-pointed Mercedes-Benz badge on the front of the grille, made even a little bigger for the new one.
If anything, Mercedes executives see new Euro-style commercial van entries coming from Ford, Nissan and Chrysler’s Ram Truck division as an homage to their decision to bring Sprinter to the U.S. in the first place.
“For 10 years, we were the oddball in the van market. Now I truly believe we are the benchmark,” says Claus Tritt, general manager of Mercedes’ commercial vans in the U.S.
To read the entire article click here.
“Rollin’ On TV” announced the addition of Canadian Class B builder Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. as its newest sponsor.
Executive Director Jose Moniz reported that ROTV is currently working with Pleasure-Way CEO Dean Rumpel and his staff in producing a couple of TV commercials that will begin airing in April along with an active web ad tied directly to the TV spots.
“The new Pleasure-Way ads will air on all ROTV stations and networks throughout the country along with Direct TV and Dish Network,” said Moniz.
Pleasure-Way, a family owned and operated company, located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, began manufacturing van campers 27 years ago and has grown to be the second largest Class B motorhome manufacturer in North America.
The Era model from Winnebago Industries, Inc., has been recognized by Statistical Surveys Inc., a retail reporting service in Grand Rapids, Mich., as the No. 1 Class B motorhome model in North America with the largest volume growth in retail registrations during calendar 2012.
In the December report from Statistical Surveys, the Era model was listed as the top-selling Class B model for 2012, with market share of 16% compared to 7.6% in 2011. Winnebago’s volume growth was 167% above retail registrations for 2011 compared to industry growth of 28%.
“We have worked hard to develop a great Class B product, and the Era model growth reflects the product development successes we have had to date,” said Scott Degnan, Winnebago vice president of sales and product management. “Despite our success, we are not content to rest on our laurels. We are preparing to launch an exciting new product segment into Winnebago Industries’ Class B lineup at our upcoming Dealer Days event scheduled for April 29-31 in Las Vegas.”
He added, “We will continue to look for innovative changes that will enhance our products and anticipate even more excitement as we go forward. We congratulate our loyal employees for their dedicated service and our great dealer partners for making the Era a huge success in the Class B arena.”
Kitchener, Ontario-based Class B builder Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. reported strong fourth quarter and year-end results, according to a press release.
“We are pleased with the strength of our revenue growth and profitability as we finished the year with strong operating performance,”said President Jim Hammill. “Roadtrek’s position in the improving RV market is the best it has been in five years. Our improved financial condition and flexibility has allowed us to focus engineering resources on product development, broaden our supply chain and sign new dealers in strategic locations.”
Hammill said that Roadtrek’s dealers also experienced a good year “with average sales per dealer up and significant gross profit improvements.”
Andy Weller, an operating principal at Industrial Opportunity Partners (IOP), Roadtrek’s majority shareholder, noted, “I am very happy with the accomplishments that were made in 2012 in product introductions, product improvements and quality. We focused on the customer and the changing marketplace and are very bullish on our brand’s position in the market as we look forward to 2013.”
Roadtrek recently introduced the new E-trek Class B on a Sprinter chassis, an environmentally responsible motorhome with solar, engine co-generation, fuel cell, and lithium battery options.
“The E-trek leads the way in the RV and van marketplace, focusing on addressing the environmental issues people have with motorhomes,” said Hammill. “Class B motorhomes are the most environmentally responsible motorhomes already and the E-trek takes it to the next level. With IOP’s confidence and support we will continue to lead the marketplace in engineering and manufacturing the best products in our market.”
New Great West Vans owner David DeBraga recently relocated from St. Andrews, Manitoba, to nearby Winnipeg after he bought the company in April from Martin H. Guertz, who was retiring.
It was a natural move because DeBraga owned another company that built running boards, doors and other fiberglass components for the transportation industry.
”Great West was one of our customers,” DeBraga said, sitting inside an elegant redesigned Legend SE Class B motorhome at the Louisville Show. ”The previous owner wanted to retire so we decided to buy the company and move it to Winnipeg.”
Great West now is housed in the same factory as DeBraga’s other company — Sterling Group — while continuing to build Class B motorhomes on the 11,500-pound GVWR Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis powered by a high-mileage 188-hp diesel engine.
The New Great West camper van lineup — Legend, Legend SE and Legend EX — all have new exterior ground effects and redesigned interiors. ”We had an interior designer come in and go through all our color schemes,” Debraga said. ”We plan to keep technology and quality really high.”
Features in the 22-foot 9-inch Legend and upgraded Legend SE include solid wood cabinets, side screen doors, recessed LED lighting, Avonite countertops, laminate ”hardwood” floors and rear under-bed storage.
The Legend EX is built on a 24-foot 6-inch extended Sprinter chassis and offers additional seating options along with a hydronic heating and hot water system and an 85-watt solar panel. Base MSRPs run from $1165,000 for a Legend to $133,00 for a Legend EX.
A runner-up for RVBusiness magazine’s ”Best of Show” during the recent Louisville Show, the new 22-foot Pursuit B-plus style Class C motorhome from Pleasure-way Industries Ltd., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the company’s first offering outside the camper van market. ”This is a new venture,” said Vice President Dean Rumple. ”It’s a big thing for us.” Initially offered with two floorplans — one with a cabover entertainment center, the other with a trundle bed arrangement — the Pursuit is built on a 12,500-pound Ford E-350 cutaway chassis powered by a 305-hp 6.8L V10 engine. Amenities include a stylish modern interior featuring Corian countertops and standup showers, LED lighting, ultraleather furniture, rear U-shaped lounge and maple cabinet doors. The Pursuit is built with molded one-piece fiberglass front and rear caps, fiberglass sidewalls bonded to a steel superstructure with a multiplex control system. The coach is also equipped with the RV|ID ”Smart RV” system featuring a web portal for each motorhome that can monitor inventory, service needs and even the location of the coach as it travels the country. ”Kids can log into their own portal and watch mom and dad tool around the country,” Rumple said.
Jackson Center Ohio-based Airstream Inc. announced that its Interstate Class B motorhome model will be available in Canada beginning in the spring 2013. The Airstream Interstate, built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, claimed the spot of No. 1 selling B-van model in the U.S. for 2011 and through September 2012 according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
The Interstate boasts over 50 best-in-class features that distinguish it in the marketplace, according to a press release. As a result, the Interstate has experienced tremendous growth in the US market, commanding 17% market share through the first nine months of 2012. Interstate sales are up 72% year-over-year in the United States, leading Airstream to discuss opportunities for expansion in Canada.
“The Interstate offers a unique blend of luxury, design and performance that we are confident will do well in the Canadian marketplace,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “We see tremendous possibility in this region and look forward to a very active spring, when our Canadian customers can hit the open road in the Interstate for the first time.”
Airstream plans to meet with potential Canadian dealers at the 50th annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 27-29. At the show, the company will also debut a new nine-seat option for the Interstate, at the request of many dealers.
“As a result of our success in the United States, we have had several inquiries from both dealer and retail customers from Canada,” said Airstream General Manager Tim Garner. “We believe the combination of best in class product with progressive dealer programs will drive similar success in Canada and we look forward to discussing these opportunities with Canadian dealers in Louisville.”
For more information and dealership locations in Canada visit www.airstream.com .
Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. will receive the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Quality Circle Award for 2012 during a ceremony on Nov. 26, just prior to the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, Pleasure-Way received marks well above the 80% qualifying percentage and was rated the top motorized manufacturer in North America for a third consecutive year in the 19th Annual Dealer Satisfaction Index Survey, administered by RVDA.
“We sincerely appreciate all the effort our dealer partners put forth,” said Dean Rumpel, CEO of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Pleasure-Way. “We take care to find and maintain an excellent dealer network. We believe this prestigious award speaks volumes for us as a company. It is especially gratifying to be recognized as top manufacturer in the industry. We are proud to be regarded so highly in our field. This award reinforces our core company values of hard work, superior quality, excellence in manufacturing and top-notch customer service.”
He added, “Without the commitment of our valuable and skilled employees, who really are the cornerstone of our company, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals of producing only the highest quality motorhomes.”
Rumpel noted that the Pleasure-Way would be displaying a 22-foot model in its new Class C B-plus style Pursuit line at the Louisville Show.