American Coach, the luxury coach division of Fleetwood RV Inc., rolled out new innovations and updates to its 2012 American Revolution, American Tradition, American Eagle and American Heritage Class A motorhomes during the 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
“We have expanded the reach for American Coach with a shorter floorplan for the Revolution, and additional new features and upgrades for our entire American Coach line-up,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV, in a press release.
New models include:
• The new 2012 American Heritage 45T bath-and-a-half model boasts an industry-leading 460 square feet of interior living space. The master suite offers a spa shower with hand-laid river rock flooring, dual solid surface sinks and a walk-in wardrobe that doubles as a changing and laundry room. Fleetwood is touting the American Heritage as an iPad controlled coach, featuring a touch-screen tablet that can control lights, fans, audio/video components and the water-pump.
• The updated 2012 American Eagle 45B model is a triple-slide floorplan with 30-inch deep sliderooms for expanded living space. The master bathroom features an elegantly designed vanity with dual solid-surface sinks and increased storage. The American Eagle is available in several wood and décor choices.
• The 2012 American Tradition 42M is equipped with a 42-foot full-wall slideout, state-of-the–art cockpit with dual dash monitor design, handcrafted hardwood cabinetry, name brand appliances and new polished porcelain tile floors with decorative tile inlays.
• The American Revolution 38S model is the shortest motorhome currently available in the American Coach series. The full-wall slide, bath-and-a-half floorplan is spacious with casual entertainment seating for up to 12 people. Features include a pop-up 46′-inch Sony LCD TV that rises out of the deluxe dinette credenza, which offers a user-friendly hide-away laptop station. The interior finishes have also been updated across all décor package options to include new glass and stone tile backsplashes, grooved mirror wall art, wainscot accent molding, bedroom headboard and high-gloss polished porcelain tile floors with glass and stone decorative inserts.
Newmar Corp. announced today (Nov. 21) that it will show the RV industry’s first use of Sony 3D television technology at the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, the televisions will be shown in the 2012 Essex Class A diesel motorhome at the event, and will also be available on Newmar’s 2012 King Aire diesel pusher.
“Newmar’s introduction of Sony 3D technology in its luxury motorhome lines is just another RV industry first brought to market by our company,” said Kyle McCrary, Newmar’s director of luxury motorhome sales. “Thanks to the Miller family and the resources they provide, our company has a legacy of being an innovator in the RV industry. Newmar will remain committed to innovation when the opportunity presents itself.”
In a partnership between Sony and Newmar, visitors to the Newmar display will be able to experience the Sony 3D TV first hand, as well as have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a chance to win a Sony 3D television prize package.
For more information about Newmar products, visit www.newmarcorp.com
Today’s video comes from WFAA TV’s “Good Morning Dallas” talking with Race Harrell of Vogt RV Centers during a tour of an Allegro Bus motorhome from Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. The segment ran during the Southwest RV Supershow at the Dallas Market Hall.
Luxury motor coach manufacturer Liberty Coach Inc. announced the introduction of its first Volvo-equipped motorhome, the Elegant Lady 2012. After taking the new motor coach on a long weekend test drive to the Florida Keys from the company’s Stuart showroom and service center, Liberty Coach Vice President Frank Konigseder felt “very pleased” with its performance.
With a 2011 Ford Explorer in tow, Konigseder took the 600-mile trip on Florida’s major highways and rural routes. Although the route was without any steep grades, there were sections that required passing at highway speeds. Konigseder was impressed by the pulling power of the 2012 motor coach, powered by the Volvo engine, as well as the improved fuel efficiency. He also reported that cruising was much quieter at high speeds, and, in fact, the engine didn’t need to work quite as hard to achieve a speed of 70 mph.
The only drawback to the Volvo-equipped coach, if any, according to Konigseder, is that there is a loss of space in the rear interior because of new 2010 EPA guidelines requiring exhaust systems and diesel fuel to be maintained in a more environmentally sensitive manner
“We are striving to be a greener world,” Konigseder said, “and as long as we can maintain or increase the performance of the finished product, I can live with the minor inconveniences associated with it.”
Liberty Coach operates a showroom and service center in Stuart and a manufacturing facility with service center in North Chicago, Ill. For more information or to see the new models go to Liberty Coach’s new web site at www.libertycoach.com, or call 1 (800) 554-9877.
Click here to read a complete review of Liberty’s Volvo-equipped motor coach.
In keeping with its customer service focus, luxury motor coach manufacturer Liberty Coach has launched a new website that provides a number of useful tools to the RV consumer.
The site, www.libertycoach.com, offers a calendar of industry specific events including boat shows, air shows, Liberty Coach hosted rallies and a traveler’s guide with contact information and links to RV resorts around the country.
In addition, the site includes detailed descriptions of current inventory, a blog (Liberty Life) with personal insights from co-owner Frank Konigseder, news room touting high-tech and energy-efficient products and an interesting account of how Liberty Coach got its start back in 1968 when it converted a retired Greyhound bus.
Developed by MA Interactive LLC, the user-friendly site was went live July 22.
Family owned and operated for more than 40 years, Liberty Coach creates motorhomes that rival any luxury home. Coaches are equipped with high-tech on-board electronics, custom cabinetry, marble and granite finishes, modern conveniences and other luxury appointments, all backed by customer support.
Liberty Coach operates a showroom and service center in Stuart, Fla., and a manufacturing facility with service center in North Chicago, Ill.
The following is an overview of Miami, Okla.-based high-end motorhome builder Newell Coach Corp. authored by John Phillips of Car and Driver.
Makes sense that the world’s fanciest motorhomes would be constructed in Miami, right? Miami it is, only this Miami is in Oklahoma, where, as Keke Rosberg once observed, “the beaches are not so good.” Still, celebrities and pro drivers flock here in scores, dropping $50 million annually at the 120,000-square-foot Newell Coach factory, founded in 1967 by L.K. Newell.
The plant abuts a statue of the region’s most famous son, Mickey Charles Mantle. “A great teammate,” the inscription reads. If the Mick had kept every dime he was paid to swing bats professionally for his 18-year career, he’d have possessed $1,123,000. Today, the cheapest Newell fetches $1,355,000.
The company produces 24 coaches annually—20 for customers, four as demonstrators. The average transaction price is $1.6 million, but a heavily optioned version—such as Roger Penske’s—can easily bang hard against $2 mil. Each 45-foot-long Newell requires six months to construct, assembled by 165 workers who fabricate nearly everything in-house, save the engines and transmissions.
In the preceding 44 years, Newell has built 1341 coaches, no two identical. “One thousand are certainly still on the road,” says company president Karl Blade, who has subscribed to C/D for 55 years. “I can’t prove this,” he adds, “but I think a Newell coach represents the lowest-unit-production, road-legal vehicle in the world.” Maybe, maybe not. What we do know is that every 12 inches of an average Newell costs more than a Nissan 370Z.
Newell owners have won 27 Indianapolis 500s—more than a quarter of all such races run. That’s a lot of spilled milk. Random owners whose surnames you’ll recognize: Penske, Kenseth, Johnson, Ganassi, Speed, Waltrip (two of them), Rutherford, Spencer, Unser (three of them), Rahal, Montoya, Villeneuve, Button, Barrichello, Andretti, Scheckter, Franchitti, Tracy, Earnhardt (two of them). And lots more.
A Newell was even ordered by Dodi Fayed, who hoped to drive it to North American movie sets, but then he and the princess came a cropper in Paris. Blade thus shipped Fayed’s coach, left-hand drive and all, to London, where it presumably still collects British dust in Harrods’ fleet.
One Newell customer owns a pet cheetah. “When he shows up to have his rig serviced, he often walks the thing,” says Blade. “So I call the neighbors and say, ‘Now’d be a good time to bring in your dog.’ ” Click here to view the entire article.
Newell Coach Corp., a luxury motorhome builder based in Miami, Okla., recently announced that its new StabilRide active-suspension system is available on Newell motorcoaches to be delivered beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
According to a press release, StabilRide dramatically improves coach handling, stability, and ride quality to levels previously unattainable in a vehicle the size and weight of a Newell.
“StabilRide is a key reason ‘Car and Driver’ magazine (July 2012) recently said the ride in a Newell ‘approaches Lexus-like perfection,’” said Newell President Karl Blade.
Newell said that StabilRide is a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled active-suspension system that automatically adjusts the suspension firmness or softness at each of the six wheel positions every ten milliseconds.
When a soft suspension setting is required to absorb a road irregularity, the selected suspension damper or dampers adjust accordingly. When a firm setting is needed to control excessive vehicle movement, such as immediately following a bump or to keep the coach level when entering a turn or executing a quick lane change, the suspension adjusts to optimal firm settings.
The adjustments all happen automatically and almost instantaneously. The company said that they are also unnoticeable, except that the coach rides more comfortably, has much less “lean” in corners, and “porposing” action following dips in the road is eliminated. Excessive body movements are also eliminated.
Newell developed StabilRide in partnership with ZF, a world-leading motor vehicle component engineering and manufacturing company. Active suspension has been introduced on selected premium and high-performance passenger cars over the last two decades and has become increasingly popular on these vehicles. However, Newell is the only motorcoach manufactured in North American to feature an active- suspension system.
After months of development and preliminary testing by ZF engineers and professional test drivers, Newell and ZF conducted final testing of the Newell StabilRide system at ZF’s facility in Northville, Michigan, in late April.
Much of the testing was conducted on challenging, two-lane rural highways that have significant dips and side-to-side unevenness. With the conventional passive suspension installed on the test coach, maintaining a speed of 40 m.p.h. was uncomfortable, requiring two hands on the steering wheel and constant driver corrections.
After StabilRide was installed on the vehicle, the same roads could be driven comfortably and easily at 50 m.p.h. with one hand on the wheel. Although driving one handed is not recommended, this experience confirmed that StabilRide results in a ride and handling that are far superior to that of a conventional, passive-suspension system.
“With the combination of StabilRide and Newell’s standard, EasiSteer enhanced power steering,” said Blade, “a Newell coach now delivers a superlative ride, stable handling, and driving ease that other coaches of its type simply can’t match.”
For more information about Newell StabilRide, call Boyd Vanover at 1-888-3NEWELL (1-888-363-9355).
The following article appears in the Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money, examining an aging baby boomer demographic that is gravitating toward high-end, fully-loaded motorhomes.
The generation that grew up with “On the Road” is hitting the highway once again. Only this time, they’re leaving the bedroll and taking their granite countertops, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money
The second home is out. The winter home is for the birds. Baby boomers and retirees are instead turning to luxury RVs – the behemoth land cruisers that promise the allure of travel without the indignity of airport security, plus all the comforts of home. Retail sales of Class A gas motor homes, generally considered one of the choicest types on the market, grew 7% in 2010, according to research firm Robert W. Baird & Co. – while sales for motor homes overall grew just under 3%. These homes-on-wheels have always been popular with the 50-and-older set – the median age of a motor home owner is 54, according to Kevin Broom, a spokesperson for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association — and as this age group grows it’s enthusiasm for the motor home is driving the current surge in RV sales, experts say. The simple reason: “High-end RVs are expensive, and it’s often this age group that can afford them,” says Rob Tischler, CEO of AllStar Coaches, a luxury RV rental dealer.
Following in the footsteps of the McMansion, RVs are now getting increasingly fancy. Buyers have gotten used to stainless steel appliances, flat-screen TVs and hardwood floors in their primary residence; now they want them in their mobile homes, too. “Luxury is more in demand,” says Broom. And as the economy picks up, consumers are getting more comfortable spending on high-end goods, notes Brad Schaefer, an analyst at Sageworks, a trend that extends from companies like Tiffanys and Porsche, both of which saw double-digit sales gains last year, to the luxury RV market. Click here to read the entire article and view a slide show of five high-end motorhomes.
Along with the rest of the American economy, the niche occupied by Newell Coach Corp.’s high-end motorhomes is emerging from the economic maelstrom that has enveloped the RV industry the last two years.
And it’s emerging as an even narrower slice of the U.S. economy than it was prior to the Great Recession.
“The high-end market definitely is coming back,” said Newell President Karl Blade. “We have a relatively healthy order bank coming out of the debacle that has been this economy.
“Interestingly, from what we’ve seen, the biggest change in recent months has been our late-model pre-owned (coach buyers) filling the void left by others (manufacturers) that have exited the market,” said Blade.
A legendary brand in the motorhome business, Newell was founded in 1967 by L.K. Newell who purchased the motorhome division of California-based Streamline Trailer Co. and moved it to Oklahoma. Blade purchased the company in 1979.
“Mr. Newell’s innovation at the time was radical,” Blade said. “We take it for granted now, but he built the first rear-engine motorhome in 1969 and the first diesel-powered motorhome in 1970. He also designed the first basement storage. It took years for the rest of the industry to adopt those things.”
Newell coaches, whicht sell for more than $1.4 million, are retailed factory-direct from the company’s headquarters in Miami, Okla., where Newell also has an extensive service facility.
Although the company offers floorplans in 38- to 45-foot lengths, the vast majority of customers want 45-footers. “The price savings aren’t significant if you build a smaller coach,” Blade said. “And people won’t buy small stuff unless they can save a lot of money.”
Selling expensive motorcoaches requires a personal approach to marketing and that’s among the reasons Blade spends the winter at Motorcoach Country Club in Indio, Calif.
“I spend three months every winter in Indio to show the product and cultivate relationships with our existing customer base,” Blade said.
With dealer inventories of other high-end motorhomes limited by the current economic situation, Newell is seeing new customers who previously might not have considered buying a coach factory-direct.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
- Company: Newell Coach Corp.
- Location: Miami, Okla.
- Founded: 1967
- Products: Luxury Class A motorhomes
- Key personnel: Karl Blade, president; Boyd Vanover, vice president of engineering; Scott Lawson, vice president of manufacturing; John Clark, vice president of service
- Facilities: 150,00-square-foot factory in Miami, including a 40,000-square-foot service department manned by 20 technicians.
- Employees: 150
“Too often, prospects would go to their nearest local dealer and look at a new high-end Class A and that’s what they’d buy,” Blade said. “We never saw them. Today you don’t see many new or used high-end Class A’s on dealers’ lots in California. It’s (the economy) expanding the market dramatically for us.”
Newell, in turn, has become popular among motorsports participants. “The motorsports people understand the premium nature of the components in Newell coaches and appreciate it,” Blade said. “The first Newell motorhome that we sold into the motorsports area was to (Indy 500 driver) Al Unser Sr. Al Unser Jr. came along a few years later and, in 1984, Roger Penske bought one. That started a trend in IndyCar and NASCAR.”
Sales of pre-owned coaches are an important part of Newell’s business, according to Blade.
Typically, Newell will take a two- or three-year-old coach in trade and refurbish it before resale. “It’s very similar to the way we sell a new coach,” Blade said. “It’s not custom, but we’ll make modifications, depending on financial factors. We might add closets or entertainment centers or pull a desk out and change it to a sofa. It’s limited by the fact that if you get very deep into it, it gets expensive.”
Blade said that in-house service that Newell provides at its headquarters “is key to this business.”
“We pioneered having a 24/7 service telephone number,” Blade said. “We can handle most emergencies on the phone, and if we can’t fix it, we can usually design a work-around. Our average response time from when the tech gets paged and gets back to the customer is 20 minutes. In a product of this price range and this complexity, a direct relationship with the customer makes for a much better experience.”
Custom-built Newell motorcoaches retail for upward of $1.4 million in 38- to 45-foot floorplans built on the company’s own 63,300-pound GVWR “bridge-truss” diesel pusher chassis powered by 650-hp Cummins ISX engines.
Modifications to the 2011 welded-steel-and-aluminum Newell motorcoaches are the first since the 2006 model year. They include upgraded front caps with bright-white “string-of-pearl” LED running lights that outline the outer edges of the headlights plus rear-body trim and redesigned side moldings. Interiors feature wood windowsill trim bordered with seamed leather, carbon-fiber instrument panels and automated air conditioning and heating.
Interiors sport high-pressure laminate cabinet finishes, European-style concealed hinges, deluxe drawer glides, positive drawer latches with flush drawer fronts, pull-out pantries in most floorplans, rectangular integrated kitchen sinks, California king side-island beds and Villa convertible sofas and reclining chairs.