Spartan Chassis Inc. exhibited two concept chassis at the recently completed National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky, that unwrap a growing trend in motorhomes: American RV buyers are starting to think smaller is better.
According to Torque News, this is because motorhome manufacturers have been aggressively seeking ways to improve their wheels that can drive demand. Current owners are looking to downsize their RVs and prospective buyers are interested in purchasing entry-level units.
“There are several key factors that are driving change in both the Class A and Class C motorhome markets,” said Dave Snitgen, vice president of recreational and specialty chassis at Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Chassis, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors Inc. “Given the various forces at work within our economy, such as higher fuel prices, a trend has emerged towards downsizing by both first-time and repeat buyers. Spartan Chassis has created two chassis concepts that we are confident will define the future design direction of the marketplace.”
Both concepts, a 32-foot Class A chassis and a 25-foot Class C chassis, capture key design features such as flexibility and adaptability, a Spartan spokesman said.
32-foot Concept Chassis
Torque News reported that a 2010 study by Harris Interactive indicates strong interest in smaller and more fuel-efficient RVs. To target this growth within the Class A segment, Spartan developed a 32-foot concept truck that is a lightweight, maneuverable mid-size, diesel-pusher chassis. The concept features improved fuel efficiency and a smaller carbon footprint, as well as the traditional benefits of a rear diesel engine chassis such as low engine noise, increased power options, and carrying capacity, according to a statement from Spartan.
Additional features include a Navistar MaxxForce 7 turbo-diesel engine, Allison 1000MH electronic transmission, Cummins Onan 6k generator, 22,000-pound GVWR, high-strength, low-alloy steel construction with 50,000 psi minimum yield, hydraulic disc brakes and a polymer diesel fuel tank.
25-foot Concept Chassis
With more than 40 million disabled adults living in the United States and a growing baby boomer generation, there is a need for a purpose-built, low-floor platform design that offers ease of entry and exit with the option of including an ADA-compliant ramp.
The concept incorporates front and rear self-leveling air suspensions with 4-corner kneeling. The kneeling feature, available at the touch of a single switch, reduces entry step height to a level never before seen on an RV. This concept chassis provides manufacturers with the opportunity to expand their business to include RVs for customers with mobility and health concerns.
Additional features include a Chevrolet G4500 gas and diesel chassis, air-ride suspension with sway bars (front and rear), electronic control kneeling (front and rear), a premium air dryer system with spin-on eco-friendly filtration and a three-year/50,000 mile limited chassis warranty.
“Since 1985, Spartan Chassis has developed significant technological innovations that have changed the RV industry,” said John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Spartan. “We continue that history of innovation with the presentation of our vision of chassis design. We are excited.”
Spartan Chassis Inc., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors Inc., will debut two new chassis concepts to the recreational vehicle market at the upcoming 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
According to a press release, the innovative design concepts – a 32-foot Class A chassis and a 25-foot Class C platform – are expected to appeal to manufacturers targeting current owners looking to downsize their RV and prospective buyers interested in purchasing entry-level units.
“Manufacturers are finding opportunities within the marketplace for growth through the introduction of smaller, light-weight, fuel-efficient recreational vehicles,” said Dave Snitgen, vice president of recreational and specialty chassis at Spartan Chassis. “Spartan Chassis is embracing this change and is focused on creating new product options that dovetail with evolving market and customer needs.”
A 2010 study by Harris Interactive indicates strong interest in smaller and more fuel efficient RVs. In an effort to target this growth within the Class A segment, Spartan Chassis developed the 32-foot concept, which is a lightweight, maneuverable mid-size, diesel-pusher chassis. The concept features improved fuel efficiency and a smaller carbon footprint, as well as the traditional benefits of a rear diesel engine chassis such as low engine noise, increased power options and carrying capacity. Additional features include:
• Navistar MaxxForce 7 turbo-diesel engine.
• Allison 1000MH electronic transmission.
• Cummins Onan 6k generator.
• 22,000 lb. GVWR.
• High-strength, low-alloy steel construction: 50,000 psi minimum yield.
• Hydraulic disc brakes.
• Polymer diesel fuel tank.
According to Spartan, the 25-foot concept chassis addresses the more than 40 million disabled adults living in the United States and a growing Baby Boomer generation. “There is a need in the marketplace for a purpose-built, low-floor platform design that offers ease of entry and egress with the option of including an ADA compliant ramp,” the release stated. Features include:
• Chevy G4500, gas and diesel chassis.
• Air-ride suspension with sway bars (front and rear).
• Electronic control kneeling (front and rear).
• Available in multiple lengths (24, 26, and 28 feet).
• High-strength, low-alloy steel construction: 50,000 psi minimum yield.
• Powder-coated frame for extended life and corrosion resistance. • Premium air dryer system with spin-on eco-friendly filtration.
• 3 year/50,000 mile limited chassis warranty.
The Recreation Vehicle Education Safety Foundation (RVSEF) will take on an expanded role educating consumers about RVs and the RV lifestyle during a Sept. 13-16 clinc prior to the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey, Pa.
“The number of RVers attending rallies is down, but the percentage of people attending our weighing and driving seminars actually is up,” said Walter Cannon, executive director of the Merrit Island, Fla.-based RVSEF.
Seminars will be presented by Workhorse Custom Chassis Inc., Spartan Chassis Inc., Freightliner Custom Chassis Inc., Cummins Inc.’s Onan generator division and Gary Motley of Motley RV Repair, Oklahoma City, Okla., in addition to the Geeks on Tour, who will teach Internet-related subjects, Nick Russell, publisher of Gypsy Journal, an RV lifestyle magazine, and Mac McCoy, who will instruct on fire and personal safety.
Cannon’s foundation has a full-time team on the road attending about 40 rallies a year sponsoring safety seminars focused on weighing loaded RVs and providing weight-safety instruction. RVSEF — the successor organization to “A’Weigh We Go” founded by John Anderson in Chucky, Tenn. — weighed about 1,500 motorhomes and towable RVs last year.
“We are seeing a decrease in the number of RVers who are overloading their tires,” Cannon said. “The tire manufacturers … have convinced RV manufacturers to install tires for how RVers are using their coaches.”
E-mails promoting the Pennsylvania clinic have gone out to potential RVers visiting the Go RVing Coalition’s gorving.com website, with another round of e-mail and postal mail followups planned early this summer.
The RVSEF clinic at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg (Pa.) Community College, in a manner of speaking, will fill a vacancy left by the poplar Life On Wheels program, which shut its doors in October following the death of founder Gaylord Maxwell. Maxwell sponsored his last Life on Wheels conference the week before the 2008 Hershey Show.
Dry camping for 100 rigs will be available at the college, and those attending for $249 for the first person and $199 for the second also will receive a three-day pass to the Hershey Show Sept. 16-20. Retail days are Sept. 14-15.
“The general need for a program like this is two-pronged,” Cannon said. “For the new owners, it enables them to understand their RV and the RV lifestyle so that they can get the most enjoyment out of their RV dollar.
“The second thing is that 30% of the attendees at Life on Wheels were non-RV owners. They were educating themselves about RVs before committing themselves to the expense. And about 90% of them purchased an RV during the next six months. It wasn’t a dealer or manufacturer talking to them, and they left Gaylord’s clinics feeling that they had the tools to make a decision about how to spend their money wisely.”