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FREIGHTLINER CUSTOM CHASSIS CORPORATION LOOMS LARGE

Since 1995, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) has grown from a relatively small organization to a prominent leader in the recreational vehicle (RV) chassis industry.

Its corporate parent, Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA), purchased Oshkosh Corporation’s chassis division in June of 1995 and formed FCCC at that time.

Now trusted by some of the most respected names in the motor home, walk-in van and school/commercial bus industries, FCCC manufactures premium diesel-powered chassis for these markets. Ninety percent of all diesel walk-in van chassis sold today are made by FCCC, making it the world’s largest chassis manufacturer.  FCCC also represents more than one-half of the Class A diesel motor home chassis sales in the market.

In the RV/motor home category, most major manufacturers deal exclusively with FCCC for their diesel-powered rear-engine chassis, which come in four Cummins diesel engine-powered configurations.

Among the leading RV manufacturers, FCCC has exclusive arrangements with Coachmen, Fleetwood, Forest River, Four Winds, Gulf Stream, Triple E and Winnebago. FCCC also builds chassis for Entegra, Newmar and Tiffin, among others.

The rear-engine chassis configurations include four Cummins engine  models: ISB, ISC, ISL and ISM. The chassis are available with full air brakes, as well as drum and/or disc brakes. They are sold with rear or side radiators, as well as with or without a tag axle. Currently, they are available as straight-rail, raised-rail and lowered-rail chassis and, in July 2008, they reintroduced a modular rail configuration which is only the front and rear “clips” of the chassis.

FCCC also offers its FRont Engine Deisel chassis (FRED), which is available in 300 or 340 horsepower Cummins ISB engines. The rear-engine chassis models range from 300 to 500 hp. A standard feature is 55-degree front-wheel cut, with exception of the independent front suspension model that offers a 60-degree wheel cut, the highest in the industry.

Last year, FCCC introduced the ecoFRED chassis, the industry’s first hybrid-electric motorhome chassis.  EcoFRED offers increased fuel economy, brake life and performance due to instantaneous torque.

With its front-engine and rear-engine diesel chassis combined, FCCC controls 52 percent of the Class A motor home market, a far cry from its beginning market share of approximately 20 percent in its infancy.

But look at it this way, explained Anthony Sippel, RV Product Manager for Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation. “Prior to 2007, gas always outpaced diesel in RV sales, but beginning in ’07, diesel took the lead over gas largely because of the variety of chassis designs available,” Sippel said. “So, in 12 years, we’ve gone from a minority player with about 20 percent of a market that was about 70 percent gas-powered RVs at the time, to 52 percent of a market share that now represents more than 50 percent of the RV motor homes.”

A key reason for FCCC’s amazing growth lies in its exceptional ride and handling characteristics, tight turning radius and dependable diesel engines that last longer and require less maintenance than gasoline engines.

Another key to Gaffney, S.C.-based FCCC’s success is its support network for the RV consumer.  FCCC offers the largest dealer service network of any chassis manufacturer with more than 400 authorized service centers throughout North America, many of which are RV dealers who are located in remote areas where customer service is not available from a Freightliner dealer.

Moreover, at present there are 88 Freightliner Oasis Dealers. These are dealers who embrace the RV lifestyle and have made sizable capital investments, including designated service bays, waiting areas and dog-walk locations, and in some instances, power and water hookups. These dealers have completed FCCC service training schools and passed written tests to become part of the Freightliner Oasis Network, offering RV customers increased priority and knowledge when it comes to service.

Freightliner Chassis Owners Club (FCOC) is a 5,000-plus-member chapter of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA). The FCOC is the largest and a very active chapter of the FMCA.

Additionally, an increasingly popular attraction for RV owners is FCCC’s “Camp Freightliner,” a two-day, bi-monthly session offered at its training facility in Gaffney, S.C.  Once a year or so, Camp Freightliner is conducted on the West Coast as well.

For a small fee, RV owners can register for the ‘Camp’ and receive a customized three-ring binder for their RV, detailing all of their specific schematics as well as the various nuances of RV ownership and maintenance. The ‘Camp’ also features a dinner with key Freightliner employees and executives and a question/answer session, as well as a training session in a classroom-like setting to discuss any questions they have about the chassis.

For further information about the Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, please visit www.freightlinerchassis.com or call 1-800-545-8831.

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