Dodge And Airstream Debut Sprinter Westfalia RV
Dodge, a DaimlerChrysler company, and Airstream, a division of Thor Industries, C847, have entered into an exclusive distribution agreement to market the new Dodge Sprinter Westfalia type B motorhome. The Westfalia, which is built using the Dodge Sprinter van, offers the outdoor enthusiast increased benefits in terms of comfort, convenience, safety, functionality, and quality. Branded as Dodge and outfitted by Westfalia, it will be sold by Airstream.
This vehicle features a high roof, making it the only U.S. Sprinter that provides living and sleeping capacity for up to four people. It is equipped with a full kitchen that has a refrigerator, stove-top burners, and a foldout dining table that seats five. The bathroom is complete with a shower, sink, and toilet.
“We’re very excited to be able to introduce the Dodge Sprinter Westfalia to the North American marketplace,” said Craig Fisher, director of commercial marketing for Dodge. “Combining the best elements of both commercial and recreational vehicles, we believe this vehicle will set a new standard and raise the measure for camper-van products.”
The vehicle is equipped with an Airtronic fuel-powered auxiliary heating system; an LP-gas water heater; a 14-volt/200-amp alternator; two auxiliary 80-amp-hour batteries; an outside shower connection; and a built-in, lockable safe. Its central control and monitoring panel manages the heating system, refrigerator, water tank levels, and battery capacity. The unit has a 26-gallon fresh water tank, a 7-gallon black water tank, and an 18.5-gallon gray water tank.
In addition to its large removable dining table and a side folding table, the Sprinter Westfalia holds two double beds: one below and one above with high-comfort springs and a safety net.
The Sprinter Westfalia has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,550 pounds and a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 13,500 pounds. It is powered by an economical 5-cylinder in-line 2.7-liter turbo diesel engine with a five-speed automatic transmission. With a vehicle range of approximately 550 miles, fuel economy is said to average 22 miles per gallon.
Depending on options, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $79,000, not including tax and license and destination charges.
Coachmen Industries Taps Matthew Shafer As New President, COO
Coachmen Industries, based in Middlebury, Indiana, has named Matthew J. Shafer as president and chief operating officer of the company. Mr. Shafer worked the previous 19 years at General Electric Company in various executive-level positions. He will oversee all of Coachmen Industries’ businesses, including its recreation vehicle and modular construction manufacturing divisions.
“Matt has an outstanding track record of managing manufacturing and financial service businesses to achieve the highest levels of operational efficiency, and his expertise and understanding of manufacturing processes will benefit both segments of our business,” said Claire C. Skinner, company chairman and chief officer.
New Book Guides Readers Along Lewis & Clark Trail
As people across the United States commemorate the bicentennial of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s westward expedition during the next three years, Fodor’s has published a new book to help travelers and history buffs experience the journey themselves.
The Lewis & Clark Trail ($17.95) provides readers with information they can use to plan a trip along the famous trail that the explorers took from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific Ocean. The guide covers both the historical era and the geographic regions through which Lewis and Clark traveled during their two-and-a-half-year, 8,000-mile expedition.
Included in the book, which is part of Fodor’s “Travel Historic America” series, is in-depth coverage of historic sites, attractions, and events to help make the trip an authentic experience. The book also includes driving tours of each of the 11 states the Corps of Discovery explored; listings of special events scheduled for the towns and cities along the trail; and information boxes that introduce colorful personalities, reveal fun facts, and provide intriguing trivia. Find out why President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition; read excerpts from the journals of Lewis and Clark; and discover how the leaders handled discipline, medical care, and encounters with American Indians.
The Lewis & Clark Trail can be purchased at major bookstores or through online booksellers.
Newmar Introduces New Motorhome
Newmar Corporation, C4363, based in Nappanee, Indiana, recently unveiled its newest diesel pusher motorhome, the Northern Star.
The Northern Star has been designed to provide a more open and airy living environment. Newmar did this by raising the roof 11 inches to provide more interior headroom (7 feet 5 inches), and including a slideout in which users can easily stand up. The windows also have been enlarged to let in more natural light.
Standard features include Ultraleather furniture; a surround-sound entertainment system with a VCR, a DVD player, and a subwoofer; power-lock arms on all slideouts; hardwood cabinets; a 14-cubic-foot Dometic Size Wise refrigerator with ice maker; a rearview monitor system; Corian countertops in the kitchen and bath; aluminum wheels; and a 7.5-kw Onan Quiet Diesel generator.
The 39-1/2-foot motorhome is built on a Freightliner XC chassis and powered by a Caterpillar C7 350-horsepower engine coupled with an Allison six-speed electronic transmission. The Northern Star currently is offered with three triple-slideout floor plan options and comes standard with Newmar’s Masterpiece Finish full-paint exterior.
For more information, call (574) 773-7791 or visit www.newmarcorp.com.
Good Will-Hinckley Offers Camping Spots
Good Will-Hinckley Homes for Boys and Girls, the birthplace of Family Motor Coach Association, recently has changed the location where motorhomers park to a more scenic site on its campus in Hinckley, Maine. The parking spots include electric and water hookups, but as of this time no dumping facilities are provided.
The Good-Will Hinckley campus includes miles of trails for hiking or skiing; the L.C. Bates Museum; and an open community for learning, relaxing, or visiting. Hinckley is north of Augusta on U.S. 201. There is no charge to stay in these spots, but donations are appreciated. To schedule a visit, contact Audrey Stott (207-238-4280; e-mail: email@example.com).
Reveals RVers’ Attitudes Heading Into Fall/Winter Seasons
The latest Campfire Canvass, a survey of RV owners conducted by Robert Hitlin Research Associates of Reston, Virginia, for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), indicates that RVers are not afraid of the cold, enjoy the flexibility RVing affords them, and believe they live more healthfully when traveling.
The survey showed that the arrival of lower temperatures will not cool off RV owners’ passion for travel. Results indicated that RVers anticipated traveling an average of 26 days this fall and winter, three more than the same period a year ago. They also planned to log approximately 1,600 miles, 100 more than they did last fall/winter. In all, 69 percent of all RV owners surveyed said they planned to travel more or the same amount.
Survey respondents cited desires to escape stress, enjoy nature, spend time with family, save money, and see America as key reasons for increasing their travel plans this fall/winter.
Nine out of 10 RV owners surveyed said that they have more control and flexibility when they travel in an RV.
Holiday travel also will be popular among RV owners. Nearly 30 percent planned to use their RV for travel and accommodations when visiting family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, and 19 percent during the Christmas/Hanukkah season.
The survey also found that nine out of 10 RV owners believe RV travel makes them feel healthier, because they can escape stress and rejuvenate (86 percent); they’re more physically active (73 percent); and are able to eat/cook healthier (47 percent) on trips.
Ninety-six percent of those surveyed said RVs enable their families to spend more quality time together.
Survey respondents averaged 50 years of age. Seventy-five percent said they planned to travel with their children or grandchildren this fall and winter.
RVIA is the national association that represents nearly 500 manufacturers and component suppliers producing approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.
Caterpillar To Supply Engines For Power Tech Gen Sets
Caterpillar Inc., C4743, has joined with Power Technology Southeast Inc., C4752, to develop a series of RV generators using Caterpillar diesel engines.
“We’ve had a strong and growing presence on the drivetrain end of the RV market for some time,” said Roger Watson-Smyth, regional sales manager for Caterpillar’s Industrial Power Systems. “But our presence in the gen set end of the business has been light. Now, with the company’s initiative to be a stronger player in the small engine segment, we have ideal products for the RV market.”
Power Tech will offer four models of its Ultimate Series with Caterpillar’s 3011C and 3013C engines. The gen sets will have power ranges from 7 kw to 12 kw.
“If you get an 8-kilowatt Power Tech generator, it produces 8 kilowatts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Christopher O’Keefe, director of sales for Power Technology. “We size the generator and the engine to provide that kind of performance. Caterpillar’s 3011C and 3013C engines are up to the task, with power to spare.”
Other reasons cited for Power Tech’s decision to use Caterpillar engines in the new generators were low sound and vibration levels and the company’s level of service. “Customers know that if they have a problem anywhere in North America, they can get it taken care of without difficulty,” Mr. O’Keefe said.
New President, Vice President Appointed At Workhorse Custom Chassis
Workhorse Custom Chassis, C8291, a subsidiary of GVW Holdings, has appointed Dave Olsen as president. Mr. Olsen has been with GVW Holdings since 2001 when he was hired as president of GVW Parts, another subsidiary.
Prior to joining GVW, Mr. Olsen served as executive vice president at TransCom USA, a distributor of replacement parts and supplies for commercial trucks, trailers, and other heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. He also worked as general manager at Meritor Automotive, overseeing the company’s North American Aftermarket Division. He began his career with AlliedSignal, an aerospace, automotive, and engineered materials manufacturer that has since merged with Honeywell.
Workhorse also appointed Bob Wert as vice president of RV sales, marketing, and product planning. In this capacity Mr. Wert will oversee the Workhorse sales and marketing efforts for motorhome chassis, as well as product planning for both its motorhome and commercial truck chassis operations.
Mr. Wert spent the past 23 years in sales and marketing at Fleetwood Enterprises. He held positions as division director of sales, marketing, and product planning and as director of motorhome sales, Northwest United States. Most recently he was project manager at the Enterprise level, where he worked to improve internal and external business practices and helped redesign needed information technology.
Workhorse Custom Chassis is based in Highland Park, Illinois, with manufacturing facilities in Union City and Hagerstown, Indiana.
Spartan Debuts Two New Chassis At RVIA 2003
Spartan Motors Chassis, a division of Spartan Motors, C3322, announced the addition of two new diesel-pusher chassis at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, December 2 through 4, 2003. The new chassis are positioned at both ends of the diesel-pusher spectrum.
The Competitor, built using a Ford diesel driveline, is said to be the lowest-priced entry-level diesel chassis on the market, further narrowing the price gap between gas and diesel alternatives. The chassis utilizes Ford’s 325-horsepower, 6.0-liter diesel engine, which is the same power plant used on the Ford F-250 pickup.
“Working with a Ford drivetrain on this unique configuration has allowed us to develop a very competitively priced diesel-pusher chassis that’s designed to be high quality, high performing, and easy for OEMs to build on,” said Richard Schalter, president of Spartan Chassis. “The Competitor is our response to an industry shift toward low- to medium-end Class A motorhomes. As the motorhome OEMs have gotten better and more efficient at building motorhomes, there is a segment of buyers who are focused more on coach amenities and less on pure power. The Competitor fits the bill for these buyers.”
The Competitor has a 25,750-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The suspension features Detroit Steel’s Stabil-Ride, an integral stabilizer system featuring a softer spring design for a better ride without sacrificing handling performance.
The company expects to ship its first prototypes of the Competitor concept chassis to motorhome manufacturers in the second quarter of 2004, with production scheduled to begin later in the third quarter.
Spartan Chassis also premiered the new K3 chassis, a feature-packed diesel chassis that’s designed to offer the ultimate in RV comfort and performance.
“The buyers of high-end motorhomes are demanding more features and options from their RVs than ever before, which adds weight and extreme performance demands,” Mr. Schalter said. “At the same time, they expect the very best power, ride, and handling.”
An important feature of the K3 is the stronger frame structure. This chassis’ truss design is said to be the strongest in the industry, and will enable motorhome manufacturers to slide out either one or both sides of the vehicle if they desire, adding a considerable amount of square footage and living area. Spartan said it already has delivered prototypes of the K3 chassis to motorhome manufacturers, with production slated to begin during the second quarter of 2004.
The K3 features a rear-mounted Cummins ISX 525-horsepower engine mated to an Allison 4000MH six-speed transmission that provides 1,650 pound-feet of torque. In addition, the chassis’ reinforced, raised structural frame consists of a web of steel frame rails and substructural support beams. The Ridewell 34,000-pound rear suspension includes a 14,000-pound tag axle. The chassis has a towing capacity of up to 15,000 pounds.