Airstream, Creative Mobile Interiors Team Up On New A-Series Motorhome
Airstream, a division of Thor Industries, C847, based in Jackson Center, Ohio, tapped coach converter Creative Mobile Interiors, C9705, located in Grove City, Ohio, to help design and build the prototype interior used in Airstream’s new A-Series motorhomes.
The A-Series is designed to appeal to sophisticated motorhome enthusiasts. Its modern décor features clean lines; a restrained color scheme; and contemporary finishes such as leather, Ultrasuede, and highly polished Corian surfaces. The walls and cabinets are finished with pearwood veneer throughout, and ceramic tile covers the floors in the galley and bath area. One of the most striking features of the design is an oversized circular mirror in the rear bedroom that’s accented with stainless-steel trim.
The triple-slideout motorhome utilizes all-electric technology with a 12-kilowatt generator, a diesel-fired hot water system, an electric cooktop, a residential-size refrigerator, a washer-dryer combo, a dishwasher, and four 110-amp-hour gel-cell batteries. In both design and systems, A-Series motorhomes are built to compare to custom conversion motorhomes.
For more information about Airstream’s A-Series coaches, visit www.airstream.com or call (937) 596-6111. To find out more about the conversion services available from Creative Mobile Interiors, visit www.creativemobileinteriors.com or call (614) 539-4600.
Foretravel Announces New Model
Foretravel, Inc., C236, based in Nacogdoches, Texas, has announced the addition of the Phenix motorhome to its 2006 model lineup. According to the company, the Phenix will push the level of style, comfort, and performance to the highest level in the company’s 38-year history.
“We understand we’re in a niche market,” said Lyle Reed, Foretravel president. “We want to rewrite the handbook on motor coach quality and we plan to focus on ride, drivability, fit and finish, and value.”
The Phenix will have many features not offered in past models. It will include a taller interior ceiling height, more under-coach storage, and greater exterior height, while maintaining the owner’s ability to lower the airbags and fit the coach beneath a 12-foot-high doorway if needed. The motorhome will be powered by the new Cummins ISX 525-horsepower diesel engine mated to an Allison transmission. The Phenix will have an automatic roof-mounted awning with the ability to add up to three more patio awnings on both sides of the coach. The awnings will be mounted under cowlings on the front and rear caps, providing smooth airflow and an aesthetically pleasing profile. The coach also will feature striking exterior graphic designs with more stylish interiors and new colors.
For more information, contact Foretravel at (936) 564-8367, ext. 216, or visit www.foretravel.com.
National Public Lands Day Seeking Volunteers
On September 24, 2005, thousands of volunteers from throughout the United States will gather at federal, state, and local parks and preserves to build trails and bridges, plant trees, remove trash and invasive plants, and spruce up our public lands during the 12th annual National Public Lands Day. This once-a-year event is touted as the largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands that Americans enjoy.
The event, organized by the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation, enlisted nearly 90,000 volunteers last year to help fix up parks and forests, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and their own neighborhoods. For more information about National Public Lands Day or to find a participating work site near you, call (800) 865-8337 or visit www.publiclandsday.org.
Berkshire Hathaway To Acquire Forest River
Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a holding company that owns subsidiaries engaged in a number of diverse business activities, recently announced that it will acquire privately held RV manufacturer Forest River Inc., C7781, from its founder and CEO, Peter J. Liegl.
According to a press release from Berkshire Hathaway, Mr. Liegl, who founded the company in 1996, and his management team will continue to operate Forest River at its Elkhart, Indiana, headquarters. Forest River is a leading manufacturer of recreation vehicles in the United States, including a complete line of RVs, utility trailers, boats, buses, and manufactured houses.
The acquisition is expected to be finalized during the third quarter of 2005 and will make Forest River a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.
Monaco Coach Corporation Initiates Dealer Franchise Program
Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111, based in Coburg, Oregon, has unveiled what is thought to be the RV industry’s first dealer franchise program. Called Franchise for the Future, the program creates a national brand focus for Monaco’s four primary motorized recreation vehicle brands “” Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Beaver, and Safari “” that currently are being sold at more than 300 dealer locations in North America.
“This is a significant step within the RV industry, because it challenges the traditional way that RVs themselves have been positioned at the independent dealerships that we all depend on,” said Kay Toolson, chairman and CEO of Monaco Coach Corporation.
Historically, RV dealers typically carry a wide array of vehicle brands with very little emphasis on highlighting one brand over another. Monaco’s Franchise for the Future dealer franchise program provides each dealership with a visual brand identity for one or more of Monaco Coach Corporation’s four motorized brands. Each dealer will create a brand-specific customer buying experience by installing a brand sign along with an interior “brand island” that provides the RV customer with a stylish detail center that communicates the key features and benefits of that brand.
Monaco Coach Corporation retained franchise and branding specialist Pied Piper Management Company LLC, of Monterey, California, to determine how best to shine a national brand spotlight on local dealer operations by developing and implementing Franchise for the Future.
Freightliner Custom Chassis To Offer Front-Engine Diesel Chassis
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC), C1905, based in Gaffney, South Carolina, announced that it will begin producing a front-engine diesel motorhome chassis. The new configuration is nicknamed “FRED,” an acronym for Front Engine Diesel. Prototypes are planned for the third quarter of 2005, and production will begin at the end of 2005.
The FRED chassis will be powered by a Cummins 5.9-liter diesel engine with an Allison five-speed transmission. The chassis also will offer a new, custom-tuned Hendrickson spring ride suspension, exclusive to Freightliner Custom Chassis. The front axle design allows a wheel cut of up to 55 degrees for increased maneuverability.
“FRED is our way of showing gas motorhome customers they can have all the power, fuel economy, and durability of a diesel engine at a price point that’s a very attractive alternative to gas,” said Dean Schaper, director of sales and marketing for FCCC.
The new FRED chassis also features a lowered engine position compared to gas models, which will reduce or even eliminate the intrusive and cumbersome “engine hump” normally associated with front-engine motorhomes.
One of the first manufacturers to utilize the new chassis is Tiffin Motorhomes, which will offer motorhomes built on the new chassis in its 2006 lineup of 34-foot and 38-foot Allegro Bay models. Production of the front-engine diesel coaches is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2005 or early 2006 as chassis become available from Freightliner.
Monaco Coach Corporation To Close Royale Coach
Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111, based in Coburg, Oregon, announced that it will permanently cease operations at its luxury bus conversion subsidiary Royale Coach in November 2005. According to a Monaco press release, the company explored several alternatives prior to making the decision to close the Elkhart, Indiana, plant, which has been converting approximately 22 bus shells annually.
According to Monaco Coach Corporation, most of the approximately 85 employees will be eligible for transfers to other Monaco manufacturing locations in the area. The company also said that it will stand behind all established warranty and service commitments made to owners of Royale Coach bus conversions. In addition, the company encouraged Royale Club members to stay involved in other Monaco Coach Corporation club groups and events.
Workhorse Replaces P Series With New W Series Chassis; Opens Pre-Delivery Inspection Center
Workhorse Custom Chassis, located in Union City, Indiana, C8291, announced that it has replaced the P Series chassis, the last link to the GM chassis business the company purchased in 1999, with two new chassis: the W16 and the W18. All gasoline-engine-powered chassis made by Workhorse are now included in the W Series.
The new platforms will have 16,000-pound (W16) and 18,000-pound (W18) gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR), replacing the P Series models with GVWRs of 15,000 pounds, 17,000 pounds, and 18,000 pounds. The chassis are intended for use in entry-level and smaller type A motorhomes.
The W16 and W18 models will have wider and more robust frames made with 50,000-psi steel to better accommodate smaller motorhomes with slideouts. The engines in both will be lower to the ground in the same fashion as Workhorse’s heavier-duty W20, W22, and W24 chassis in order to minimize the engine doghouse. The lower engine position also is said to aid stability and reduce noise.
Both models will feature the big block GM Vortec 8100 8.1-liter gasoline engine used with all W Series models. However, an optional GM Vortec 6000 6.0-liter engine also will be available. Both engines are mated to Hydra-matic four-speed automatic transmissions.
The new W Series models will feature a 50-degree wheel cut for better maneuverability and will sport high-performance Brembo brakes with four-wheel antilock braking capability. The chassis also will have an I-beam front suspension, rather than the independent front suspension used in the P Series chassis; Stabil-Ride suspension; Bilstein shocks; and other improvements.
The company also announced that it has opened a new 10,000-square-foot pre-delivery inspection center next to its Union City manufacturing facility. The center will be staffed by 12 employees who will work in one of six inspection bays. These technicians will utilize a computerized state-of-the-art diagnostic system that is custom-designed to assist them during chassis inspection and tracking. The center will perform pre-shipment quality checks on all platforms manufactured at the Workhorse facility.
For more information call toll-free (877) 294-6773 or visit www.workhorse.com.
Airstream Announces Aluminum-Bodied G-Series Motorhomes
Airstream Inc., a division of Thor Industries, C847, based in Jackson Center, Ohio, announced plans to resurrect its iconic radius-bodied “Classic” aluminum motorhome, which originally was produced between 1982 and 1996, with the new gasoline-powered G-Series model. The G-Series was designed in partnership with BMW Group DesignworksUSA of Newbury Park, California, to reflect the distinct curved body that has become synonymous with Airstream motorhomes.
BMW’s automotive design house helped to develop design elements for the G-Series motorhome, including exterior styling and the interior dashboard/instrument panel. These include the industry’s first use of superplastic-formed aluminum panels, produced by Superform USA. According to Airstream, the panels will provide greater detail and durability in the aluminum forming process, creating a motor coach style unlike anything currently available in the recreation vehicle market.
More contemporary yet functional design aspects of the G-Series will be found in the interior, thanks to Christopher C. Deam, Airstream’s design partner for nearly five years. The interior will feature contemporary styling, clean lines, and quality materials with innovative use of space and clever storage solutions.
The triple-slideout G-Series will be built on a Workhorse W24 chassis and will be available in 33-foot and 35-foot floor plans. Production of the new coach is expected to begin in early 2006.
California RV Show
The 53rd annual California RV Show, produced by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, will be held October 14 through 23, 2005, at Fairplex in Pomona, California. More than 1,800 recreation vehicles will be showcased at the event, with factory and California dealer representatives on hand to answer questions and explain many of the new features available in today’s RVs.
The show also will include a 40,000-square-foot tent filled with RV products and accessories and a full program of daily seminars presented by some of the United States’ top RV experts. They will include Dick Reed of the RV Driving School, C6198, to help attendees hone their driving skills, and Joe and Vicki Kieva, F164860, who will present “Tips for Choosing an RV.”
Show hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Ticket prices are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and free for children under age 12. Parking at Fairplex is $6 for cars and $8 for RVs. For directions, nearby campgrounds, and other information, call (951) 274-9215 (24-hour recorded show information) or visit www.carvshow.com. Discount admission coupons are available at the show’s Web site.
2005 Consumer Satisfaction Survey Released
Results from the 2005 Consumer Satisfaction Survey, commissioned by the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence, show that RV owners are very likely to continue RVing over the next five years and three-fourths of motorhome owners are completely or very satisfied with their overall RVing experience.
The results of the survey, conducted by Roper/NOP World, were presented to the Committee on Excellence in June. Other findings include:
- 76 percent of motorhomers are completely or very satisfied with their vehicle.
- 76 percent of motorhomers would recommend the same make/model to a friend.
- Nearly seven in 10 motorhome owners said that they definitely/probably would recommend their dealer to a friend.
- 61 percent of motorhomers are completely or very satisfied with their dealer.
- 76 percent of RV owners expressed high levels of satisfaction with the commercial campground they last visited.
The research is designed as a self-assessment of consumer satisfaction with the entire RV experience and provides valuable feedback to manufacturers, dealers, and campgrounds on what drives both satisfaction with and loyalty to the RVing experience.
The survey was mailed to 30,000 owners who purchased a 2004 model-year RV prior to August 1, 2004, with 11,187 responding.
Four Winds Adds Diesel Fun Mover
Four Winds International, C7457, based in Elkhart, Indiana, recently introduced a new model to its Fun Mover lineup with the addition of the 39D diesel-powered type C motorhome.
The 39D, which measures 40 feet 6 inches long, is built on a Ford F750 chassis with a 7.2-liter Caterpillar diesel engine and an Allison six-speed transmission. The motorhome has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 32,300 pounds and a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 60,000 pounds. It also is equipped with a factory-installed 10,000-pound towing hitch and, with the proper equipment, is capable of towing up to 18,000 pounds.
The spacious 8-foot-by-10-foot cargo area features a nonskid garage floor with a Pro-Trak tie-down system for secure travel, roof hatch access with a built-in ladder, a power aluminum liftgate with 18-foot extension, and a roll-up metal garage door. The cargo area is separated from the living area with a fully sealed door for added safety and comfort.
The 39D floor plan includes a sofa/dinette slideout for additional living space without compromising the size of the cargo area. The living area also features an 84-inch-high interior ceiling height, as well as a fully equipped galley; bathroom; and sleeping area. Other interior features include residential-style linoleum, a microwave-convection oven with an LP-gas cook top, a 20-inch LCD television on an electric swivel in the cab-over area, an 8.0-kilowatt Onan generator, and 50-amp electrical service.
A choice of three interior décor packages is available, as well as three interior wood choices. The popular Sports Package interior features black-and-white linoleum, gray laminate cabinetry, a kitchen sink sprayer, and a carbon-fiber dash insert with drink tray. Other popular options include an outside entertainment center with compact disc player, 110-volt-AC and 12-volt-DC outlets, and antenna hookup; a backup monitor and camera; a 400-watt inverter; a rear cargo area screen; cargo roll-over sofas; and a roof-mounted observation deck.
For additional information about the Fun Mover, call Four Winds International at (574) 266-1111 or visit www.fourwinds-rv.com.
KOA Lends Advice For Camping With Kids
Thousands of families will hit the road this year in search of the perfect vacation; one that keeps kids away from the TV and video games and encourages them to participate in fun outdoor activities. Kampgrounds of America (KOA), C456, offers several suggestions to help make this year’s travels enjoyable for the entire family.
Involve children in planning the family’s vacation
Once a destination is determined, teach children how to read maps and ask them to plan the most efficient, or the most scenic, driving route. Let children who are able to use the Internet go online to find nearby attractions, or provide them with guidebooks in which they can find interesting things to do.
Give everyone space for individual experiences
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, allow time for older children to explore the campground on their own. Ask the person working the campground’s front desk about activities appropriate for kids of varying ages.
Plan family time
Identify focal points for family time during the day and at night. These can include going fishing as a group; taking a nature walk; bicycling; trail riding; making crafts; or experimenting with new recipes around the campfire.
Don’t forget the simple pleasures
When sharing outdoor activities with family, simple experiences are often the most memorable.
Put the kids in charge of commemorating the family trip
Ask the children to record the vacation in a medium of their own choosing. Show them how to start a journal or scrapbook and allow them to take pictures or videos.
KOA experts also have developed a list of the top 10 family camping activity tips.
1. Play flashlight games. Bring a favorite board or card game and play a flashlight version outdoors or in the motorhome. Award prizes to the winners.
2. Host a shadow puppet contest. Transform everyday objects and camping supplies, such as cooking utensils or branches, into animated stories illuminated by flashlight on the motorhome’s walls.
3. Make nature bracelets. Attach a circle of masking tape around children’s wrists, sticky side out, and add colorful leaves, seeds, and shells found on nature walks.
4. Get some exercise. Rent or bring a bicycle or take a nature walk. Enjoy a hayride or play miniature golf as a group. Join other families for a game in the pool.
5. Surpass S’Mores. Get creative at the campfire. Ask the children to dream up a new combination of favorite foods, such as hobo pies made from slices of bread and apple pie filling.
6. Sing a song. Compose a new song about the family’s camping adventures and set it to a familiar tune.
7. Learn the directions. For younger children, teach the directions of sunrise, sunset, north, and south. Get more complex for older kids who may enjoy navigating with a compass.
8. Stargaze. Wind down after a fun-filled day by finding a quiet spot away from lights to look at the stars. Find and name your own constellations.
9. Bring the family pet. Take the family dog for a nature walk instead of the customary turn around the block.
10. Start a family photo contest. After the trip is over, look at the photos as a group. Take a vote and award a grand prize for the winning image.
For more tips on making camping cool for kids, to download campfire recipes, or to send e-postcards, visit www.koa.com.