The Icon and Pulse type C diesel motorhomes, built on the new Dodge Sprinter chassis, have joined Fleetwood’s product line for 2008. Floor plan selections on the Icon and Pulse include large single slideouts with a choice of a full-width rear bathroom (24A) or a rear bedroom with a double bed (24D).
Fleetwood’s motorhome product planning and development team conducted several phases of primary research for the Icon and Pulse, including feedback sessions with RV dealers and consumers.
Exterior highlights on the Icon and Pulse include the Mercedes-Benz 6-cylinder, 3-liter turbo-diesel engine for increased fuel efficiency; pass-through storage; up to 138-inch-long slideouts; highly styled front caps; and standard DuPont full-body paint. Interior highlights include contoured, European-style cabinetry; Corian countertops; a Jensen 19-inch LCD HDTV; and contemporary décor options.
In the type A diesel motorhome category, Fleetwood introduced the 2009 American Allegiance, the first addition to the American Coach family since 1999. Built on a Spartan chassis with Fleetwood’s patented Liberty Bridge system for smooth handling, the elegantly appointed coach features the R5000 Infotainment Center from Navion; 30-inch-wide-slideout floor plans, including a full-wall slide floor; and DuPont full-body paint.
Fleetwood also announced the relaunch of its Terra and Fiesta type A gas motorhomes, which have been totally redesigned for 2008.
Possibilities include a 33-foot double-slide floor plan with private bedroom (33L), and a 35-foot triple-slide floor plan with bunk beds (34B). These models now include full pass-through basement storage with side-swing luggage doors and a midcoach 32-inch LCD HDTV as standard features.
For more information about Fleetwood RV products, call (800) 322-8216 or visit www.fleetwoodrv.com.
Cummins Introduces 650-HP Diesel Engine
Cummins Inc. unveiled its new 650-horsepower diesel engine during the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, this past November. Targeted toward the luxury motorhome market, the ISX 650 offers 1,950 pound-feet of torque.
The Cummins ISX incorporates in-house core technologies, including Cummins’ advanced electronic controls, patented VG Turbo, high-pressure fuel system, combustion technology, and exhaust after-treatment. The new ISX 650 is fully integrated with the Allison 4000 MH automatic transmission, which is rated up to 650 horsepower and 1,950 pound-feet of torque.
According to Mark Conover, Cummins director – RV business, “We’ve listened to motorhome customers and understand that horsepower and performance are top of mind. The ISX 650 will provide exceptional acceleration, improved ability to climb steep grades, better downhill speed restraint with superior braking horsepower, and all-around first-rate performance.”
Damon Initiates Parts Shipping Programs
Recognizing that RV owners value prompt availability of needed parts, Damon Motor Coach has developed two new “quick ship” parts programs. Its new Trip Saver initiative provides overnight shipping of the parts most commonly needed by on-the-road retail customers. A parallel program called Rapid Response Parts promises to ship select parts to dealers within 24 hours of order receipt.
The goal of Damon’s Trip Saver program is to get retail customers back on the road as quickly as possible. Specifically, the program commits Damon to ship via overnight delivery services any qualifying part within 24 business hours of receiving the order. Qualifying parts include those items most frequently needed and essential to over-the-road use of a customer’s motorhome. The list of qualifying parts is available by calling the Damon customer service line, (800) 860-3812. Company officials say the list will be expanded in the future as needed.
The Rapid Response program provides dealers and retail customers with a commitment by the company to ship select parts within 24 business hours of receiving the order. Qualifying parts in the Rapid Response program are also defined as those items most frequently needed for vehicle service work.
Damon Motor Coach, a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc. located in Elkhart, Indiana, manufactures a full line of type A motorhomes, including the Essence, Astoria, and Tuscany diesel pushers and the gas-powered Daybreak and Challenger, plus the new Outlaw Toyhauler.
2008 Life On Wheels Conference Schedule
Life on Wheels conferences will be offered at five colleges in five states during 2008. This education program founded at the University of Idaho 13 years ago offers current and prospective RVers opportunities to enhance their RVing experiences. Seminars on all aspects of RVing are presented by expert instructors, covering such categories as safety, technical, lifestyle, and lifestyle enhancement.
The first venue is Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, March 18 to 21. Two conferences will take place in May: at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, May 7 to 10, and at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa, May 22 to 25. The largest conference (full week) will be held at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, July 6 to 17. The final program for the year will be conducted at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, September 7 to 10.
Additional information about upcoming Life On Wheels conferences may be obtained online at www.rvlifeonwheels.com or by calling (866) 569-4646.
Dometic Goes “Green”
As part of its overall commitment to environmentally friendly initiatives and building sustainable products, Dometic has joined with the National Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees in areas that need reforestation.
“We believe in and support the RV lifestyle and we felt that by teaming with the Arbor Day Foundation, we could show in a very tangible way how we truly care for the environment and its future,” said Brad Sargent, Dometic’s vice president of marketing. “We encourage everyone to take action now so future generations can enjoy what we have today.”
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, over time the trees will grow to provide habitat and food for wildlife, restore natural beauty, clean rivers and streams, and provide enjoyment for recreational activities such as RVing. Over the course of 50 years, a single tree can generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycle $37,500 worth of water, and control $31,500 worth of soil erosion.
Dometic also has taken steps to be more earth-conscious by mailing pine tree seeds to approximately 3,000 of its dealers in connection with the Arbor Day program; building all of its absorption refrigerators with zero Global Warming Potential (GWP); offering a full line of “green” cleaning and sanitation products; maintaining scrap aluminum and metal recycling programs at its manufacturing plants; prioritizing environmental programs at the top-management level; creating dedicated environmental impact teams at plant and management levels; having an environmental checklist program in place in the research and development facility; and optimizing products for low-energy consumption.
Dometic is an international supplier of specialty products and systems, including RV refrigeration systems.
Laser Alignment, Computerized Weighing At Coachmen RV
Coachmen RV Group has invested in a new top-of–the-line laser system for aligning motorhome chassis (all wheels) after a motorhome is manufactured.
The 811 System from Hunter Engineering Co. ensures that type A coaches manufactured by Coachmen, Georgie Boy, and Sportscoach have all wheels laser-aligned to the chassis manufacturer’s specifications prior to shipment.
“Like our Sealtech system to detect and prevent leaks, this is quality that you may not see on the dealer’s lot, but will experience in use,” said Michael R. Terlep, president of Coachmen RV Group. “Not only will this new alignment system and process ensure consumers an excellent drive and ride, having the wheels properly aligned will prolong the life of the tires and yield better gas mileage.”
When using the Hunter 811 System, the technician selects from the computer program the type of chassis on which the coach is built. The computer then displays step-by-step instructions for sensor placement, measurement, and alignment for all wheels. The computer screen displays color-coded camber, toe, and thrust angle measurements after compensation.
Technicians will place a printout of the alignment results in each coach before it is shipped so that both dealer and consumer will know that the motorhome has been aligned to the chassis manufacturer specifications.
In addition, Coachmen weighs every motorhome it manufactures prior to shipping. Each axle and wheel is weighed on computer scales to ensure that the unit complies with the chassis manufacturer’s weight ratings. A detailed weight sheet, specific to each motorhome, is included with the unit before shipping.
2008 Go RVing Campaign Includes Top Sporting Events
This year, television ads for Go RVing, the campaign that promotes RV travel, will run during coverage of numerous sporting events, including the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500, and the Summer Olympics.
The $16 million 2008 media plan kicks off on February 3 on FOX with Go RVing’s first-ever NFL spot, which will air during the final half hour of the Super Bowl XLII pregame show. Later in February, a Go RVing ad will air during the 50th running of the Daytona 500, also on FOX. In August the Go RVing media plan reaches its peak during the Beijing Summer Olympic Games with a package of 133 30-second spots on NBC and its cable affiliates, CNBC, MSNBC, and USA.
Go RVing is increasing the campaign’s strong NASCAR presence on ESPN and the Speed Channel this year, featuring spots on the Nextel and Nationwide (formerly Busch) series races and RV “on the road” vignettes between race locations.
On March 9, in Norwich, Connecticut, the nation’s top professional bowlers will compete in the second annual Go RVing Classic. Go RVing also will be prominent during Triple Crown Horse Racing programming on ESPN leading up to the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont, and the Preakness. New additions to the lineup include the PowerSports ATV ProTour on ESPN2 and the Xtreme Bulls Tour on ESPN. And Sunday Major League Baseball on TBS will feature Go RVing ads from April through June.
Go RVing TV spots also will run from February through October on 30 major national cable channels, including the National Geographic Channel, Discovery, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, Golf Channel, and A&E. The campaign will extend to print ads in major magazines, as well as Internet ads on popular Web sites and search engines.
The Go RVing Coalition, formed in 1994, consists of RV manufacturers, component suppliers, dealers, and campgrounds. The coalition works to provide the public and media with pertinent information about the benefits of RV travel.
Interior Secretary Champions The Outdoors
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne addressed a record-breaking crowd during a breakfast meeting held to kick off the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, in late November. In his address before 1,200 participants, Mr. Kempthorne, himself a longtime RV owner and avid recreationist, called upon the RV community to lead efforts to reconnect U.S. citizens to the great outdoors. “This is a dynamic industry. You have the opportunity to help Americans get outdoors,” he said.
Mr. Kempthorne expressed special concern for children’s loss of connection to nature. Illnesses due to physical inactivity, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity, are a growing crisis, he said. The secretary pointed out that technology is keeping kids indoors, playing computer games and other sedentary activities. “We have to be just as creative in ways to encourage our kids to get outside, including use of technology,” he told the group.
Secretary Kempthorne urged more Americans to take advantage of the land that the Department of the Interior manages “” one out of every five acres in the United States. He noted that the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the wildlife refuges all have RV campgrounds and other recreation sites. “These are amazing opportunities to see and experience America the beautiful and to be good stewards of the land,” he said.
The secretary called on RV interests to put passion and enthusiasm to work for the cause of connecting Americans to the outdoors. “You are the stewards to make sure the next generation of Americans understands the outdoors, appreciates it, and enjoys it,” he concluded.