This specialty vehicle manufacturer draws upon a quarter-century of production experience to launch a new line of Type B and Type C luxury motorhomes.
By Lazelle Jones
Krystal Enterprises, a privately held vehicle manufacturer located in Brea, California, has entered the luxury motorhome market with a new line of Type B and Type C coaches. However, this company is far from being a new kid on the block.
Earlier this year I ventured to the sunny Southern California foothills to become acquainted with Krystal Enterprises and what the company has to offer. During my visit and through discussions with Krystal officials, it became apparent that the company’s decision to move into the luxury motorhome industry was carefully calculated.
I discovered that the company has been building and marketing specialty vehicles for 25 years, today producing some 2,000 vehicles annually. Krystal is the world’s largest manufacturer of stretch limousines and a leading builder of other vehicles, such as hotel and airport shuttle buses, and professional and security vehicles. A significant portion of these vehicles are shipped around the world, including Britain, China, and Australia. Krystal’s current workforce numbers approximately 1,000, many of them long-term employees with up to 25 years of service. The $175 million company was founded in 1983 by Ed Grech, who serves as president and CEO.
Because Krystal is already a powerhouse in other segments of the specialty transportation vehicle industry, it seemed a logical evolution for the company to expand into the luxury motorhome business in 2006. For one, technical and operational synergies exist between designing Krystal’s core products and the building of luxury Type B and Type C motorhomes. The company’s manufacturing facilities encompass 350,000 square feet at three locations, including its corporate offices at the main plant. Ample room exists to handle a totally new product line (actually two product lines, as we shall see).
Each year Krystal Enterprises purchases a large number of chassis from General Motors, Ford, and International. Thus, expansion into the motorhome market means these numbers will grow even greater with volume buying, yielding additional cost savings. The company’s new Type C motorhome platforms of choice are the Ford F-550 and the Chevrolet Kodiak chassis. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 is the platform chosen for Type B motorhomes.
The Type C Krystal Motor Home is available in diesel and gasoline configurations, in 29-, 30-, 32-, and 33-foot models/lengths. Regardless of whether the Ford F-550 or Chevrolet Kodiak chassis is used, the design and interior configuration of the house portion of each length are exactly the same. Two slideout rooms are offered, with both located on the street side (the larger of the two in the forward living area and the second in the rear bedroom). HWH systems are used to power the slideouts: an air-sealed hydraulic/chain-driven system for the larger front slide and a hydraulic piston-type mechanism for the rear bedroom slide. Every coach also comes with HWH’s four-point hydraulic leveling system, which is fully automatic.
The infrastructure of the Krystal Type C consists of a welded steel cage, trademarked the “Ring of Steel,” with every horizontal and vertical member welded at the points of intersection. The cage is then attached to outriggers that are added to the chassis rails. The company builds its own main entry door, which is shaped to match the slight top-to-bottom contour of the walls. Block foam insulation is cut to fit and packed between the structural members. A sheet of high-gloss 1/8-inch-thick fiberglass is added to cover the exterior wall, and lauan panel covered with Ultraleather forms the interior wall. Krystal has stylized the hood (patent pending) for the Kodiak chassis to present a graceful exterior appearance.
These coaches are offered without options, for every unit comes fully appointed. The client does choose the engine (gas or diesel); interior color; fabrics; and furniture style (i.e., shape of the dinette or stand-alone table). The finished interior wood surfaces are cherry. Solid-surface material covers the countertops, and ceramic tile and plush carpet dresses the floor.
Every Krystal Type C motorhome features full-body paint and graphics, and the customer selects the exterior color. The coach comes with a power remote-controlled Girard awning with wind sensor. It also features two exterior storage bays, one midship on the curb side and a second bay that provides pass-through storage at the rear of the coach.
The Type C is wired for 50-amp shore power and comes with a 2,000-watt inverter that is powered via two deep-cycle house batteries. The auxiliary generator on the gasoline-powered coach is a 5.5-kw Onan; the gen set on the diesel-powered Type C is a 5.5-kw Onan Quiet Diesel. The fresh water, gray water, and black water holding tanks hold 40, 35, and 20 gallons, respectively. The fuel tank on the Ford holds 40 gallons or 75 gallons, depending on length, while the Kodiak accommodates 80 gallons.
With all appointments included as standard equipment, the manufacturer’s base suggested retail price for the Krystal Kodiak-based Type C ranges from the mid-$220,000s to $258,000. The Ford F-550-based unit ranges in price from $194,000 to $220,000.
Krystal’s move into the Type B motorhome market also is well calculated and includes two important aspects. First, the two models (19 feet and 22 feet) have more economical price points of $95,000 and $100,000, respectively. Second, this unit is powered by the Mercedes-Benz V-6 turbocharged diesel engine coupled with a five-speed automatic transmission. Ask anyone in the know and they will tell you that fuel economy is a huge selling point on Sprinter-based Type B motorhomes, which typically can achieve 20 miles per gallon. Slideouts are not offered on the Krystal Type B motorhome, but a full menu of luxury and comfort features are included as standard equipment. These Type Bs are equipped with auxiliary generators, entertainment systems, and awnings “” everything it takes to make a long weekend or perhaps even full-timing totally enjoyable, in a smaller package.
Krystal Enterprises is carefully growing its dealer network to accommodate prudent expansion in the future. The company has contracted with Southwest Coaches in Irvine, California, and Holland Motor Homes in San Diego, California, to sell Krystal Type C motorhomes, with several additional dealerships to be announced. The Krystal Type B motorhome will be presented at all four of McMahon’s RV stores in California, along with Vantastic Vans in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Sierra RV Super Center in Reno, Nevada.
Krystal Enterprises, 2701 E. Imperial Highway, Brea, CA 92821; (800) KRYSTAL (579-7825); http://www.krystal.cc/.