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Old 12-17-2013, 05:39 PM   #1
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Default Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

Hello all,

I was just on the phone with Dave DeBraga, the Owner of Great West Van. I was in the process of rounding up some tile for the floor of our van to replace the carpet in front.

Dave mentioned to me that he would be driving the new GWV prototype based on the Dodge Pro-Master to Tampa with his family. They plan on putting this new model on display at the Tampa RV Show. This is the RV super show scheduled for January 15-19th. Link attached http://www.frvta.org/rv-shows/florida-rv-supershow/

He seemed very excited about this new product. Some of the details that he shared are.

- Based on the 2500 series
- 20 foot overall length
-Mileage in the test runs was 17mpg. This is based on a gas version.
-Sleeps 4 ... I did not ask how they accomplished this.
- He said the thing that impressed him most was that it drove great.
- This will be a much different pricing point than the Mercedes based models. It is a much lower cost chassis.
-Tentative Name : Great West Classic

So there you go. I am planning on attending that show, since it is less than an hour from our home. I am looking forward to seeing one of these alive and in the flesh.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

It will be very interesting to see how the 3/4 ton chassis that folks are using works out. Past history with Dodges, Chevies, and Sprinters would indicate that there hasn't been a lot of success with the lighter duty chassis, with the exception of the Roadtrek 170. The larger ones have pretty much all gone up to 1 tons. Is the Great West a short Promaster, or a long one?
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

All the Sprinter T1N chassis were 2500s for Bs up until the 2009 converter model year and the current 144" wb Sprinters (P-W Ascent, RT Agile) are 2500 chassis. They all performed well. I suspect the ProMaster will do fine. They are not as big as the T1N chassis including the longest ProMaster and from what I have seen designed so far here and in Europe they are not nearly as loaded up as the 3500 dually Sprinters that are mostly marketed now.

What we have seen so far is they are all trying to hit a much lower price point to differentiate from Sprinters to tap maybe a wider market. Also, they seem to be putting emphasis on sleeping kids so maybe a younger crowd is the market for short family vacations and not for us seniors touring for months at a time. I know I am beyond the more active spartan lifestyle of travel which can explain my skepticism of the Travato. Since they are shorter than Sprinters they can and should for the younger active market and with kids need to be everyday dual purpose vehicles.

Who is going to get hurt? Ford is going away (goodbye P-W Excel already) and will come back with the Transit. Chevy Vans looks like the victim especially in a couple of years if converters look at Sprinters, ProMasters and Transits for choices. I would imagine that Nissan will go away as well. We may see the last of replacement fiberglass body back ends and fiberglass extended roofs. The growing popularity of the small Cs (Trend, Pursuit, Unity, etc.) will kill those kind of van conversions too.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

I just hope there is the market for the PM and soon to be Transit upfits. The younger people don't seem to roam as much as we do, and I don't know if this is fear of getting mugged in a RV park (even though this is far less likely than in a city), nervousness about high fuel prices, apprehension about leaving the concrete jungle behind, or the lure of video games as opposed to the "dangerous" outdoors.

It has been almost a generation since conversion vans were popular (I remember them being the alternative choice to the Chevy Suburban.) I wonder if Winnebago and the other people making the Euro-style "B"s and "C"s can advertise enough with an ad campaign similar to "this isn't your father's Oldsmobile" to get the college grads and 20-somethings to buy these. If it works out, it will be a tremendous market, as the vans can double as second cars. If it doesn't work out and World of Warcraft wins out versus getting out of town and going places, I fear we might have another Winnebago Rialta, Westfalia or other vehicle with a short lifespan but a cult following on our hands.

The good news is that the ProMaster and the Transit are not going anywhere (the Transit especially, since Ford has bet the house on it by killing the Econoline), so even a low volume upfitter can still make money, even if the big names drop the other models and just stick with Sprinters for "B" vans.

I do admit I'm partial to the PM. It is ugly as sin, but the European companies that have upfitted the Ducato have more than made up for the ugliness factor. However, if I put a PM upfit against a PW Ascent or a RT SS Agile, I'd probably say the latter models would win every time, especially with a 2014 or newer base Sprinter model.

All and all, Winnebago, GWV, and others really need to start an ad blitz. Other than enlightened folk like ourselves, not that many know or appreciate the size and versatility of a "B".
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

I think that the PM is Ugly as sin....but my opinion may not match those of other folks...
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22
I just hope there is the market for the PM and soon to be Transit upfits. The younger people don't seem to roam as much as we do, and I don't know if this is fear of getting mugged in a RV park (even though this is far less likely than in a city), nervousness about high fuel prices, apprehension about leaving the concrete jungle behind, or the lure of video games as opposed to the "dangerous" outdoors.
Young people have a couple of weeks at best to do any roaming. A B is a huge investment for such a short time. The parks and campgrounds are full on the weekends, summers and spring break with young people with children. It just happens the camping of choice is an SUV and a tent, cheap trailer or a popup trailer and there is more pressure to carry multiple bicycles along usually on top of the car. A dual use B such as a more inexpensive ProMaster functioning as an every day vehicle might work. It seems Roadtrek with its design philosophy of second row passenger seats thinks that is how they ought to be sold but in reality I have not seen that situation on the road at all even in that young people scenario. Two people max seems to be the limit for a B. Could a ProMaster change that?
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

GreatWestVan have a proven record in producing perhaps the best quality Sprinter interior conversions. at least on a par with the other main companies. I see the advent of the Promaster ie Fiat Ducato chassis as a cheaper alternative and one which could be converted within a short wheelbase.But there is only so much room and the idea of a flip down rear bed next to a thin wet bath with a dinette conversion to bed up front is a gamble given the demographic we have seen who buy these units. Laminate and cost cutting show up fast in cost comparisons and even if the price is much lower, we need to see some amazing space utilizations before there is a quantum shift to this type of platform.Just MHO. Longer, heavier,dualie-based Sprinters have pushed prices skyward and out of the reach of most of us. So, look for the Great West Classic. It IS nice to see the B going back to 20 ft or so where it started. But, will the space be big enough.
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:24 AM   #8
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

Spent the afternoon today with a couple that had just brought a new '14 ERA home from Iowa last weekend. They both mentioned that they had went through the Travato that was there at the dealer and were very impressed with the unit as a whole, except for the bed. They did say that it would be an excellent RV for a single or a young couple that liked to cuddle.
He said the van itself looked to be excellent quality and that the dash and interior plastics looked to be better quality than their new Sprinter. That statement doesn't surprise me a bit
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

I think the "sweet spot" might come around when Transits hit the streets, mainly because they have a better cargo capacity with their dual rear wheels than the PMs do. Plus, the extra-high Transit will allow for a lot more storage options or even a drop-down bed similar to the Trend.

I'm also going to guess that floorplans will get better. Winnebago's is a "version 1.0" type of offering, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a 2015 Travato sporting a FP similar to the SS Agile, except with the bed a foot higher due to the larger wheel wells. The ProMaster is wide enough that transverse bed layouts are also doable.
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Great West Van on ProMaster at Tampa RV Show

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22
I think the "sweet spot" might come around when Transits hit the streets, mainly because they have a better cargo capacity with their dual rear wheels than the PMs do. Plus, the extra-high Transit will allow for a lot more storage options or even a drop-down bed similar to the Trend.

I'm also going to guess that floorplans will get better. Winnebago's is a "version 1.0" type of offering, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a 2015 Travato sporting a FP similar to the SS Agile, except with the bed a foot higher due to the larger wheel wells. The ProMaster is wide enough that transverse bed layouts are also doable.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this time next year, Winnebago will have a second or third floor plan going on the ProMaster. They are opening up a much bigger second class B assembly plant to reinforce my opinion.

Also, just announced here in Kansas City this morning, Ford is in the process of bringing in 1750 new workers right now to crank up a third F-150 shift and start the Transit production in the next 30 days at their Claycomo plant. Quoting the news: "Transit will go on sale in the early summer". Since it's an all new vehicle in a new plant, (inside an older plant), it will be slow going at first for a couple months.

Exciting times in the B world
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