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Old 07-28-2013, 05:30 PM   #1
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Default Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

Class C shipments are up an incredible 40.1% year to date.
Class B shipments are down -0.4% year to date.
(through the first six months of 2013) Link:http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...tart=22#p15845

I can think of only five Class B manufacturers that only build Class B RV's:
Advanced RV
Great West Vans
New West (in Quebec, Canada)
Roadtrek
Sportsmobile

All the other Class B manufacturers offer additional units for sale in other RV categories. Of the five, Roadtrek would be most likely to start offering a Class C in my opinion. The other four are specialty companies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVBusiness MARCH/APRIL 2011
Will Roadtrek ever consider building Class C or Class A motorhomes?

“We always have thoughts, but don’t want to talk about future development plans,” Hanemaayer said.
Roadtrek always strikes me as being a company that wants to grow and be innovative. The Class B category seems to have hit a wall in terms of growth. Is diversifying into manufacturing other types of RV's the next step for Roadtrek?
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

According to the chart in the other thread, Class B sales are down over 16% from last year. Class C sales are up over 57%. I think it's simple economics. To someone looking for a motorhome for the first time, and having little or no experience with either class B or C types, the class C on the Sprinter cab with the "box" added may simply appear to be better value, more space, and better amenities, more often for a lot less money. The slightly smaller true van conversion may look nicer and be easier to maneuver because it's a bit smaller and more like the original van that it started out as, and the fuel economy may be a few mpg better, but it still looks like you get more in a small class C. More bang for the motorhome buck?
If Roadtrek wants to be able to continue to build and sell more expensive class B motorhomes they, and others, may have to adapt to the changing marketplace and offer some other products that are apparently selling better than the motorhomes they currently produce. Quite honestly, they all should have seen this coming. The Class B manufacturers may have priced, or be pricing, themselves out of their own market. I think much of it has been a recent trend towards trying to make them works of art, instead of functional. You could also argue that trying to add expensive (unproven value for money?) technology to make them more independent of shore tethering (off the grid) has added huge costs to manufacture them. Perhaps keeping it simple, would have been a better design option?
As usual, just my opinion, and some conclusions based on the posted sales figures.

Have the prices of other classes of motorhomes risen by the same percentages in the last decade? I believe my Roadtrek 190P cost around $59,000 when new, 10 years ago. The new ones are close to double that now. Have class A and C motorhomes also doubled in price in the last 10 years? I'm not sure where to look for that info, but it might be a statistical factor affecting the slower growth in sales. Or, they simply can't keep up with the demand, but that seems unlikely, as few converters would reduce their output capability. It should have been at least the same YoY, in units shipped, but it fell.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

I totally agree that they are pricing themselves out of the market, most likely. They all let themselves get sucked into the business model of higher end, lots of high margin options, more spif than practicality. Soccer moms and weekenders are probably a pretty fickle bunch and having a class b to show off at the playground is not as important anymore. Of course, contradicting this is the fact that the stripped down versions, like the Ranger, didn't sell very well. They also weren't very well optimized for longer camping, though.

I think Roadtrek is starting to get the idea with the CS Adventurous, although it is still pretty spendy for most of us. If the trend does go back towards camping style class b's, it will be very interesting to see what they use for van, especially when the Ford and Chevy go away. If some of the replacements are not overly expensive, they won't require a new roof, and maybe could actually bring the prices down a bit?

IMO, something like the old Roadtrek 200 is not a bad idea. They get the advantages of using a cutaway for designing easy to fit parts and pieces, but can stay at the same, or close to the same size. All they lose is the very much abused anyway claim to be a class b.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

I agree about the Ranger, the N6, and the other "Roadtrek Lite" models, they were just stop gap measures to try to sell something when the market went soft.
You're also right about some major builders adding more frills than function.
I think I'd rather have a quiet, efficient, 2-3KW generator (possibly engine mounted?) to power a smaller cabin/coach cooling system (closer to 7500btu), an extra battery (or two) with a decent 3KW inverter feeding all the coach's duplex outlets when the van isn't plugged into shore power, and maybe some solar panels and the associated hardware, than granite counter tops, recessed LED lighting, hardwood flooring, a fancy power fold up bed, a macerator in my holding tank discharge system, and the rest of the fluff that some of the "top end" builds add.

A decent shower system and/or enclosure that doesn't soak or steam clean the inside of the van with every use would be nice, too. I wonder how many potential buyers, both male and female, wonder where the bathroom/shower is in a class B? I've had some interesting looks and comments about that subject when I've explained my Roadtrek's systems for curious passers by. Again, would a newbie buyer notice that a small C (usually) has a dry bathroom area in it, while a B has a small water closet that is supposed to be part or all of the shower room, or simply a shower curtain in the aisle? It probably turns some folks off.

The other problem with the newer models since the introduction of the Sprinters, is the base cost of the chassis has increased. I'm pretty sure a base Chevy Express 3500 van or cutaway is/was probably priced a lot lower than it's Mercedes Benz counterpart. The Sprinter has changed the game for van conversion, but maybe not all the changes have been good for sales. Affordability and economy of scale were two of the reasons the class B started to increase in popularity. It may now be one of the reasons that the smaller class C, has seen a recent rise in popularity.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

Before the Sprinter and the "It has a Mercedes logo, so it is upscale" craze of the past several years, "B"s were not a race to see who can shove the most expensive rare countertops, heated flooring, or other relatively small amenities. The reason why the Ranger, and other stripped-down models didn't sell is because they are that -- stripped down models, sold as stripped down models.

I do think that a "B" upfitter that has some buying power and can buy either Promaster or Transit vans for a cut-rate will have a lot of success in a few years once the new vans have gone through their teething pains. RT, PW, etc. can duke it among themselves of who has the most bells and whistles, while another RV maker will likely make a killing selling decent units that are not stripped down, but might not have the indirect, color-changing LED lighting, or other frills that are not really needed. I tend to refer to Europe how they do motorhomes, and across the pond, they seem to sell to their version of "middle America", not just limit themselves to the high end market segment, with at best a bone to throw at everyone else.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

A Roadtrek dealer told me that Roadtrek had imported a Ford Transit from Europe a couple years ago to get a head start on designing that platform. I bet they will be one of the first to use the Transit when it is available. Time will tell if it will be less expensive though. There will definitely be more repair availability.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

On another site related to RT on Facebook, I remember there was discussion about the Transit, but there were issues about its CCC. The Ducato/ProMaster was apparently laughed off as something that won't last a year in the US. (Although, it has been selling in Mexico for quite a number of years now.)

Time will tell which way RT heads. They will have some stiff competition against Airstream on the upper end, and if they don't make a decent model (not an obvious "stripped down" offering with no shower) for the lower end, they might get caught in the middle.
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
........... the Ranger, the N6, and the other "Roadtrek Lite" models...............
I think some Roadtrek Ranger's might be considered "lite" but others are pretty much loaded. I remember a post on the RT Yahoo Group discussing that some were on a 3500 chassis and some were on a 2500 chassis. I don't know the accuracy of that.

Some Ranger's are equal to or better than the 2004 190P I had. You have to do your research on that one before buying to know exactly what you're getting particularly if towing something.
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

I don't think Roadtrek would go wrong if they make something on a Ducato or Transit chassis. It wouldn't be competition with the SS Agile, but it would freshen up their 190 Versatile line, perhaps even allow them to make a 170 Versatile, especially if they went with a cassette toilet which would allow them to engineer without having to worry about a black tank's positioning.

The Transits look interesting. I-5 diesel or an EcoBoost V-6 which has earned its feathers with the F-150 for the past several years. Either of those will lose HP far less than a normally aspirated engine when taking trips to higher elevations.
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Next step for Roadtrek..... Class C?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Class C shipments are up an incredible 40.1% year to date.
Class B shipments are down -0.4% year to date.
(through the first six months of 2013) Link:http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...tart=22#p15845

I can think of only five Class B manufacturers that only build Class B RV's:
Advanced RV
Great West Vans
New West (in Quebec, Canada)
Roadtrek
Sportsmobile

All the other Class B manufacturers offer additional units for sale in other RV categories. Of the five, Roadtrek would be most likely to start offering a Class C in my opinion. The other four are specialty companies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVBusiness MARCH/APRIL 2011
Will Roadtrek ever consider building Class C or Class A motorhomes?

“We always have thoughts, but don’t want to talk about future development plans,” Hanemaayer said.
Roadtrek always strikes me as being a company that wants to grow and be innovative. The Class B category seems to have hit a wall in terms of growth. Is diversifying into manufacturing other types of RV's the next step for Roadtrek?
i'd love a B. the wife says they are too small. i have to find the correct small class c. the winnebago trend looks like a possibility. must be gas.
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