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Old 10-28-2006, 02:41 PM   #1
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Default Airstream Dropping Westfalia Class B Line

Airstream Dropping Westfalia Class B Line


Airstream's Westfalia Van Camper
Bob Ashley
RV Business
Thursday, October 26, 2006

Airstream Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, will cease upfitting and distributing the imported Westfalia van camper after its contract with DaimlerChrysler Motors Corp. LLC expires at the end of the year.

“We decided jointly with DaimlerChrysler that we will not go forward,” said Airstream Chairman Larry Huttle. “Everything was very amicable, and we will continue to produce the Sprinter-based Interstate and Parkview motorhomes.”

The Westfalia, sold since 1995 in Europe by DaimlerChrysler under the Jack Cook name, has been distributed in the U.S. by Airstream since 2003. Finished coaches are shipped from Europe by boat to the port in Jacksonville, Fla., and upfitted to meet U.S. electrical and plumbing codes and then sold through Airstream dealers.

Huttle said that total production since 2003 has been about 240 coaches, and that Airstream will finish 39 remaining units by the end of the year.

The Westfalia generally was more expensive than other Sprinter-based products sold in North America, although it slept four and was the only Sprinter-based Class B with a 7-foot ceiling due to Westfalia's proprietary high-top roof.

“It’s a nice product, but it didn't work for us, although I've got a handful of dealers who are doing well with it,” said Huttle, adding that Airstream will continue to provide warranty service on the Westfalias sold in North America.

Airstream intends to expand its production of the Sprinter-based Interstate and the less-expensive Parkview van campers on the new Sprinter chassis that is expected to be released in North America early next year, Huttle said.

“From what I understand from the preliminary information I have is that it will have almost a thousand pounds more GVWR, more horsepower and more torque, and a 3.0-liter versus a 2.7-liter diesel engine, with a gas-engine option,” Huttle said.

Currently Class B and C motorhomes built on Sprinter chassis in North America feature GVWRs up to 10,200 pounds.

The new Sprinter chassis also will have wheel bases both shorter and longer than the 140 inches and 158 inches now available, Huttle said.
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