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Old 08-14-2019, 03:19 AM   #1
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Default Rapido's Plans for Roadtrek

This interview of the Rapido executive responsible for Roadtrek reveals some of the plans.

Some highlights:

They are going to drop the Popular models, but keep the other six
They plan to get master upfitter status with Mercedes
They plan to move forward with the Ecotrek battery system
They are working for a retrofit for the second row seats that have been recalled
They are focused on getting the Roadtrek brand back into the market for 2020
They are looking at a new model based on the Ford Transit - perhaps for 2020
They expect 99% of the dealer network wants to remain with the Roadtrek brand

Elsewhere he said their target for starting manufacturing was October but it may slip to November
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:44 AM   #2
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Good news (except for the Popular models which is not a surprise).

I wish them luck!








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Old 08-14-2019, 03:55 AM   #3
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They expect 99% of the dealer network wants to remain with the Roadtrek brand
Wants to remain? Really? All these dealers are now dealers for Pleasureway, Coachmen, WGO, Airstream et al. They got snake bit by RT and had to sell off RT coaches at a loss. You seriously think Rapido is going to recapture market share in a cake walk?
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:57 AM   #4
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"8. How many of the previous Roadtrek dealers have signed-on to carry the Roadtrek Inc. products? (Canada and US)
We have overwhelming interest from prospective new dealers in addition to what appears will be over 95% return of our existing dealer body."

95% is good but most likely very optimistic. I am surprised that Rapido will continue ECO lithium disaster, if I would be in their shoes, I would run away from the name ECO and start a well engineered system under a different name.

I still hope that Mike Reuer, CEO of the Westfalia Division of Groupe Rapido will become CEO, proven experience with Westfalia's full revival.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:10 PM   #5
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I've never figured out the "popular" term with Roadtrek. When one ordered a 170 or 190, one had the option to have one or two or no 2nd row seats. Whenever someone posts on a board that they have a popular, my first question is... which one? 170 or 190 or what? Meaningless term...

Anyway, sad to see them go, but makes sense with the added expense of cutting off tops and putting a new one on... and giving cabinetry options. Not to mention how wishy-washy GM has been for years on how much longer it would be available.

Since they are dropping the Simplicity line, I hope that they plan to expand the options on the Zions... allowing purchasers to lower the price and get rid of the problematic and expensive things like the power steps or painted bumpers.

I also hope that they consult with the well-informed owners, of particularly Aktiv rigs, who have spent the last few months re-setting, re-wiring, and basically trouble shooting the EcoTrek system... along with Nations Starter, the battery maker, and some independent and dealer techs.

If they are going after MB status again, they will likely have to dump the voltstart system.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:02 PM   #6
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"I've never figured out the "popular" term with Roadtrek. When one ordered a 170 or 190, one had the option to have one or two or no 2nd row seats. Whenever someone posts on a board that they have a popular, my first question is... which one? 170 or 190 or what? Meaningless term..."

mumkin, I'll try to explain.

First the Popular had a third seat while the Versatile had 4 seats. roadtrek offered storage solution options for both the Popular (an armoire) and 4th seat with the Versatile, forget the term. Later a wet bath was offered with the 190P rather than seat and/or storage, something like the 210 I suppose.

I found some of the interview answers 'odd' at best. If the new outfit wants to know the truth, whole truth, etc. they can easily learn/know it, if they choose to. The reason I found some of the answers odd as some of the 'truth' was ignored or deliberately not included/addressed.

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Old 08-14-2019, 05:39 PM   #7
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I think his answers are perfectly appropriate for a company who bought the Roadtrek brand and some of its assets and has no responsibility at all for EHGNA or anything it did, does or doesn't do. He makes it pretty clear that to the extent he cares about those things at all its how they will reflect on the Roadtrek brand in the future.

As for the dealer network, dealers who were making lots of money selling Roadtreks are likely eager to do that again. None of the dealers around here sold exclusively Roadtreks to begin with. Roadtrek generated a lot of traffic. Even if Roadtreks were out of people's price range, they could turn them into buyers for less expensive brands or sell up for people who wanted something with more space etc. I think its important to remember, they bought the Roadtrek brand to build their company, they aren't building a company to serve the Roadtrek brand.

Given lower production, Rapido doesn't have to immediately restore Roadtrek's market share in order to restore the brand. He seemed to think the question of market share to start with is going to be limited more by how many units they can produce, than the number they can sell. At least that was his response when asked about expanding the dealer network.

In fact, their marketing strategy may include limiting production to make Roadtreks difficult to get for both dealers and customers. They may well see the new Ford Transit units and Rapido's existing European RV brands taking market share at the lower price end. They bought the Roadtrek brand to expand their company's market, they aren't building a new company to serve the Roadtrek brand.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:37 AM   #8
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mumkin, I'll try to explain.

First the Popular had a third seat while the Versatile had 4 seats. roadtrek offered storage solution options for both the Popular (an armoire) and 4th seat with the Versatile, forget the term. Later a wet bath was offered with the 190P rather than seat and/or storage, something like the 210 I suppose.
In other words, the term still makes no sense at all. 3 or 4 seats or not or wardrobe or armoire or not... or a larger bathroom... or not. A term that deserved to be dropped. LOL Future buyers of the used models will just be more confused.

But as he said, they didn't sell enough of them to make it worth keeping any of the models.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:09 PM   #9
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In other words, the term still makes no sense at all. 3 or 4 seats or not or wardrobe or armoire or not... or a larger bathroom... or not. A term that deserved to be dropped. LOL Future buyers of the used models will just be more confused.

But as he said, they didn't sell enough of them to make it worth keeping any of the models.
mumkin, I did try and simplify it for you. Maybe I should have also included bench/bed size with popular vs versatile.

Ok, maybe it made some sense back a couple of decades ago, but agree a new B shopper today might be wondering.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:04 PM   #10
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But as he said, they didn't sell enough of them to make it worth keeping any of the models.
I think Roadtrek did not sell enough Chevy Roadtreks in recent years because 1. They said they had a hard time getting the vehicle from GM (probably true) 2. they didn't advertise them very well, 3. the cost got out of hand, 4.they didn't make them easily available to the dealers; they were built to order according to Jim Hammill.

The European inspired unibody vans are great and now mainstream US made with Ford and Chrysler. But there are many that would like good old-style American iron. My HVAC guy has a fleet of Express vans. I asked him what he would buy today and he said more Express vans.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:25 PM   #11
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I've had rigs on the Ford E-350, one on a Chevy 3500 (cab/chassis), one on the 2500, and now a Promaster. The last is the best... by far... love the front wheel drive... love the interior space, but still a Class B. Having the ability to do the conversion without cutting off the top (or the whole rear) and replace seems a no-brainer of a decision for Rapido.

The gas Promaster was really the death of the Chevy RTs. Roomier and cheaper...the market decided pretty quickly. Common sense quickly showed that the Chevy market is now pretty small and restricted to companies like Sportsmobile or GTRV.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:37 PM   #12
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I think Roadtrek did not sell enough Chevy Roadtreks in recent years because 1. They said they had a hard time getting the vehicle from GM (probably true) 2. they didn't advertise them very well, 3. the cost got out of hand, 4.they didn't make them easily available to the dealers; they were built to order according to Jim Hammill.

The European inspired unibody vans are great and now mainstream US made with Ford and Chrysler. But there are many that would like good old-style American iron. My HVAC guy has a fleet of Express vans. I asked him what he would buy today and he said more Express vans.

I ran into one of the pipe fitters from the company that handled the fitting and serious plumbing stuff, plus gas burner and control work at my last work place before retiring in 2013. He was driving a new, but old school, Ford cutaway van, E350 SRW with a box not much larger than the old Ford E350 vans that they had in 2013. He said his company doesn't want anything to to do with the new vans and especially duallies. They load them heavy in their business and often tow a big manlift or small backhoe with them, so they are worked hard. I think Ford may have made the smartest move in changing the vans to the Transit unibody style for the mass market of delivery, up to 12 person passenger vans, conversions, etc, but keeping the big engine single or dual wheel old school cutaways for the heavier duty work. It looks like they only offer the 6.7L V10 and 6.2L flex fuel V8 in them now.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:05 PM   #13
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I've had rigs on the Ford E-350, one on a Chevy 3500 (cab/chassis), one on the 2500, and now a Promaster. The last is the best... by far... love the front wheel drive... love the interior space, but still a Class B. Having the ability to do the conversion without cutting off the top (or the whole rear) and replace seems a no-brainer of a decision for Rapido.

The gas Promaster was really the death of the Chevy RTs. Roomier and cheaper...the market decided pretty quickly. Common sense quickly showed that the Chevy market is now pretty small and restricted to companies like Sportsmobile or GTRV.
I agree the new models are better in most, but not all regards. Our Roadtrek 210 is just what we want, and there is nothing else like it. I would say it is a Class B "little +". That little bit of extra width, exterior storage, and the layout sold it for us. Many 190 owners would not want anything else either. Regarding sales here are the Q2 2019 statistics:
Ford Transit 41,265
Chevrolet Express 21,528
GMC Savana 9,503
Ram ProMaster 13,393

US Vehicle Sales Figures By Model | GCBC

So GM still outsells Promaster by 2.5x.

Not sure what we would get if ours died. Maybe another 210, but the Promaster certainly is nice also. Now if someone made a slightly wider shell and layout similar to the 210 that would be nice (hint to Rapido). Cost would probably be prohibitive though.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:11 PM   #14
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I agree the new models are better in most, but not all regards. Our Roadtrek 210 is just what we want, and there is nothing else like it. I would say it is a Class B "little +". That little bit of extra width, exterior storage, and the layout sold it for us. Many 190 owners would not want anything else either. Regarding sales here are the Q2 2019 statistics:
Ford Transit 41,265
Chevrolet Express 21,528
GMC Savana 9,503
Ram ProMaster 13,393

US Vehicle Sales Figures By Model | GCBC

So GM still outsells Promaster by 2.5x.

Not sure what we would get if ours died. Maybe another 210, but the Promaster certainly is nice also. Now if someone made a slightly wider shell and layout similar to the 210 that would be nice (hint to Rapido). Cost would probably be prohibitive though.

There was a smallish semi wide body coming out, but they seem to have disappeared. Don't know if the ever even delivered any. EcoGreen or some name like that IIRC, based on the smaller streamlined passenger bus body. I wish we have had a chance to see one in person.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:43 PM   #15
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There was a smallish semi wide body coming out, but they seem to have disappeared. Don't know if the ever even delivered any. EcoGreen or some name like that IIRC, based on the smaller streamlined passenger bus body. I wish we have had a chance to see one in person.
When I first saw a Winnebago Trend several years ago I wondered if someone would make a similar but smaller "B little+" or "semi-wide body" unit. Occasionally there are articles on European units that are built on a chassis cab frame but are not big like the Trend or other US types. I would think there would be a good market for such a vehicle in the US, and Rapido may be just what is needed to make it happen. Others that could make one would be Leisure Travel Vans, Coach House, or possibly Pleasureway.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:05 PM   #16
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Rapido says it is focusing on the best selling models. I am sure they are basing that on actual sales figures. If you are trying to reestablish Roadtrek as a quality upscale brand with cutting edge technology and modern design, I don't think the "popular" line fits very well. They seem to me to be more smaller versions of class C's, while the modern lines are smaller versions of class A's.
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:07 PM   #17
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I think its important to remember the old Roadtrek's product line left it in bankruptcy. Thor didn't bail just because of reports of "irregularities", but because those reports indicated Roadtrek wasn't a going venture. If it had been, there would have been companies lining up to buy it.

Rapido is starting with a blank slate, but if they followed the same business model they would likely end up with the same results. Focusing on the high sales, high value part of the product line makes sense. It appears, unlike Hymer, they have a clear idea of what they are doing. Or at least they aren't going to repeat the same mistakes.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:14 PM   #18
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I never questioned GM management decision to divorce Opel/Vauxhall but did see a potential lost opportunity of bringing to NA the European style Movano tall van https://www.parkers.co.uk/vans-picku...vano-facelift/ Time will tell.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:45 PM   #19
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Just about every upfitter dropped the Chevy's because they couldn't get them. They are probably right in dropping that line and eventually taking on the Transit.

Question? Are there any models now with three true windows?

Observation: I see they assembled an executive team but did not announce a CEO. Do you think the CEO is already on board or did they select the team before a CEO? Odd that a CEO would not have input if not already selected especially with essentially an all new company.

Prediction: The current line up including the Etrek technology will only be stopgap to re-establish the company. I think they will have a fairly rapid conversion once they get a handle on what they have and learn the north American market. There are way more better options in lithium batteries and systems than what they will inherit.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:52 PM   #20
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.........................
Prediction: The current line up including the Etrek technology will only be stopgap to re-establish the company. I think they will have a fairly rapid conversion once they get a handle on what they have and learn the north American market. There are way more better options in lithium batteries and systems than what they will inherit.
I agree, just need someone understanding the issue.
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