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Ford motorhome chassis sales beat the market

Ford motorhome chassis sales beat the market

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Company has boosted production of its Class A motorhome chassis and introduced new options in response to growing consumer confidence and demand for recreation vehicles.

Total motorhome sales are up 13 percent year-to-date through May, according to data from Statistical Surveys Inc., a market analysis company specializing in the RV, marine and manufactured housing industries. Sales of Class A motorhomes are up 12 percent through May. Sales of smaller van cutaway-based Class C motorhomes are up 14 percent for the same period.

“Motorhome sales are cyclical, and correlate with improving economic performance,” said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst. “Like boats, homes and luxury cars, motorhomes – especially Class A – are big-ticket items, so when we see a continued upward trend in sales, it means people have far greater confidence to make a large, discretionary purchase.”

Ford leads both the Class A and Class C motorhome chassis markets, with a 63 percent share of the Class A market and 72 percent share in Class C chassis year-to-date through May, according to data from Statistical Surveys.

Ford motorhome chassis sales are outpacing the market, the company claimed. Total Ford motorhome chassis sales are up 16.5 percent year-to-date through May, compared to the 13 percent growth in total motorhome sales. Ford Class A motorhome stripped chassis sales are up 17 percent versus the total Class A market’s 12 percent, while Ford’s Class C van cutaway chassis sales, at 16 percent growth, are outpacing total Class C chassis sales gains by 2 percentage points.

Ford increased production of its F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis used for Class A motorhomes and commercial vehicle applications, such as parcel delivery, by 33 percent through the first half of 2014 to meet growing demand, the release noted.

“We believe we will see further growth as the industry continues to recover,” said Merkle. “Demographic drivers of this overall growth in the RV market include retiring baby boomers with more time for travel and leisure.”

Class A motorhomes are recreation vehicles built on a stripped truck chassis where the driver’s area is part of the living area. Ford supplies frame rails, suspension, powertrain and steering components to Detroit Chassis for assembly into motorhome chassis for customers like Winnebago and Thor Motor Coach. Prices for Class A motorhomes can exceed $150,000.

Class C motorhomes are built on a cutaway chassis consisting of frame, suspension, powertrain and cab. The living area is accessible behind the driver’s compartment. Class C motorhomes retail from $43,000 to $200,000, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Ford’s E-Series cutaway is the top chassis choice in this market, the company claimed. The all-new 2015 Ford Transit cutaway offers customers more options for lighter-weight chassis in Class C motorhomes, the release noted.

The introduction of Transit also gives customers additional choices for their Class B motorhome.

Commonly called “camper vans,” Class B motorhomes are built using OEM vans or panel trucks. They drive like a van, and retail for between $60,000 and $130,000, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Transit’s choice of three roof heights, two wheelbases and three powertrains gives customers the ability to customize their camper van cost-effectively, as choosing the high-roof Transit model eliminates the need to raise the roof or drop the floor of a traditional van, Ford explained.

“Transit versatility makes it a great fit for the motorhome market,” said Minyang Jiang, Ford brand manager for Transit, Transit Connect and E-Series. “While our E-Series cutaway will continue to address the heavier needs of the Class C motorhome market,Transit cutaway provides a lighter-weight option. And for camper vans, you can’t beat the high-roof Transit’s best-in-class interior height – passengers more than 6 feet 4 inches tall can stand upright inside.”

SOURCE: Ford Motor Company press release

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report.

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