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A narrower, superlight travel trailer designed by Airstream Inc. for the European RV market will debut this weekend at the National Boat, Caravan & Outdoor Show in Birmingham, England.
The European Airstream initially will be marketed in Great Britain, but the company expects to expand into Germany and Holland within the next 18 months.
“It should be a good business for us,” said Airstream President Bob Wheeler, who plans to attend the opening days of the show. “It’s all demand and no supply over there.”
The European Airstream, which will have the aluminum-skin appearance of the “Classic” American version, initially will be available in 22- and 27- foot floorplans with GVWR ratings of 3,527 and 4,800 pounds, respectively. A third floorplan will be available later.
“It is a lot lighter,” said Wheeler, noting that the SUVs towing many American RVs generally are not available in Great Britain and Europe. Most vehicles there are powered by 6-cylinder engines.
“The weight is critical to make it broadly towable by a large number of British and European vehicles,” Wheeler said.
Trailer weight was reduced by making the unit narrower – 7 1/2 feet – laminating the floor and using ultra-lightweight cabinet materials. The European Airstream also will be built on a lightweight German-designed tapered frame that is bolted together as opposed to being welded like Airstream’s American products.
The European Airstream will be assembled at the builder’s main factory in Jackson Center, Ohio, and shipped to Liverpool, England, where it will be upfitted with appliances that meet European codes. Its interior will be outfitted in a fashion similar to the company’s highly modernistic International CCD.
“It’s basically an International with its look and feel, although the floorplans will be different than our domestic trailers,” Wheeler said. “The beds will be in the back, versus the front, for example.”
Wheeler said Airstream has never designed a trailer specifically for the European market, although a “gray market” in older, classic Airstream trailers exists overseas.