Luxury motorhome manufacturer Blue Bird Corp., Macon, Ga., is participating at more consumer RV shows this winter to support its Wanderlodge M380, a more mainstream motorhome positioned at the lower-end of the highline motorcoach price range.
The Wanderlodge M380 is a 38-foot diesel pusher Blue Bird started shipping to an expanded dealer base in September.
With a base retail price of $350,000, it represents Blue Bird’s effort to become more competitive in the highline segment of the conventional motorhome market.
“We are trying to come down into a much larger market,” said Bryan Hays, director of RV sales and marketing. “Blue Bird has not had a vehicle in this segment of the market.”
Blue Bird’s existing Wanderlodge XL and XLi luxury buses typically range in price from $550,000 to $850,000.
After debuting in March 2002 at the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) Winter Convention in Perry, Ga., Blue Bird, a major manufacturer of school buses, displayed the M380 this month at consumer shows in Pleasanton, Calif., Tampa, Fla., and Boston.
Since the M380 was introduced, Blue Bird has increased the number of Wanderlodge dealers from five to eight, and intends to add two to four more.
“We’ve got a significant backlog right now, with a good percentage of it in retail,” he said.
The M380, powered by a 400-horsepower Cummins ISL turbo diesel engine, is built on a custom chassis developed by Blue Bird in partnership with Arvin/Meritor. It has a fully integrated body and chassis and specially designed suspension.
Two single-slideout floorplans have a double-slideout option and wallpapered interiors feature solid-surface countertops in the living room, kitchen and bedroom and oak cabinetry with carpet-lined shelves.
Release of the coach was delayed until this past September while production was fine-tuned, according to Hays. “The production learning curve took a little longer than planned,” Hays said. “We wanted to make sure the design and quality were correct.”
Hays said Blue Bird plans to build 100 M380s by Oct. 1 and to offer the M380 in a variety of lengths beginning next year.