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In what is believed to be a first-ever offering of a Chinese-built recreational vehicle, United Recreational Vehicles LLC has begun to distribute the iCamp Elite, a tear-drop shaped travel trailer, and the iCamp Lite, a fold-down camping trailer, to the North American market.
Sales Manager Robert J. Suppa said dealers have placed nearly 100 orders for the travel trailer after seeing the product debut, most recently at a private hotel showing during the 44th Annual National RV Trade Show, Nov. 28-30 in Louisville, Ky. He expects the first shipment of units to arrive in the U.S. in mid-December.
The 15-foot laminated iCamp Elite weighs 2,890 pounds fully loaded and comes equipped with a one-piece modular bathroom, kitchen, queen-size bed, flat-screen TV, 12-gallon fresh water tank and 15-gallon gray water tank, a roof-top air conditioning unit and 12,000-BTU furnace. The trailer has an optional digital audio/video system and Apple’s iPod connection for both audio and video entertainment.
Fifty-one percent of the components are American-made, said Suppa, including brands like Dexter and Dometic. The trailers are assembled in a factory near Beijing. MSRP for the iCamp Elite is around $17,000, and it comes with a one-year “bumper-to-hitch” limited warranty.
Suppa said he is targeting to sell between 500 and 700 Elites in 2007.
The iCamp Lite LX converts into a spacious three-room, 6-sleeper tent with two beds and one living area. A furnace and portable toilet are optional in the LX, which weighs 1,337 pounds and retails for $5,593. Suppa plans to market the LX beyond the traditional RV market to include kayakers, canoeists, hunters and fishermen. “We are in perfect positions to sell thousands of these,” he said.
Suppa, who spent the last six years of his 25-year sales career in the recreational vehicle arena, says he hasn’t encountered resistance to his products based on the fact that they’re built in China. Dealers, he maintains, like the color schemes (blue and sunshine yellow), the iPod connection option and the final finish aspects of the units.
United Recreational Vehicles LLC. is the registered and sole U.S. representative for CenTech Specialty Vehicles Co. Ltd. in the U.S. The company’s chairman, Alan Wang, told RV Business that the products were well received in Louisville and he looks forward to serving the North American market. Wang said he conducted a two-year study of this market before introducing his products here, and he’s already is selling a similar lineup in Australia.
CenTech was formed in 1995 and is the largest specialty vehicle and RV manufacturer in Asia and produces more than 160 different types of specialty vehicles. CenTech passed ISO 9001/2000 certification standards in 2003.
Suppa projects the product will take 44 days to ship to the West Coast and slightly longer to the East Coast.