Say “g’day mate” to Swagman Motorhomes, the Australian motorhome builder owned by Cummins Inc.
Although it is not widely known within RV industry circles in North America, Cummins, the key supplier of diesel engines to the motorhome sector, has owned Swagman since November 1999.
Additionally, Monaco Coach Corp.’s Roadmaster chassis assembly operation in Elkhart, Ind., is Swagman’s primary source for chassis, according to John Wrightman, Swagman’s general manager.
Swagman was founded in 1984 and Cummins’ South Pacific business unit decided to buy it a little more than three years ago because the company is “a profitable stand-alone business that provided Cummins South Pacific with immediate opportunity to further develop their market share of engine sales into the Australian RV market,” Wrightman said.
Swagman continues to be a “commercially viable division and operates as another Cummins company,” he added.
Currently, Swagman is Australia’s market-share leader in Class A motorhomes and it “plans to grow the business both nationally and internationally to 100 units per year,” Wrightman said. “Currently, 70% of all motorhomes sold are Cummins-driven.”
Although the motorhome market in Australia is “in its infancy,” Wrightman said, it has many of the characteristics of the U.S. market.
Unfortunately, Australia’s population is relatively small, only 20 million people, compared with 280 million in the U.S.
However, Wrightman said, “Swagman has enjoyed a three-fold increase in unit sales over the past three years. Swagman is manufacturing and focusing its marketing on luxury and livability, which has attracted new people to the market. Typically, these are in the Baby-Boomer generation, financially secure, empty nesters looking for a change in lifestyle.
“Since the events of September (2001) and now more recently closer to Australia (the bombing in Bali, Indonesia), people are thinking twice about where they want to travel,” Wrightman continued. “Australian roads and highways have and are continuing to improve at an accelerated rate and so too are the RV-allied facilities.
“With this renewed focus to tour Australia, the motorhome trip across Australia will become as popular here as it is in the U.S.,” he believes.
Last month, Swagman introduced a 40-foot dual slide version of its Australian Dream. It comes with a 350-horsepower Cummins ISC engine.
Swagman’s other brands are the Australis and the Australian Dream Executive.
Roadmaster supplies Swagman with right-hand-drive chassis, the opposite of what is used in North America, Wrightman added.
Since July, Swagman has sold its motorcoaches directly to consumers and it has incorporated its national sales center into its 158,000-square-foot manufacturing complex in the village of Labrador, near Brisbane.