Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. is unveiling a retro-look, tear-drop shaped, 16-foot travel trailer retailing “in the $12,000 range” designed to establish a new “Microlite” market category.
A modified version of a popular European trailer manufactured since 2001 by Germany’s Tabbert Caravan GmbH, Dutchmen’s all-new [email protected] – an acronym for “Taking America Back” – is tailored to “take America back to a simpler side of life when things were not as complicated,” reports Rich Florea, president of Goshen, Ind.-based Dutchmen, a Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary.
“We formed an exclusive strategic alliance to collaborate with them (Tabbert) on prints and engineering and as a supply source,” Florea told RV Business. “We are going to manufacture this highly engineered product here in the States. We have invested a significant amount of capital to build this product. The production process is unlike anything else made in America.”
In secret development for six months in a nondescript steel building along the Indiana Toll Road near Bristol, Ind., the single-axle [email protected] features LP and electrical systems modified for the U.S. market.
Florea says the new line will be marketed through a network of dealers independent from, but partly overlapping the company’s existing Dutchmen dealer body.
With an overall height of 7 feet 6 inches, the “Microlight” [email protected] can be stored in a conventional garage. Light enough to move by hand, it’s been fitted with a parking brake for storage purposes. And with an overall weight of around 1,200 pounds, the one-piece aluminum towable can be pulled by almost any vehicle on the road today, including cars as small as a Ford Mustang, PT Cruiser or Volkswagen Beetle without the added expense of complex brake controls or weight-distribution equipment.
“We’ve already shown it to a few dealers, and the response has been ecstatic,” said Florea, who expects the [email protected] to appeal to “Gen-Xers and younger Baby Boomers. It’s going to open up a whole new demographic of customers for most dealerships.”