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Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s senior management hopes the RV-buying public will embrace its “dramatically transformed” 2002 gas-fueled Class A motorhomes and other new model year products and help restore the company to profitability.

Because Fleetwood will not hold a national dealer meeting this year, the bulk of those new models either have or will be privately introduced to certain dealers at the company’s Riverside, Calif., headquarters, according to Carl Betcher, senior vice president of Fleetwood’s RV Group. In addition, Betcher added, some 2002 model units “will be taken on the road for show” this summer at selected RV dealerships.

“Our RV segment is making progress in product design,” said Nelson Potter, president and CEO. “And we’re confident that our new models will generate consumer excitement as they are introduced.”

Potter said Fleetwood’s new and more centralized Product Development Process (PDP) had led to “sweeping life-cycle changes” for several of the company’s motorhome brands.
Among key changes:

Fleetwood’s gas-fueled Southwind Class A, available to dealers in July, “has undergone its most comprehensive transformation since it’s introduction 32 years ago,” with “all-new exterior and interior styling and dynamic new floorplans.” The 32-37-foot Southwind, available with flush floor slideouts on Ford or Workhorse chassis, is now being priced below – rather than above – the Pace Arrow.

The 2002 Pace Arrow gas Class A, to be released later in the summer, will include “new flush-floor slideout models, new dynamic decors and a startling level of new innovative features.” Also on Ford and Workhorse platforms, the Pace has new front and rear caps, floorplans and graphics.

The Bounder Diesel, introduced during the middle of this month on a 300-horsepower Freightliner chassis, is “still practical, but with dramatic new decors and graphics.”

Most of Fleetwood’s other 2002 model year diesel lines are to be unveiled at the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) summer convention in mid-August in Redmond, Ore. The higher priced American Coach entries, the Heritage, Eagle, Dream and Tradition, are to be mounted on Spartan chassis with new decors that, on some models, will feature vinyl ceilings, lighted air conditioning plenums and upgraded interior halogen spotlights. A new Fleetwood diesel brand, the Revolution, positioned “in the heart and volume of the diesel market” also will be introduced during the FMCA rally.

Seventy percent of the 2002 Tioga and Jamboree Class C motorhomes available this summer will feature “the Class C segment’s first 5,000-pound towing hitch.” Fleetwood’s new minimotorhomes, in general, will have fewer exposed exterior fasteners, and a new 26Q floorplan will boast 110 cubic feet of storage that is accessible on three sides.

Midline versions of Fleetwood’s mainstream Prowler, Wilderness, Terry and Mallard towables will sport optional fiberglass front caps, while manual slideouts are to be replaced by electric-powered slides.

The entry-level Pioneer towable series introduced late last year will have a more aerodynamic front profile for 2002.

ABS caps will be offered on all ultralight fifth-wheels.

A floorplan sporting “an innovative functional fireplace” is being added to the Avion high-line fifth-wheel series for 2002.

Later this year, Fleetwood plans to roll out a production version of its “NexGen” concept Class A first shown to the industry at last year’s Louisville Show. The “NexGen,” on Ford and Workhorse chassis, will be “attractively priced to appeal to the younger buyer (30 to 45 years old) who leads an active lifestyle,” Potter said.