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General Motors Corp. is looking to increase its market share in the Class C motorhome segment by offering a cutaway chassis with a 19,500-pound gross vehicle weight (gvwr) rating to the RV industry.
In doing so, GM leapfrogs Ford Motor Co., which began producing a 19,000-pound gvwr version of its E-550 cutaway chassis in the spring.
At the National RV Trade Show in Louisville last week, General Motors Izuzu Commercial Truck LLC displayed the Kodiak C5500 chassis, which has a 19,500-pound gvwr. Production of the C5500 for commercial vehicles began in June and production of the cutaway version began in Flint, Mich., in September, said Jeff Meyer, manager of vocational marketing for the GM subsidiary.
The cutaway version of the C5500 comes with a Duramax 6.61 diesel engine and Allison 1000 five-speed transmission. An 8.1-liter V8 gas engine also is available. It has the same engine/transmission as the Workhorse W22 gas Class A motorhome chassis, Meyer said.
In the case of diesel Class A’s, the engine is in the rear of the coach because of the noise it produces. However, in the case of the front-mounted Duramax diesel in the C5500 cutaway, Meyer said, “You can’t tell the difference (between the diesel and a gas engine) as far as noise is concerned.”
The C5500 chassis at Louisville had a 152-inch wheelbase, but up to a 233-inch wheelbase is available, which means it could be used for a 33- to 34-foot motorhome, Meyer said.
GM is “looking to make a move” in the Class C segment , which has been dominated for years by Ford because it offered significantly higher gvwr chassis, Meyer said.
Prior to the introduction of the C5500, the largest Class C chassis offered by GM had a 12,300-pound gvwr, he said.
As is the case with Ford, GM believes the higher gvwr cutaway chassis could “blur the distinction” between Class C’s and smaller Class A’s, Meyer said.