In addition to the long-anticipated debut of the Hymer Touring GT and Eriba Retro ultra-lightweight travel trailers, Erwin Hymer Group North America Inc. (EHGNA) surprised attendees during a special dealer meeting this week at the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas with the rollout of two Jeep-branded RVs. (To view a slideshow scroll to the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page.)
With hundreds of dealer personnel in attendance – a contingent responsible for retailing about 85% of the OEM’s production units – EHGNA officials said they were extremely pleased with the turnout as well as the response to the European-inspired travel trailers and the upfitted Jeep Wranglers branded as the Cliffride FE4 and Escape 365.
“We have a fantastic group of dealers who joined us together here for this event in Vegas and rolled out some great new products that may redefine some areas of the marketplace,” said Jim Hammill, EHGNA president and CEO. “And we’re particularly pleased that we were able to pull off a genuine surprise with the Jeep. Everybody was aware the trailers were coming – we’ve been talking about those for some time now – but the Jeeps stunned everybody. No one knew those were coming.”
The Cliffride FE4 resembles a four-door Jeep Wrangler with an integrated truck camper, highlighted by a pop-top roof that opens up for a spacious bed for two adults and 6 feet, 8 inches of interior height. Below and behind the front seats, the Jeep converts into a bed for two more adults. While the unit on display was a prototype, production models will also feature a small rear dinette, galley, refrigerator, microwave, cassette toilet and entertainment center. A host of off-road features immediately serves notice the FE4 is rugged and ready for adventure. An FE2 model is also in development, officials noted.
While the FE4’s roof-mounted bed is accessible from the interior, a ladder is necessary to reach the pop-top bed on the Escape 365, which also offers a more subdued, but just as capable, off-road package. The Escape 365 is equipped with a 12-volt cooler/refrigerator and two-burner portable camping stove.
The Cliffride and Escape 365 vehicles – as well as four non-RV, specially outfitted Jeep Wranglers – were all developed with Cliffride/American Fastbacks Inc., an Ontario, Calif.-based company EHGNA acquired last year. Both the Cliffride and Escape will be RVIA-labeled, officials noted.
Retail pricing on both of the Jeep-branded units, as well as the Hymer Touring GT and Eriba Retro were still being determined, said Mike Snell, EHNGA’s vice president of sales and service, noting that both single-axle towables were drawing plenty of attention.
“They are two very different looking trailers; same floorplan, but different woods, different colors, different exteriors and interiors. And they’re only 2,100 pounds, which is unheard of for a 19-foot trailer in this market,” Snell said. “They’re very European looking — no staples, no caulking. There’s just simply nothing like it in the marketplace today, both in weight, look and style.”