The campers are being designed in conjunction with Ford engineers to offer a companion RV for the automaker’s 2015 aluminum-bodied F-150 truck – a bold revamp of the nation’s top-selling pickup that trimmed up to 700 pounds in overall weight.
“It’s exciting to work with a company as prestigious as Ford and bring their iconic brand name back into the RV industry,” said Scott Tuttle, founder and president of Wakarusa, Ind.-based Livin’ Lite which was acquired by Thor Industries Inc. in August of 2013. “The model is currently being prototyped and we are anticipating a debut at the end of March.”
Tuttle reported that Livin’ Lite would oversee the production, distribution and sales of the Ford-badged truck camper.
“Livin’ Lite is the exclusive manufacturer of the truck campers and we will be selling them through our network of RV dealers,” he said. “This includes some Ford automotive dealers who are also RV retailers. The marketing of the Ford-branded RVs will be a joint effort between Ford and Thor Livin’ Lite, and we can expect to see the truck campers receiving some very prominent spots in Ford’s marketing in the future.”
Tuttle stressed that Livin’ Lite, which made its mark in the industry by building towable RVs that are typically 30% lighter than the competition, was a natural fit for the “groundbreaking design” of the new generation F-150 trucks.
“All the reviews about the F-150 that I have read, and continue to read, are very positive,” he said. “One review called the vehicle the most significant breakthrough in automotive technology in the past 20 years – including the Chevy Volt. It is radically different than the steel-constructed trucks of the past, which is essentially the same path we took when Livin’ Lite was founded.”
Plans are to grow the selection of Ford-badged RVs throughout 2015, according to Tuttle. The timeline includes truck campers rolling out by the end of the first quarter; travel trailers and toy haulers by the end of the second quarter (June 30); and fifth-wheels in the third quarter in time for the Elkhart County Open House. “It is still undecided whether or not we will introduce a tent camper with the Ford branding into the marketplace,” Tuttle noted.
The collaboration with Ford represents an extension of Livin’ Lite’s marketing strategy to mine partnerships outside the RV industry, most notably an ongoing Jeep camper program.