Airstream Inc. and Four Winds International Corp., subsidiaries of Thor Industries Inc., which announced its intention this week to buy Class A motorhome manufacturer Damon Corp., have not been idle in the area of product development.
Airstream, which in 1980 was the first RV manufacturer purchased by Thor under the leadership of Chairman Wade F.B. Thompson, conducted its national dealer meeting July 27-28 in Columbus, Ohio, where it introduced a new Class B motorhome on Daimler Chrysler’s Sprinter van chassis.
Four Winds, perhaps best known as the supplier of Class C motorhomes to national RV rental firm Cruise America, introduced the 2004 version of its Mandalay diesel-pusher Class A motorhome during the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) International Convention near Buffalo, N.Y., July 18-20.
Airstream will market the Sprinter-mounted Class B under the brand name Interstate, said Dicky Riegel, Airstream’s president.
The Interstate is powered by a 156-hp Mercedes-Benz diesel engine that is matched with a five-speed automatic transmission. Its gross vehicle weight rating is 8,500 pounds and the Interstate’s retail prices will begin at $75,000, Riegel said.
Daimler Chrysler is not currently offering a cutaway chassis version of the Sprinter, so Riegel does not believe it is conducive for use as a Class C platform at this point. However, he said Airstream has “a group of customers hungering for a replacement Class B.”
At Four Winds, the goal is to become a full-line motorhome manufacturer, and the company took a big step in that direction when it introduced the 2003 Mandalay during the Louisville show in December, said Four Winds Sales Manager Dana Simon.
The 2004 Mandalay comes with a standard 350-hp Caterpillar engine and Allison 3000 series automatic transmission, with independent front suspension, full-body paint and 38- and 40-foot, double-, triple- and quad-slide floorplans.
Retail prices for the 2004 Mandalay begin at $195,990.
The dealer and retail demand for the 2004 Mandalay has been “really, really encouraging,” Simon noted.