The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Thu Jan 18, 2018
Author: Julie Baxter
Jayco Inc. and Spartan Specialty Vehicles have teamed up on the new Embark luxury motorhome, marking Jayco’s entry into the type A rear-engine diesel pusher segment.
The Embark, according to the companies, is “designed to meet consumer demand for a premium, more accessible package for younger RV buyers, as well as customers looking to drive a smaller coach, while remaining on the premium motorhome foundation.”
Brion Brady, general manager of Jayco Motorized, says the Embark is an exciting debut for the company.
“It really gives us an opportunity to catch a young, professional buyer that doesn’t want to go up into the higher price levels, but they still want that feel of a luxury type A diesel pusher,” he says of the Embark, which has an MSRP of $280,000 to $290,000.
“We want to go after mid-level price point, but we want to offer features like independent front suspension,” Brady says. “There’s no other manufacturer at that price point doing independent front suspension, nobody else is on a Spartan chassis.”
The 37-foot coach, unveiled at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, is built on the all-new Spartan K1 chassis with a 360 HP Cummins B series engine. It features independent front suspension and Bilstein 46mm shocks. Those, combined with the shorter wheel base, add up to greater maneuverability, says Steve Guillaume, president of Spartan Specialty Vehicles.
“With this coach, it is a shorter wheel base, so it’s a little easier to maneuver, especially around town. It does have independent front suspension, that helps with the wheel cut, or the maneuverability,” he says, adding that maneuverability is a big draw for customers purchasing their first type A diesel, to whom the Embark is designed to appeal.
“The other thing, just the pure ride and handling really improves the overall experience with the coach, so it helps with fatigue on highway trips. You’ve got a chassis that holds the line, is smooth, takes bumps easier, it allows for a more pleasurable driving experience on trips,” Guillaume says.
That attention to user experience is paid throughout the Embark, with amenities such as the galley kitchen complete with residential refrigerator with ice maker and water dispenser, induction cooktop, convection microwave oven, solid-surface countertops and stainless steel sink. It also features an entertainment system with 50-inch LED TV and sound bar in the living room, a 32-inch LED TV in the bedroom and an exterior 39-inch LED TV, along with a Versatouch Lyra command center with app, and choice of three exterior paint options and two interior décor options.
Spartan also made sure the coach had enough horsepower (360 HP) and torque (800 foot-pounds) to meet users’ needs, Guillaume says. It also has an Allison 3000 series transmission, which provides better towing capacity, he says.
“With that higher output transmission and engine, we’re able to get a 10,000-pound rating for towing, which is pretty significant because customers can really tow any size trailer and certainly any tow vehicle, including large SUVs,” he says. “It can handle anything the customers want to tow.”
The Embark also features Spartan’s exclusive side-mounted service center, which provides easy, one-point access to all filters, batteries, circuits, fuses and the like, which means customers and service techs don’t have to crawl beneath the coach for access. The rear-mounted radiator and charge air cooler also provide greater ease of access.
Also important is delivering top-notch service and support, not just for the warranty period but for the life of the coach, Guillaume says.
Spartan aims to provide the “Spartan experience” via its more than 280 motorhome specialized service centers across the United States, and a service support call center manned by staff that have experience on the tech or engineering side, Guillaume says, so “you’re getting somebody on the phone who can help with the resolution of the problem.”
An interactive mobile app that includes a service center locator and key service center contacts who can be reached via phone or email with a click, a full list of diagnostic codes, warranty registration and ties to upcoming events, such as Spartan’s annual weeklong service training academy for owners.
Spartan’s commitment to service was a key factor in the partnership for the Embark, Jayco’s Brady says.
Jayco, too, enhances users’ experience and comfort level with its limited two-year warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance.
Spartan has a longstanding relationship with Entegra Coach, whose parent company is Jayco, and the relationship and expertise gained from it also will come into play for Embark production, which will be built on the Entegra line, Brady says.
The Jayco dealer base, as well as the customer base, has been seeking a type A diesel-pusher option from the company for a while, Brady says.
“When you get in the Jayco family, you can even start down at the travel trailers, fifth wheels, the get into class Cs, class A gas, but then you’re done, you don’t have anywhere to go. So, anybody who owns a Jayco and loves the Jayco family, but they want to go to a diesel, they can’t,” Brady says. “So, this is a great opportunity for our customer base and our dealer base, who haven’t had the ability to sell against these other manufacturers with diesel pushers can now have some ammunition and some tools to go against them.”
Jayco was very purposeful in what it is offering in the Embark, Brady says.
“We only build quality. Just like in our class Cs and our class A gas, we’ll never be the least expensive in the marketplace, but we’re going to offer more benefits to the customer at a value price,” he says. “The independent front suspension, the tow hitch, Allison transmission, those are normally reserved for the $350,000 to $400,000 range, but we’re going to take those few features and put them into this one, but yet we don’t go overboard with furniture and granite countertops and the frills.”
“We stayed pretty modest. But in those really key features as to why people buy a diesel, we hit those in there,” he says. “We gave them the meat and potatoes of the meal. So, we really hit a price point where we gave them some really good features that you can’t get on anything else.”