DEC 22, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
<span class="ev_code_RED">Test drives offered to public at Florida RV show; early Web sign-up encouraged.
Click on the UFO Graphic
Visitors to the Florida RV Supershow Jan. 17 to 21 will have an opportunity to test drive a Class A (bus-style) motor home built on the unique new motor home chassis that's been drawing rave reviews in test drives across the country.
Workhorse Custom Chassis, a leading manufacturer of motor home chassis, will display its all-new rear-engine Workhorse UFO™ platform during the show at the Florida State Fairgrounds (Booth 145). Those wishing to take a test drive of a 36-foot Forest River Georgetown model built on the Workhorse UFO™ can reserve a time now by going to Test Drives In Tampa
Visitors to the Workhorse booth can also sign up during the show. However, two public test drives at fall RV shows saw most times booked well in advance, as interest in the new chassis is high.
More than 400 RV dealer representatives have also driven the new chassis at dealer events and individual dealerships throughout the fall, with post-drive surveys exceptionally positive.
"Our other chassis drew positive comments when they were introduced, but nothing like this,"¯ noted Bill Walmsley, Workhorse RV marketing manager. "Whether it's the quietness of the rear gas engine, the sharp turning radius, the lack of roll, the brakes, the acceleration "” across the board it's drawn extremely positive comments from anyone who has driven it."¯
"Because of the Workhorse UFO™, 2007 will see significant changes in motor home floor plans and in the way RVers think about front- and rear-engine Class A motor homes,"¯ said Walmsley. "The Workhorse UFO™ chassis is generating a wave of new choices for RV consumers."¯
Presently, the majority of front-engine Class A chassis are gasoline-powered, while rear-engine chassis are all diesel-powered. In both cases, the engines protrude above the floor line. This creates a hump between the passenger and driver seats to crawl over in a front-engine motor home, and protrusions that are usually covered by a high-off-the-floor bed and cabinets in a rear-engine motor home.
The Workhorse UFO™ provides motor home buyers a choice of a gas or diesel rear engine (UFO = Universal Fuel Option) with the same coach floorplan. In addition, the configuration of the Workhorse UFO™ also enables coach builders to use a completely flat floor with either enginr, thus eliminating the need to build around a protruding engine and creating a greater variety of floorplan options, such as a rear living area, previously unavailable on rear-engine chassis (UFO = Universal Floorplan Option).
The initial Workhorse UFO™ model has a gas engine, which many find attractive because it is less expensive than a diesel while providing the benefits of a rear-engine configuration. These benefits include less cabin noise, less cabin heat, and, without the front-to-back drive shaft, less vibration and more pass through storage underneath the floor.
However, what test drivers are raving about is the exceptional ride, handling and performance of the chassis. "We wanted to make a chassis that was easier to drive and which felt safer to drive,"¯ said Walmsley. "The Workhorse UFO™ eliminates most of the roll people experience turning corners in a big motor home. It combines great acceleration, maneuverability and stopping power with a very stable and comfortable ride."¯
Test Drives Bring Praise
Typical post-drive comments vouch for that assessment:
"I'm very impressed with the way it steers, the way it handles, the way it rides. It's not just rear engine. I especially liked the rear coil springs. I'll classify it as rocket. ... I was greatly impressed in a tight spot in the parking lot. I can't believe I made that turn in the front row. I really think they've made a wonderful chassis."¯
Ted Trostle, State College, Pa
"The first thing that impressed me was the handling of the coach. You can actually take your hand off the steering wheel and still go straight. The handling through the turns was unbelievable, no body lean whatsoever. The quietness of having the engine in the back was great. Overall, a Workhorse chassis with a rear-engine gas is just unbelievable."¯
Ronald Seyfried. Jim Thorpe, Pa.,
"Interesting drive. I think my regular car takes the corner worse than this did due to the roll. I have to go back to one of the manufacturers and see if they are signing up for this.
This particular coach you don't have the step up to the engine cover that you usually see. You don't have to climb over something to get into the seat anymore.
The power and the pick up on the gas unit that we tried was excellent."¯
Lee Hulbert. Johnstown. N.Y.
"I think this is a great idea. The driving and handling was great. The responsiveness of the chassis was amazing. I haven't seen a better driving coach in a long time. I compared it to some of the biggest names in diesels and, to be honest with you, it outperformed a lot of the entry level diesels."¯
Dealer representative Marc Ferry, Stoltzfus RV's and Marine, West Chester, Pa.
Since its introduction in late summer, three coach manufacturers have announced plans to build models on the Workhorse UFO™, including two all-new offerings from Winnebago Industries "” the Winnebago Destination and the Itasca Latitude. Forest River is also currently building its Georgetown model on the chassis and Monaco Coach Corporation will be soon building its Monaco LaPalma and Holiday Rambler Vactioner models on it. Other unannounced manufacturers are in various stages of integrating the chassis into their motor home lines.
Dealers On The Bandwagon
Dealers across the country have been clamoring to know more about the Workhorse UFO™ and Workhorse is expecting significant orders from those affiliated with the coach builders who have announced their intentions so far. The gas version of the new chassis has been steadily rolling off the Workhorse assembly line since early September. The diesel version will be introduced in late spring.
More than 210 dealers this fall requested sales training from Workhorse regarding the Workhorse UFO™ and Workhorse conducted an additional 400 to 450 test drives at these dealerships, said Andrew Brengman, Workhorse director of dealer sales.
"They've been eating it up,"¯ said Brengman of the dealer reaction to the Workhorse UFO™. "Everyone's looking for a new edge to generate sales, and they really like this concept. Also, everyone's impressed with how well the chassis performs."¯
Beats Air Brakes
Part of that performance, alluded to in test drive comments, is the extra-responsive brakes. They are Quadraulic™ four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes that outperformed the competition's air brakes in recent tests. Head-to-head comparisons of the rear-gas 26,000 lb. GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) Workhorse UFO™ to a 28,000 lb. GVWR diesel pusher chassis also loaded to 26,000 lbs. showed the Workhorse UFO™ achieving a complete stop from 60 mph a full 49 feet sooner than the diesel pusher with air brakes.
At 26,000 lb. GVWR, the gas powered Workhorse UFO™ is 2,000 pounds lighter than existing 28,000 lb. GVWR diesel chassis, giving the Workhorse UFO™ the same carrying capacity as the latter at a significantly lower price tag. What's more, gas engines provide savings in maintenance costs versus diesels. With less mass to move, the 8.1L GM Vortec™ gas powerplant can also outperform equivalent diesel engines. The diesel Workhorse UFO™ will also have more carrying capacity than existing 26,000 lb. GVWR diesel platforms.
Another of the significant advantages mentioned by everyone who has test driven the gas-powered Workhorse UFO™ is how much quieter it is in than comparable front gas motor homes. "Because of the rear-engine configuration, the quietness when driving this chassis is a dream come true,"¯ said Pat Carroll, Monaco vice president of product development.
Compared to existing diesels, the gas Workhorse UFO™ is much more affordable. This will be especially true in 2007 when all diesel platforms will experience upward cost pressure as they incorporate changes to meet new, more stringent emissions standards.
A Game Changer
"¯The Workhorse UFO™ is a game-changing breakthrough. It creates an entirely new category of motor home,"¯ said Walmsley. "We consider ourselves the customer's advocate for more and better motor home choices. Those choices have just multiplied with this single chassis. The Workhorse UFO™ is a new category of motor home chassis that gives many new and veteran RVers what they're looking for."¯
Workhorse Custom Chassis
Workhorse Custom Chassis is ISO 9001 certified and a leader in the manufacture of chassis for motor homes, walk-in trucks and buses. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Truck and Engine Corporation. International produces IC brand school buses, school bus chassis, mid-range diesel engines, International brand medium and heavy trucks, and severe service vehicles. International also provides parts and service sold under the International® brand. Both Workhorse and International are subsidiaries of Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV)
. For additional information call 877-294-6773 or visit Workhorse.com