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Old 12-08-2009, 11:02 AM   #1
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Spartan Introduces New Class in RV Platforms at RVIA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LOUISVILLE, Ky., December 1, 2009 – A new class of RV – a specialty chassis integrated with a custom cap or cockpit – is debuting today at the 47th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, KY.

Spartan Chassis, Inc., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPAR), is set to debut the company’s latest innovation, the Next Generation Platform (NGP), a new class in RV platforms (Booth # 2024 – East Hall). Spartan has filed a patent for the first-of-its-kind highline RV cap and chassis design which provides the quality and performance of a premium automotive platform with increased flexibility for fully customizable interiors and exteriors. Spartan said optional Coach-Ready Platforms are also available featuring a variety of OEM options for chassis integration.

The development of the NGP was based on research conducted by Spartan which provided insights into the RV buying process. The research confirmed that the exterior of a vehicle excites the potential buyer and draws them inside the unit, but it is the features of the interior floor plan that typically closes the sale. In addition, the primary decision maker for the purchase is the female – like with many premium consumer products – and, not surprisingly, her main focus is on interior styling and features.

The NGP integrates more components into the chassis configuration with an emphasis on functions that are critical to operating the vehicle but that are unimportant to the buyer. This reduces chassis-prep and engineering for RV OEMs and allows them to concentrate on customer-facing priorities such as the exterior design and interior floor plan. By offering OEMs the ability to choose from an extensive menu of available options for the front, middle and rear sections, motorhome makers have the freedom to design a vehicle to their exact specifications, yet still achieve faster model changeovers and increased speed to market for new designs and product features.

“Like every other consumer category, the RV marketplace is constantly evolving as customers look for the latest body styles and new approaches to interior layouts, making it more important than ever to adapt quickly as styles, trends and desires change,” said Tom Gorman, Chief Operating Officer of Spartan Motors.

“The front driver’s section, everything below the floor, and rear-engine sections all require a significant amount of engineering time, but the research has shown these things don’t drive the purchasing decision. The NGP moves the non-floor plan area to the chassis builder, enabling the OEM to focus on the areas important to the customer.”

The final step of the buying process is the test drive, where ride performance and drivability are keys to confirming the buyer’s decision. Inspired by Spartan’s popular Furion fire truck chassis design, the Spartan NGP features a powerful rear diesel engine chassis and independent front suspension. Options including a smart wheel, tilt/telescopic steering column, adjustable pedals and six-way adjustable electric seats ensure a premium cockpit experience. Spartan said it expects to introduce a front engine configuration of the NGP in the fourth quarter of 2010, adding an even greater level of customization.

“In a marketplace where there are more than 100 OEMs, a low cost to enter, and the business is hypercompetitive, products must and will change fast,” said Gorman. “With Spartan absorbing a significant amount of responsibility, the NGP enables an OEM to enter and compete within the motorized segment with a minimal time and financial commitment. This new approach even makes it possible for a dealer to partner with an OEM to create their own private-label product, something that previously would have been extremely difficult due to the costs involved.”

RVIA (December 1-3, 2009) is the preeminent trade show for the RV dealer market bringing together suppliers, dealers, and other industry representatives each year to showcase the latest RV technology and new models.

About Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc.
Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc., (Spartan Motors, Inc.) a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPAR), designs, engineers and manufactures custom chassis, specialty vehicles and truck bodies and aftermarket parts for the outdoor recreation/RV, emergency-response, defense, delivery and service markets.

The company’s brand names – Spartan™, Crimson Fire™, Crimson Fire Aerials™, Road Rescue™ and Utilimaster® – are known for quality, value, service and being the first to market with innovative products. The company employs approximately 1,500 at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Indiana and Texas. Spartan reported sales of $844.4 million in 2008 and is focused on becoming a global leader in the manufacture of specialty vehicles and chassis.

For more information: Spartan Chassis Inc.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:26 PM   #2
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Spartan Chassis | Everything's Riding On It.

neat concept
pictures make the front end interface look very nice, no more odd box gaps

i would love to drive it as it sits, i bet a wheelie is easily done
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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The concept certainly is sound.

Kerry
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:43 PM   #4
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There's more information located in "My Blog"

New Class by DriVer
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Old 04-10-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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DriVer: Has any RV manufacturer actually bought this chassis and working on an RV?
The 202" wheelbase (as described) seems short for the proposed weight.
Just asking.

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Old 04-10-2010, 08:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by two-niner View Post
DriVer: Has any RV manufacturer actually bought this chassis and working on an RV?
The 202" wheelbase (as described) seems short for the proposed weight.
Just asking.
Kerry, I have not seen any OEs build on this rail although they may be out there. One of the problems that was presented to me recently was, "identity". I don't know of a manufacturer out there that is willing to have their NGP "ABC" motorhome look exactly like NGP "XYZ" motorhome looking at the rig from the front because that what's going to happen since Spartan is only delivering it would seem 1 front cap.

About the short wheelbase, not so much of a challenge. Lots of folks are looking for shorter and smaller. Grant it, a 202" is small. What you will get is a Toby Keith motorhome chassis on steroids!
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:05 AM   #7
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I see the door is on the driver's side. It does look like there's a cutout where there would be a door on the passenger side a little further back.

If you can get a quality product for less money, I think it will work. I'm sure devoting capital to end caps is not somthing that most motorhome companies enjoy.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriVer View Post
..... One of the problems that was presented to me recently was, "identity". I don't know of a manufacturer out there that is willing to have their NGP "ABC" motorhome look exactly like NGP "XYZ" motorhome looking at the rig from the front because that what's going to happen.....
Right on the money Mike!

Like some say, floorplan sells the model, but identity sells the make!

Great cost saving idea for the mfg, but for this to succeed, Spartan should offer proprietary custom cap design. (There would only need to be 5-6 options)
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:42 AM   #9
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Great cost saving idea for the mfg, but for this to succeed, Spartan should offer proprietary custom cap design. (There would only need to be 5-6 options)
I expect that you are absolutely correct!

Now since Fleetwood RV is exclusively Spartan, they would be able to capitalize on the NGP.
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