FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Workhorse UFO™ brings a wave of new choices to motor home buyers
UNION CITY, IN November 28, 2006
"” 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. The new Workhorse UFO™ chassis is generating a wave of new choices for RV consumers.
An early indication of those changes came with the announcement that Monaco Coach Corporation was building its Holiday Rambler Vacationer and Monaco LaPalma models on the Workhorse UFO™ and would introduce floorplans with rear living rooms. Forest River also promised new floorplans for its Georgetown models built on the Workhorse UFO™, and other manufacturers are expected to announce similar plans in the near future.
The flat floor enabled by the Workhorse UFO™ chassis (Universal Floorplan Option) eliminates the usual protruding rear engine and cooling system that manufacturers must build around (usually with a rear bedroom floorplan) with a rear diesel pusher. A completely flat floor provides a new degree of floorplan flexibility.
By allowing the choice of either a rear gas or diesel engine (Universal Fuel Option) in the same footprint, identical coaches can be built on either a diesel or gas engine (Universal Footprint Option), enabling buyers to focus on choosing the floorplan they want first, then "checking the box"¯ as to whether they want a gas or diesel engine.
"This is something RVers have told us they want,"¯ said Bob Wert, Workhorse vice president of sales and marketing, who cited extensive Workhorse research that indicates more than 70 percent of current motor home owners would prefer a rear engine motor home, while more than 50 percent of them would prefer a gas engine. Sixty-six percent of all current motor home owners said they would consider buying a rear engine gas motor home.
The advantages of a rear engine include less cabin noise, less cabin heat, and, without the front-to-back drive shaft, less vibration and the opportunity to build in pass through basement storage. The front rather than mid entry door is also a plus for floorplan variety, and the lack of a "doghouse"¯ engine cover in the cab makes it easier to move in the cockpit.
Test drives praise performance
Along with these advantages, extensive test drives this fall generated uniform praise from RVers for the ride, handling and performance of the chassis.
Said Ted Trostle (FLYTYER)
, State College, Pa.: 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. That's how I feel about the 8.1. I'll classify it as a 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."¯
Nick Cutter, Wharton, New Jersey: "I was looking to move up into a diesel, but seeing this "” I may change my mind because it gives you the pluses of a diesel in a gas coach. ... I think the drive is much better in this, even than the Workhorse I have, which is a new model. ... You can drive it one-handed very easily if you wanted to."¯
Dealer representative Marc Ferry, Stoltzfus RV's and Marine, West Chester, Pa.: "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."¯
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 for the chassis. 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 Workhorse UFO™ to a 28,000 lb. GVWR diesel pusher 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.
At the same time, the lowered engine and the new, proprietary front and back suspension contributes to the Workhorse UFO™'s exceptional ride and handling. "We've eliminated the choice RVers often have to make between a better riding versus a better handling coach,"¯ said Wert. "You have to drive it to believe it, there's no compromise with the Workhorse UFO™ chassis."¯
A 55-degree wheel cut makes the motor home more maneuverable in tight spots than any gas chassis, and is comparable to the best [/b]
diesel chassis available today. The drivetrain uses an Allison Series 2000 six-speed automatic transmission that includes Transmission Grade Braking, ultra protective synthetic transmission fluid, standard push-button shifter and a 5-year, 200,000-mile transmission warranty.
The Workhorse UFO™ also boasts a new cool pack configuration developed by Workhorse. Cooling was a concern with the previous rear gas chassis, but the Workhorse UFO™ has been severely tested in 116 degree Fahrenheit conditions in Death Valley and successfully met all testing standards.
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 whole concept of a universal fuel option that enables a flat floor is a game-changing breakthrough. It creates an entirely new category of motor home,"¯ said Wert. "We've always been 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 is going to give RVers a lot of 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