November '19

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58 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S pean mindset, we always think about diesel because almost every RV over here is built on a diesel engine. We really don't have experience on the gas engines." Here's where the Rapido management will put its trust in its dealer network for a key start-up decision. Reuer indi- cated the Roadtrek sales staff, headed by 30-year industry veteran Len McDou- gall, head of sales and service, would sample dealer thoughts at the Elkhart Open House and take the input back to Cambridge, where a final choice will be made. Production on the Transit Van chassis of choice would launch in time for the fall 2020 show season. "If we want to be successful again … we cannot sit apart from the market and from the customers. The dealers are the ones talking to the customers every day," Reuer says. Roadtrek representatives have already spoken with many of the 290 dealers who carried the brand before the former company's operations shut down and they generally seem eager to rejoin the network, according to Reuer. The Rousseaus' presence at the Elkhart Open House surely helped the company transi- tion away from the challenging past year. Reuer hoped to have MSRPs on all 2020 Roadtrek models in place by Open House Week. Why the delay? WESTFALIA: COMING BACK TO AMERICA? As the general director for Rapi- do's Westfalia brand (along with his responsibilities overseeing Roadtrek), Mike Reuer is invariably asked: Will the company bring the Westfalia product back to North America? His succinct answer is: Yes – at some point down the road. Westfalia was a well-known brand in North America in the 1960s and 1970s. From 2004 to 2006, Airstream upfitted and distributed imported Westfalias that were built in Germany by Daimler- Chrysler AG and imported to the U.S. by its Dodge Division. The Westfalia gen- erally was more expensive than other Sprinter-based products sold in North America, although it slept four and was the only Sprinter-based Class B with a 7-foot ceiling due to Westfalia's propri- etary high-top roof. Rapido showed a current version, marketed as the James Cook West- falia model, at the Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf in September. Promobil, a German outdoor recreation magazine, has named the James Cook "Camper Van of the Year' on multiple occasions. Somewhat cautiously, Reuer says that "it's not unrealistic" that the brand could make its way to North America. As a plus, he notes Westfalia and Roadtrek are not in competition with each other. "For the time being, let's get the Roadtrek portfolio up and running again," Reuer stresses, again reminding all that Roadtrek needs to walk before it can run. However, in the same breath, he adds, "Two years from now, we would like to reintroduce the Westfalia to North America and produce them in the Roadtrek factory as well. That will include the James Cook model on the Sprinter base, but it also may include some Pro Master-based models we are building here." Stay tuned. Pictured here is the interior of the Roadtrek CS Adventurous with the new Magnolia Cream interior color palette. The motorhome features a 7-cubic-foot refrigerator, a microwave oven and a two-burner stove. The CS Adventurous is built on the Mercedes- Benz Sprinter chassis.

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