Right now my father and uncle are in Louisville, KY supporting the family business (shameless plug!) at the National RV Trade Show, where Ford recently announced a new chassis called the F53 Super Duty for Class A motor homes. For those not mired in the inner workings of the recreational vehicle industry like myself, this is a big deal as Ford supplies 69% of all gas-powered Class A motor home chassis in the country and 34% of the entire Class A market when diesel pushers are also taken into account. It's also the leading chassis supplier in the Class B and C segments, as well. And despite high gas prices and a wonky economy, the RV industry continues to grow because, well, an RV is one of the coolest big boy toys you can buy.
This new chassis for flat front RVs can be ordered up with a maximum GVWR of 26,000 lbs., which means it can be packed with more amenities than ever before. And with motor home manufacturers continuing to evolve their designs with things like multiple slide outs, higher quality materials like granite and real tile, as well as new consumer electronics like heavy plasma TVs, the need for a stronger chassis is definitely there. Whether or not the same 362-hp Triton 6.8L V10 is up to the task of pulling all that weight is another question, but it's gonna try. Ford also claims to have improved ride, handling, steering and NVH levels for this Class A chassis, though we can attest that once you load on the body and all your creature comforts from home, every motor home shakes, rattles and rolls like an aging hipster down the road.
[Source: Ford, The Detroit News]
FORD MEETS RV GROWTH WITH MOST CAPABLE MOTORHOME CHASSIS EVER
Ford introduces the most capable motorhome chassis to meet growing demand for larger RVs with more features and amenities.
- Ford adds most capable RV chassis ever to America's best-selling motorhome chassis lineup to meet consumer needs for larger RVs with more amenities.
- Ford F53 Super Duty Class A motorhome lineup boasts best-in-class 362 hp and 457 ft.-lbs. of torque from the proven 6.8-liter Triton™ V-10 engine.
- Improved ride, steering and NVH makes long trips more enjoyable while extended service intervals and quality legacy should reduce down time.
LOUISVILLE, Kent., Nov. 27 – Celebrating the growing popularity of RVing and the increasing luxury RV market, Ford introduces the most capable motorhome chassis to the new 2008 F53 Super Duty Class A lineup that has been fully re-engineered for better driving dynamics, more diverse offerings and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. The new chassis borrows heavily from the industry's most capable heavy-duty truck – the new 2008 F-Series Super Duty – and was proven out on many of the F-Series "Built Ford Tough" truck durability tests to improve on the Ford RV's 25 percent quality advantage customers reported in Ford surveys.
Ford offers the best-selling RV chassis in both the Class A and Class C (E-Series chassis) markets. The launch of the new package options in Class A expands Ford's F53 Super Duty Class A lineup to six offerings, ranging from the "tailgater's special" 16,000-pound gross-vehicle weight rating (GVWR) chassis through the new capability leader, 26,000-pound GVWR chassis, that gives builders the opportunity to offer the most advanced, most luxurious RV bodies yet.
Ford's new 24,000-pound GVWR package firmly settles into the heavy class of motorhome chassis, one of the fastest growing RV class segments. Going one step further, the new 26,000-pound GVWR package sets a new best-in-class marker for motorhome chassis capabilities, providing a stunning 30,000-pound gross combined weight rating.
"Ford's new heavy-duty F53 Super Duty chassis allows customers to continue bringing more of their home to their home on wheels," said Shelly Smith, marketing manager, Ford F53 Super Duty motorhome. "Motorhome builders are adding more luxurious amenities such as granite countertops and slide outs so we met the challenge with the most capable RV chassis ever."
Components such as the new heavy-duty steering system, class-leading Dana rear axle and suspension, increased capacity front axle and suspension, four-wheel anti-lock brakes and 50,000-PSI (pounds per square inch) ladder frame are all integral components to provide class-leading capabilities, ride comfort and predictable handling.
The 6.8-liter Triton™ V-10 engine's best-in-class 362 horsepower and 457 foot-pounds of torque provided help support the largest motorhomes with plenty of power on the highway. The powerful engine is mated to Ford's exclusive and proven TorqShift® automatic overdrive transmission.
The new, high-end F53 models also features a new, more robust steering system with a new steering gear that, combined the new suspension, improve ride and handling. Steering and handling are complimented by the 50-degree wheel cut (increased from 42 degrees) for a tighter turning radius. Specially tuned stabilizer bars, Bilstein shocks and higher-capability front and rear springs make the ride more comfortable.
"We engineered the top-of-the-line F-53 models to provide the same steering precision, ride comfort and quietness as the rest of the lineup – just at much higher loads," said Laurie Call, chief engineer, F53 Super Duty. "We think the driving dynamics and comfort, combined with our quality record, will lead to more customers demanding Ford chassis from their dealers."
Ford will launch an unprecedented marketing campaign with a strategic shift of emphasis to retail customers from the previous campaigns centered on motorhome dealers and builders. Even though Ford doesn't sell to retail customers, the goal is to build awareness of Ford's leading motorhome product innovations and reinforce its quality heritage so retail customers specifically request F53 models from dealers.
Ford is the RV leader with the widest number of offerings, including new products in all three classes, A through C, for the 2008 model year alone. Ford F53 Super Duty chassis are America's number-one-selling Class A motorhome chassis, while Ford's E-series is the top-selling chassis for the high-volume Class C market thanks to the widest range of product offerings. Ford also remains the Class B leader with the E-Series serving as the most popular conversion van.
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.