June '17

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14 • RV PRO • June 2017 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S have the oldest footprint. Company founder Bob Tiffin launched his first pusher around 1980 on an Oshkosh chassis. After a hiatus, Tiffin re-entered the market around 1990 with the Allegro, still on an Oshkosh. When Freightliner bought Oshkosh in 1995, Tiffin became a Freightliner customer, and when the Freightliner-Oshkosh partnership ultimately dissolved, Tiffin stayed with Freightliner. "We've always been building them but didn't do great with them," Tim Tiffin concedes. "We got our act together in 2000 (with the Phaeton) and began concentrating more on diesel." Today, 55 percent to 60 percent of all Tiffin Class A's are diesel, Tiffin estimates. Tiffin says that retail sales so far in 2017 are on par with 2016's performance. If all industry sales are flat, as the early 2017 data from Stat Surveys would suggest, Tiffin blames rising prices as the culprit. "The price point that diesel pushers have gone to has priced a lot of people out of the market," he contends. He reckons the number of dealers carrying pushers has declined, as has the number of manufacturers. The RV maker solves that price creep dilemma with the 32-foot Allegro Breeze – the shortest diesel pusher on the market. The Breeze retails for around $240,000 and offers many of the features found on the company's highline products. "It's a very niche product. It's not cheap, but it's less expensive than the Allegro RED or the Phaeton," Tiffin notes. As for his competition for his highline models, he says he sees four major competitors: Newmar, Jayco Entegra, Win- nebago and REV. Tiffin is unique in the diesel business given that it builds the Phaeton, Allegro Bus and Allegro Breeze on its own in-house PowerGlide chassis. The RV maker launched the PowerGlide in 2007 – right before the market crash. At first glance, the timing for a new product introduction in a downturn wouldn't seem to be a good idea. On the contrary, "at the time it was a pretty good decision," Tiffin says. The industry downturn "gave us time to develop the chassis." Building its own chassis, he says, gives Tiffin "a little freedom to experiment and explore. We've come out with some cool stuff." For example, the PowerGlide chassis uses an innovative multiplex system that requires significantly less wiring, which translates into fewer problems, according to Tiffin. The PowerGlide chassis is warranted for three years or 50,000 miles against structural defects in materials and workmanship on the chassis, drive train and suspension, five years or 100,000 miles for the Cummins ISV5.0 V8 engine and five years or 200,000 miles on the Allison transmission. Tiffin concedes that "everybody does a lot of similar things" in the diesel pusher business. What sets Tiffin Motorhomes apart from the competition, he says, are his company's strong dealer base, a good customer following (many of whom have owned three or four Tiffin products), a five star warranty, good service record, and a parts inventory that goes back some 20 years. Tiffin also touts that the RV maker has received the RV Dealers Association's DSI Quality Circle Award 16 times since 1996. Putting the diesel pusher market in perspective, Tiffin har- kens back to the early part of this century "when Monaco, Fleetwood and Winnebago were pumping out big numbers of diesel pushers. There were more diesel pushers sold then than now. Back then, they were more affordable." Then came the crash. Tiffin touts the 32-foot Allegro Breeze as the shortest diesel pusher on the market. While it's shorter and less expensive than other Tiffin diesel pushers, it still comes standard with plenty of amenities.

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