Fleetwood-Spartan Divorce

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Steve CDN

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CHARLOTTE, Mich., March 10  According to a press release by Spartan  they announced that
Fleetwood RV is not renewing Spartan's agreement to supply entry-level chassis
for its 2006 model year products, which will result in the loss of certain
Fleetwood business beginning in the third quarter of 2005.
   
Spartan supplied chassis for Fleetwood's Providence, Excursion and Revolution 2005 models, which began
production in August 2004.  This business represented approximately 10 percent of Spartan's net sales in 2004.  While this business will
conclude, Spartan said it will continue to supply chassis for Fleetwood's highline motorhomes.

Our American Dream is built on a Spartan Chassis, and I have always been impressed by the quality of their customer support.

Is  your motorhome built on a Spartan chassis and what has been your experience?  Why would Fleetwood drop Spartan?
 

Ron

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Our American Eagle is also on a Spartan Chassis and we have nothing but excellent support from both Spartan and American Coach.

Why would Fleetwood drop Spartan?????  I would not to even venture a guess.  I often wonder what some of the big companys are thinking when the devert from a reliable supplier.

 

Steve CDN

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Ron,

Could it be they are getting something else, less expensive?? Have not seen any reports of which company is getting the contract...but can they compete with Spartan quality?
 

Ron

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If I was to speculate I would think they may be looking at Freightliner maybe as a carrot to smooth any ruffled feathers since they started using Freightliner as well as Spartan then dropped Freightliner in the American Caoch line.  I don't think many American Coaches were built on the freightliner chassis during that short period of time.  I have real knowledge as to the reason for Fleetwoods actions this is just my specultion.
 

BernieD

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Steve said:
Is your motorhome built on a Spartan chassis and what has been your experience? Why would Fleetwood drop Spartan?

Steve

The coach builders switching chassis suppliers has been going on for a very long time. For a long time, Freightliner had all of Fleetwood's diesel chassis business except for the American line and even had American's chassis business when the Liberty chassis was first introduced. The builders switch because of price, availability, perceived factory support (Newmar went exclusive with Spartan for it's upper grade models last year when Freightliner didn't provide an onsite sales rep like Spartan does) and who knows what other reasons.

What is kind of interesting was that when Newmar offered both chassis on the Dutch Star, the Spartan chassis was about a $5-7,000 premium, but a lot of people were willing to pay it. I do not know what all the differences were in supplied components, but Spartan may have had IFS and a Cummins engine and the FL a solid front axle and a CAT engine.

Our first coach had a FL chassis and we were very pleased with the performance and service provided. Our current coach has a Spartan chassis and we are very pleased with the performance and service provided. We do prefer the FL Chassis Owners' Club to the Spartan Chassis International Club. :D :D :D
 

BernieD

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Steve said:
Ron,

Could it be they are getting something else, less expensive?  Have not seen any reports of which company is getting the contract...but can they compete with Spartan quality?

I would be very surprised if it wasn't Freightliner, they had the business before and there isn't any other major chassis builder available for FW's volume. As I posted before, I have not found any significant difference in quality or factory support between the 2 chassis in the 2 coaches we have owned. We even thought that the FL had a slightly better ride and handling for equivalent chassis when we did our shopping in 2002.
 

Ron

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It may very well be a matter of available supply and/or cost considerations.  I guess they are not required to provide explanations on what they do. :)
 

blueblood

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The new FW President (Smith)  said in a  conference call that they were able to strike a good deal with FCCC. This is his comment taken from his news conference with financial analysts.  ?We found a supplier who was more competitive and have been able to strike quite a favorable situation with a company we consider to be a reliable and quality manufacturer.?
 

Giles

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Planning to have a MH built. For same price I can get a Spartan or a freightlinner chassis. Which seems the best ?  Giles.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It's sort of a Ford vs Chevy thing - there is no significant difference between equivalent models from the two, though occasionally one will introduce a new feature and have an slight advantage until the other matches it (usually quite quickly).  Both offer the same selection of  engines and transmissions and equivalent suspension features, both have good rep for customer service, both have service available nationwide and both have active owner's clubs.  Freightliner is the largest single supplier of diesel motorhome chassis with about 50% of the market, if that means anything.

When buying through a coach manufacturer, though, you have little say over the actual configuration of the chassis. You get what the coach manufacturer specifies when he orders the chassis, so you want to find out how each of them is configured in the coach you have selected. If there is some chassis configuration item you feel strongly about, you may be able to get the coach manufacturer to order a particular chassis for your rig.

If you aren't an afficianado of chassis specs/components and have no particular preference, you may as well flip a coin.
 

BernieD

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Giles said:
Planning to have a MH built. For same price I can get a Spartan or a freightlinner chassis. Which seems the best ?  Giles.

The 3 major differences in chassis (not necessarily between these chassis manufacturers) are rear radiator vs side, independent front suspension vs solid front axle and turning radius. If both chassis are similar and have the same engine, as Gary I would flip a coin.
 

Giles

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Thank you all for the answers; planning to order a Tiffin Phaeton or Bus, and Tiffin offers both; a sales lady and her chassis specialist in Atlanta told me 2 days ago that thay recommend Spartan over Freightliner as being stronger built; Freightliner has independant front suspension, I don't know about Spartan although likely. That is why I was asking.  Giles.
 

BernieD

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Giles said:
Thank you all for the answers; planning to order a Tiffin Phaeton or Bus, and Tiffin offers both; a sales lady and her chassis specialist in Atlanta told me 2 days ago that thay recommend Spartan over Freightliner as being stronger built; Freightliner has independant front suspension, I don't know about Spartan although likely. That is why I was asking.  Giles.

Giles

The Spartan has IFS and side radiator, at least on the Bus, not positive on the Phaeton. Spartan had been making both standard on all models but I understand that it is coming out with a lower cost chassis with solid front axle for some lower priced models.  Make sure that the Phaeton on Spartan has IFS and a rear radiator. What engines come with the 2 chassis and 2 models?
 

Joe Bee

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2007 Phaeton not available with IFS.
Standard with the Allegro Bus
Joe
 

Zycon

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BernieD said:
Giles

The Spartan has IFS and side radiator, at least on the Bus, not positive on the Phaeton. Spartan had been making both standard on all models but I understand that it is coming out with a lower cost chassis with solid front axle for some lower priced models.  Make sure that the Phaeton on Spartan has IFS and a rear radiator. What engines come with the 2 chassis and 2 models?

Why do you recommend the rear radiator?
 

Ron

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Having had both a rear radiator rig and now a side radiator I sure couldn't rcommend a rear radiator.  But then that is what makes life interesting all these choices.
 

Giles

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I pulled the brochures on the Phaeton and Allegro Bus.
The Bus has Freighliner/Spartan chassis, with a Cummins 400 Engine/Side radiator; IFS is standard. This is valid for the 40 QDP, 40QSP, 42  QDP and 42 QRP.
The Phaeton has  a freightliner chassis, a CAT 350 engine, no mention of side or rear radiator, no mention of IFS; valid for the 40QDH and 40QSH model.
Thank you for the corrections, I will be more careful whne I go back to the dealers.
How important is the IFS ?
 

BernieD

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Zyconinc said:
Why do you recommend the rear radiator?

Fat fingers, meant side radiator.

Giles, with the Bus, I'd flip a coin. you'd get a good chassis/engine package with either. The Phaeton package is a lot less expensive, in all likelihood with a solid front axle and rear radiator. The CAT engine also has a lot less torque than the Cummins ISL, 860#/ft vs 1200. The solid front axle can give you as small a turning radius as the IFS but it doesn't ride as well and is a little rougher handling. The side radiator stays cleaner and, since it is thermostatically driven, is more fuel efficient and has more power available when the fan isn't going. You will normally get a N/S bed (head against rear wall, feet toward front) and an E/W bed with a full closet against the rear wall in a side radiator.
 

Giles

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Thanks BernieD. Quite informative. Learned a lot of good stuff quickly. 8)
 
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