Class A motorhome market not dead — Monaco is back in a big way

October 10, 2009/All Used Car Sales

MOTOR MATTERS ROLLING HOMES BY JEFF JOHNSTON

Turbulence in the economy and RV industry has made for all sorts of changes in the recreational vehicle business. Old companies are taking a second look at their product mixes, new companies are targeting specific market areas of interest, and some companies have vanished forever.
Knowing your customer is an important part of RV business success and that’s part of what’s made Monaco a household name for many years.
Monaco RV LLC (www.monaco-online.com) has a lineup that includes smaller lightweight trailers and average-size travel and fifth-wheel trailers, but the company is also heavily invested in the large Class A motorhome market. It’s the motorhome segment that was hit hardest by the recession, and that’s where Monaco is starting to make a comeback. Monaco knows its core buyers want the best they can get in a comfortable, classically equipped Class A.
We recently toured two of the company’s new products, a 42-foot Dynasty Majestic V and a Diplomat 42SKQ. Both rigs are at the top of their product lines, with the Dynasty selling for $540,771, and the Diplomat stickered at $293,244.
The Dynasty uses an S-series with a Cummins ISM500 engine and the Diplomat rides an RR10R with the Cummins ISL engine. Air-bag suspension, Allison automatic transmissions anti-lock brake and auto leveling systems are among the standard features.
The Dynasty Majestic floorplan includes the forward lounge, mid-coach kitchen and dining area, a walk-through bath and rear master bedroom suite. The streetside slideout is a two-part model with a telescoping section that makes for more floor space inside.

Dynasty Majestic Class A

It takes a hefty tag-axle chassis to support this much coach, and the Diplomat likewise includes the tag feature for the same reason. A forward kitchen is standard in the 42SKQ floorplan with the lounge amidships, a self-contained bath curbside and master bedroom out back accessed via a side-aisle abutting the bath.
At a time when many companies are going lightweight and lower cost, Monaco recognizes that its buyers have a certain product type in mind and they deliver those goods. From the high-glass fiberglass exteriors with polished aluminum wheels to the genuine solid woodwork, these classic-styled coaches deliver the best of the high-end features available.
Residential home materials are often included in this class of RVs. Solid-surface Corian-style countertops and tables, tile floors (some with heaters), home-style refrigerators, designer carpeting and leather furniture mean there’s little that a discriminating buyer would be left wanting. A range of available power accessories, including window day/night shades and forward driver and passenger shades, takes some of the chore out of assorted manual functions.
Fully automated systems like the generator auto-start and charge feature help the owner keep up with the rig’s sometimes complex system demands.

Dynasty with work desk

Although a Class A is targeted at an older, established customer, Monaco knows those buyers are still as interested in high technology as their younger counterparts. Both of these coaches abound with the latest electronic gadgets for entertainment and communications.
The Dynasty Majestic option roster reads like a techie’s wish list. The coach starts with a standard 42-inch LCD TV up front, as well as a 32-inch TV in the bedroom, plus a home-theater system and satellite TV pre-wiring. To this are added a multi-satellite HD receiver dish, Sirius satellite radio, cellphone antenna/booster and wiring, multi-disc CD changer, plus a safety external-vision TV monitor system. A 2.8-kW inverter and four 6-volt batteries are also there to ensure you always have power for your electronics.
Similar accessories are available for the Diplomat, which comes from the factory with a 37-inch flat screen TV and has an optional HD cinema package with a full range of quality speakers built into the cabinets and ceiling.
The market for big Class A motorhomes isn’t as large as it once was, but there’s still demand for this kind of luxury RV. Monaco is on top of that segment, keeping abreast of developments and customer needs to stay a major player in that market.

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009

Diplomat hallway