Chapter Spotlight By Ken Hawk, F266431 FMC magazine, April 2007
The largest chapter in FMCA is based on Freightliner chassis ownership, and currently has more than 5,500 member families.
The Freightliner Chassis Owners Club began in 1994 as the Oshkosh Owners Club. The late Irv Steele, F36538, purchased a diesel motorhome on an Oshkosh chassis and helped form the group, which became an FMCA chapter. The group received its charter in January 1995.
Later Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation purchased Oshkosh and began building custom chassis in Irv’s own home state of South Carolina. Soon the club name changed to the Freightliner Chassis Owners Club.
Freightliner officials knew that the company's product had to grow in acceptance, and realized the owners' club could supply them with important feedback they needed. This would give them information necessary in making a consistent quality product for the industry. Thus began a new relationship between Freightliner and the chapter. The company continues to take great interest in the club and has helped it grow to an impressive size.
The Freightliner Chassis Owners Club holds two rallies each year. They take place in different locations around the country. All rallies are held as post-FMCA convention rallies, and occur a few days after the international conventions end. For example, we were scheduled to gather in late March at Lazy Days Rally Park in Tampa, Florida, following the Perry, Georgia, convention; we also have had rallies in Tucson, Arizona; Gillette, Wyoming; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to name a few.
Rallies feature social gatherings and take advantage of the locations. At the March rally we planned to have full hookups, entertainment, door prizes, an ice cream social, bingo, seminars, and more. Seminars are presented with the education of the owner and driver in mind.
A team of Freightliner technicians are on hand at the rallies to do minor repair work on our chassis at no charge; they also make some parts available at a discounted price. Also participating in the rallies are representatives from companies that build other parts integral to the chassis, such as Caterpillar, Cummins, Allison, and Michelin.
It's a real benefit to belong to the chapter, because these opportunities help owners maintain their investments. I think FCOC members are the most knowledgeable and safest motorhome drivers on the road. Motorhome owners know that they can buy all kinds of motorhomes at any price, anywhere, but it's their experience after the sale that's crucial. Freightliner has hundreds of repair centers around the United States. These are just a few reasons why the company and the club are successful in satisfying motorhomers.
FCOC members receive other benefits, too. They can purchase a DaimlerChrysler automobile at a below-factory invoice price that is near the company employee price. They can have service work done and receive a discount on parts and labor at the main repair center in Gaffney, South Carolina. FCOC members also get a fuel discount at Travel Centers of America.
Freightliner Corporation sets up an exhibit at every FMCA convention, and an FCOC member is in the company's display to provide information about the chapter and sign up members. In addition, FCOC has its own Web site, www.freightlinerchassisownersclub.org. You can visit online to join the chapter, learn about upcoming and previous rallies, and get helpful information.
Freightliner Custom Chassis feels strongly about having owners join our chapter, and offers a free first year membership to all buyers of new motorhomes on a Freightliner chassis. Chapter dues regularly are $10 per year, or $45 for five years.
To join FCOC, you must own a coach built on a Freightliner, John Deere, or Oshkosh chassis built in Gaffney, South Carolina. For more information, call FMCA’s Chapter Services Department at (800) 543-3622.