Motorhoming | Family Motor Coach Association
- Created: Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:04
In May 2013 Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV) announced the purchase of the Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Beaver, and Safari brands from Navistar Inc. They join the Fleetwood and American Coach brands, which ASV acquired in 2009.
Recently ASV created a new division, Allied Recreation Group (ARG), to focus on all of the above RV brands, which, company officials note, will continue to retain their distinct identities.The Monaco Dynasty diesel pusher is the inaugural model to be redesigned by ARG.
In November 2013 Family Motor Coaching magazine became the first RV publication to preview the Dynasty, which makes its debut at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, December 3 to 5, 2013.
An excerpt from the resulting article follows.
Look to the January 2014 issue of Family Motor Coaching for the complete report.
The 2015 Monaco Dynasty
The first new model in the rebirth of the Monaco motorhome brand.
By Ty Adams
What am I going to write if they've slapped a Monaco emblem on a Fleetwood coach?
That thought nagged me as I pulled into the Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV) facility in Decatur, Indiana, the new home for the Monaco, Beaver, and Holiday Rambler brands. In May 2013 Navistar International Corporation sold all Monaco RV holdings to ASV, parent company of the Fleetwood and American Coach brands. This came four years after Monaco Coach Corporation was purchased by Navistar, so it's been a bit of a wild ride for the Monaco family of brands, owners, and employees.
Although I am a Monaco owner and a former Monaco employee, I'm also an industry writer charged with producing an honest review, so finding the 2015 Dynasty as a Monaco in name only would twist my knickers into a double bind.
I admitted as much to Mike Snell, my former coworker, now president of Monaco and Holiday Rambler at ASV. Snell said he understood my trepidation.
“That would have been the easiest thing to do, to slap a Monaco emblem on an American Coach,” he said. “And you're not alone in thinking it, because that's a question raised by a lot of our owners as well. But I'm here to tell you, this coach is uniquely Monaco. We went back to that traditional Monaco design that helped take our company to the highest point it's ever been. It's very different from the other ASV products, down to the engine, a lot of materials, the layout ... almost everything.”
Snell said that his decision to come on board at ASV was made easier by the company's willingness to retain the unique qualities of Monaco and Holiday Rambler products. The first big step was to rehire a core team of Monaco engineers and designers to work in a separate engineering facility. ASV also moved the well-regarded Monaco woodshop from Wakarusa, Indiana, to Decatur, retaining it as a dedicated Monaco brand materials provider for cabinetry.
“We got to go back to the drawing board and essentially create a Monaco coach in whatever way we thought was best,” Snell said.
The Great Surveying
It started by taking often-repeated owner advice.
“The owners have always said to us, your design people need to actually live in a motorhome,” Snell said. “So I took the challenge and spent 30 nights this summer in our Dynasty, and put 7,700 miles on it, thinking constantly about how it could be improved.”
Snell and the new ASV team then sent an extremely detailed survey to existing owners of all Monaco brands, polling them on just about every component possible. Even though the survey was about a 40-minute endeavor, the team received 2,800 responses.
“We're starting with this one coach model [and a single floor plan] and anything that was selected by more than 70 percent of the owners, we put it in there,” Snell said. “This really is the first coach that's going to be designed by our owners, and built for our owners.”
Read more about the 2015 Monaco Dynasty in the January 2014 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine.