The name of Canada's largest Class A motorhome manufacturer may not immediately come to mind, especially to U.S. RV enthusiasts. But if you said Triple E Recreation Vehicles, you'd be on the money.
With Class A motorhome brands such as Embassy, Commander, Signature and Empress in addition to the Class C Regency, Triple E – a division of privately owned Triple E Canada Ltd. – offers a diverse range of coaches suitable for a northern climate that appeal to all segments of the market from entry-level to high line buyers "They are versatile units," said Triple E President Terry Elias. "We generally sell to a customer who is looking for value in a couple of areas – primarily winterization and thermal insulation. In our Commander and Empress there is extra insulation, and in the Empress, it will have compartments with automatic heat that cuts in at about 40 (F) degrees." Dual-pane windows are available standard in some models and as an option in others.
Triple E sells its Topaz travel and fifth-wheel trailers primarily in Canada. Eighty recent of its motorhomes are sold to Canadian buyers, although Triple E is expanding into the American market, particularly in the northern Midwest states, Elias said. In addition, European customers account for approximately 10% of the Triple E's business.
"Primarily our customers are snowbirds," Elias said. "They might be leaving 20-below temperatures in Canada and a couple of days later not need any heat at all when they get into more reasonable temperatures." Elias said that Triple E has to keep in mind that although most of its customers are from Canada, they typically travel extensively in the United States. "They think in terms of what the cost of travel is in the United States rather than Canada," he explained.
Triple E is a vertically integrated family-owned company that was started in 1965 by P.W. Enns, Peter Elias and Philipp Enns, who remains chairman. Triple E's parent company's holdings also include Lode King Industries, a manufacturer of commercial highway trailers. Triple E also builds minimotorhomes under the Senator and Regal brand names for the rental market. "We started off in the towable business and expanded into the motorized market rather quickly," Elias said.
Triple E employs 280 people in the small, predominately Mennonite community of Winkler, Manitoba, where the company does all its own metal fabrication and fiberglass work, 50% of its own cloth work and assembles cabinets that are milled by a local company.
"In the Commander, we use all solid-oak framing on the cabinetry and a lot of solid woodwork," Elias said. "On the Empress, there is no vinyl. Everything is real wood. Our cabinetry at the Empress level would rival any product."
Bedroom slideouts became available for the first time in 2001 in the Triple E's mid-market Commander, a gasoline motorhome available in six floor plans ranging from 29 feet to 35 feet, and in the somewhat higher-priced 36-foot Signature diesel pusher offered in five floor plans. A side door configuration became available for the first time in 2001 in Triple E's top-of-the-line 38-foot Empress, which has five floor plans, all of which offer double or triple slideouts.
The Embassy and Commander gasoline motorhomes are built on Ford chassis with Triton V-10 engines. The diesel pusher Signature and Empress lines are assembled on Freightliner platforms and feature Cummins engines with 300- and 330-hp power plants, respectively.
Retail prices range from $60,025 (U.S.) to $73,495 for the Embassy; $74,950 to $98,120 for the Commander; $141,380 to $150,835 for the diesel pusher Signature; and $186,665 to $188,500 for the rear engine Empress. The Class C Regency comes in three lengths — 22, 24 and 28 feet — and ranges in price from $48,880 to $53,615.
— Bob Ashley