Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd.

June 1, 2001 by   - () Leave a Comment

Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd., which has been selling Class B motorhomes under the Lexor and Excel brands since 1986, expanded in May to reach a younger audience with the introduction of the entry-level 17-foot Traverse by Pleasure-Way.

“It is directed at young families who are going out to buy a mini-van,” said Pleasure-Way Vice President Dean Rumpel. “For about the same price, they can buy an RV. We have been watching the market. There has been a void for this type of vehicle. It was easy for us to get into this particular market at this time. You’ve got to keep trying new stuff.”

The Traverse, which has a fiberglass pop-up roof, utilizes a Ford F-250 chassis with scaled back amenities. For instance, the Traverse is equipped with a Porta Potti, as opposed to a full toilet. Standard features include a furnace, hot water heater, stove and microwave oven.

The soft-sided pop-up roof extends the Traverse’s height by 3 inches at the front of the unit and tapers to zero at the rear when the unit is parked for camping. When the roof is retracted, the Traverse, available initially in only one floorplan, is garageable.

“Young families are a whole new market for us,” Rumpel said. “With the Go RVing campaign, people are really getting interested in the RV lifestyle. We wanted to get into the mix for someone who is just coming into the market.”

Pleasure-Way’s two primary products are the Lexor and Excel Class B motorhomes, each available in four interior configurations. Both are 19 feet long and built on Dodge B3500 chassis with a 360-hp Chrysler Magnum V8 engine. The widebody Excel features a self-contained bathroom, sit-down shower and 78 inches of bed space.

Because of the radius walls on the Chrysler van, the Lexor and Excel interiors are constructed by hand, Rumpel said. “We build from the inside out,” he said. “We don’t install modules. We install everything piece by piece. Among the Lexor’s and Excel’s most popular options is a tri-fold electric sofa that opens into a bed. The Lexor and the Excel are accented with white European-style cabinetry set off from a traditional oak interior.

Pleasure-Way’s typical purchaser is 65 years old and retired, who is still earning $50,000 a year, mostly through investments. Seventy percent of his customers are from the United States. “They all have had RVs in the past and they generally are downsizing because the older people get, the more difficult it becomes for them to drive a Class A,” Rumpel said.

He added that because the Class B segment is such a small percentage of the overall RV market, his customers tend to know a lot about the product when they arrive in the showroom. “They probably already have been looking in this market,” Rumpel said. “There are only a half a dozen companies building Class B’s. Our customers seem to do their homework before they get here.”

Merv Rumpel founded Pleasure-Way in 1986 after owning a retail RV dealership for 30 years. “Through being in the business, he saw it as an opportunity to build something that he thought was going to grow in the future,” Dean Rumpel said.

Until 1988, Pleasure-Way sold its product only in Western Canada, having produced only 12 units the first year and 30 units the second. “Once we got large enough, we expanded our plant and went through the process of getting certified in the United States through the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association,” Rumpel said.

Last year, Pleasure-Way sold nearly 700 units, which made 2000 the best year for the company since its inception.

— Bob Ashley


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