For most RV shoppers, selecting the right floor plan is one of the most important aspects of purchasing a new motor coach. There’s a lot to consider, and it can be difficult to decide what kind of layout will best suit your lifestyle.
To fill you in on what to look for as well what Newmar is doing to meet the needs of virtually every RV traveler, we spoke with John Sammut, Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Newmar Corporation.
What are the most important factors to consider when choosing a floor plan?
One thing that helps to pare down or better simplify the selection process is to first determine what motor coach length you’re comfortable with. Newmar coaches are available in varying lengths, from 27 to 45 feet.
It is critical that your floor plan be able to accommodate the things that you want to do, which makes it necessary to determine how exactly you’re going to use your coach, both on the road and once you reach your destination. Figure out how many people are going to be traveling with you on any given trip, and based on that number, decide what kind of sleeping arrangements you will need, from bunk beds to sofa sleepers. Newmar in particular offers both on just about every coach we build.
Next, it is important to consider what kind of gear and other belongings you’re going to be bringing with you on most trips so that you choose a floor plan with the right amount of storage space. Not only exterior space, but interior storage such as cabinetry and wardrobe accommodations. Fortunately, Newmar puts a lot of time and effort into designing coaches with an abundance of space and utility so that travelers can take everything they wish to have on their trips with them.
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Why does Newmar offer so many different floor plan options?
A lot of it has to do with the fact that were not a batch builder of motor coaches. Not that batch building is wrong, but with batch building, you need to have a certain number of the same floor plan “ say five or ten “ in a production run. This means you’re forced to offer fewer floor plans so that you can get five or ten of the same floor plan grouped together to build in sequence along your manufacturing line.
We like to say that we build in mass volumes of one. At any given time, our assembly line may feature our most luxurious model, a King Aire, followed directly by our most affordable coach, a Bay Star Sport. We’re able to offer more floor plans to meet the needs of a wider spectrum of buyers because we’re not so concerned with getting multiples of the same floor plan in a production run. This gives us more flexibility, not only in terms of offering more floor plans, but being able to offer custom layouts that are tailored for our customers.
What are some of Newmar’s latest floor plan innovations?
Three years ago, Newmar introduced the industry’s first, direct-from-the-factory wheelchair-accessible floor plan on the gas-powered Canyon Star, floor plan 3911. It is not only fully accessible but features accommodations like a Braun® wheelchair lift, ADA-approved roll-in shower, bathroom vanity with no cabinetry underneath, lowered switches and several height-adjusted appliances. The success of floor plan 3911 is what led Newmar to develop a second wheelchair-accessible layout in the form of floor plan 4311, available on both the 2015 Ventana and Dutch Star diesel motor coaches.
To my knowledge there is no one else in the RV industry that offers wheelchair-accessible floor plans direct from the factory. There are companies that can retrofit existing coaches, but it is an expensive, labor-intensive process that does not deliver wheelchair users with the same features and benefits that Newmar does.
What inspired Newmar to offer wheelchair-accessible floor plans?
A member of our engineering team has a child who uses a wheelchair, and for him, it was a labor of love to pursue the development of a wheelchair-friendly floor plan.
In terms of giving the project the green light, the Newmar management team had learned from speaking with customers at various shows and rallies throughout the country that a floor plan designed for wheelchair users was something the market needed. In addition, we believe the RV lifestyle is something everyone should be able to experience, and we felt obligated to try and make RV travel a reality for those who would otherwise struggle to enjoy a cross-country trip.
What are some of the things Canyon Stars Toy Hauler floor plan offers today’s RVers?
Toy Hauler is somewhat of an unfair description when it comes to this floor plan. Yes, it is a ten-foot garage where you can store vehicles like dirt bikes or motorcycles, but there are just as many people that use their Canyon Star Toy Hauler as an extra bedroom thanks to an available set of bunk beds that can be lowered from the ceiling. And with its own air conditioning unit and heat strip, the Toy Hauler is also climate-controlled. Many dog owners use their Toy Hauler as a mobile kennel because it can be hosed down in the event it needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Your imagination is the only limiting factor to what you can do with the Canyon Star Toy Hauler.
To this day Newmar is still the only Class A manufacturer that offers a Toy Hauler coach that also includes a dedicated master bedroom. Other manufacturers do offer a sleeping position, but it comes in the form of a loft inside of the Toy Hauler. I don’t know about anybody else, but my wife is not going to climb up a ladder and sleep in an area that’s no more than two-feet high. So far nobody else has really pursued putting a dedicated bedroom in front of a Toy Hauler space.
Finally, what is one of the main things shoppers fail to consider when choosing a floor plan?
Many times, people will select a smaller floor plan because they underestimate their ability to handle or maneuver a larger coach. They often decide later on that their floor plan doesn’t offer enough space, and end up back at the dealership trading in on something a little larger. If a smaller floor plan makes sense for your particular situation, by all means, choose the smaller floor plan. Just don’t choose a shorter layout because you’re worried you cant handle driving something bigger.