RV News: EarthCruiser is Shutting Down, Mercedes Sprinter Van Upgrades, and a New VW California is on the Way

All the news you need to know from the week ending April 26, 2024.

Image Caption: Photo Credit: EarthCruiser

Welcome to another edition of our weekly round-up of all the important news from the RV and camping industries over the past seven days. Here are a few things that made headlines this week:

  • EarthCruiser is Shutting Its Doors: Bespoke overland and expedition vehicle manufacturer EarthCruiser has announced it is shuttering its operations. The company—which was founded in 2008—has built some of the most rugged, over-engineered off-road vehicles on the planet, selling go-anywhere RVs to customers with deep pockets. But now, citing “changing market dynamics and economic challenges,” it has made the decision to close down. The Bend, Oregon-based brand will begin winding down production immediately while working with existing customers to complete a few remaining projects and refunding deposits. For more on this story, click here.
  • Mercedes Shares New 2025 Sprinter Options: It’s no secret that the Mercedes Sprinter is one of the top platforms for building Class B camper vans. Recently, the automaker offered insights into what to expect for the 2025 version of the popular platform. New additions include a smaller all-electric eSprinter, an updated version of the MBUX infotainment system, 10.25″ displays, an upgraded aviation system, and more. These enhancements are typically a part of the chassis that RV manufacturers use when developing their models, which means they will be included in future models moving forward. GearJunkie has a complete rundown of what to expect.
Volkswagen California

Photo Credit: Volkswagen

  • New Volkswagen California Debuts May 7: Speaking of awesome camper vans, AboutCampBtoB says that an all-new version of the Volkswagen California will make its debut on May 7. The latest edition of the popular Class B model will be revealed live on YouTube from Berlin. What’s in store for this latest model? The website quotes an anonymous source at VW that says, “It’s time to completely renew the popular campervan and rethink it for the future. Retaining proven and popular features and staying one step ahead of the competition with innovations.”
  • Winnebago Announces Factory Tours for 2024: Want to take a tour of Winnebago’s factory in Forest City, IA? You’re in luck, as the RV manufacturer just announced its tour schedule for 2024. Visitors can take a peek inside the company’s facilities every weekday now through October. Tours start at noon Monday-Friday, with additional options starting at 9:00 AM on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Reservations are recommended, and close-toed shoes are required. Stairs are also part of the route. To make a reservation, call 641-585-6936.
Airstream Trade Winds and Interstate 19X

Photo Credit: Airstream

  • Forbes Interviews Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler: While we try to cover the RV space closely here at RV.com and Wildsam magazine, it’s always nice to see a major player in the industry get mainstream attention. This week, Forbes interviewed Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler, touching on a broad range of topics. The conversation ranged from a discussion of the impact of the pandemic on the company’s bottom line and the profile of a typical Airstream owner to dealing with supply-chain challenges and building a unique culture in a corporate environment. Read the entire profile here.
  • Two-Thirds of Campers Say They’ve Camped for Free: The Dyrt continues to send us interesting and unique stats on how camping—both RV and tent—has been evolving over the past few years. This week, the online campground discovery app and site tells us that two-thirds of respondents to its 2024 Camping Report say they camped somewhere for free over the past year. That number is up from just 35.6% in 2019. Free camping locations of choice include dispersed camping on public lands, free established campsites, and in parking lots overnight.
pizza oven

Photo Credit: Suburban

  • Suburban Launches New Pizza Oven: Suburban—an RV appliance manufacturer and a subsidiary of Airxcel—announced a fun new product this week. The company took the wraps off a new pizza oven that is an add-on for the popular Suburban 18″ Elite Series griddle. in addition to having a large interior, the pizza oven includes an integrated thermometer and a zippered bag that makes it easy to store and carry. Pricing starts at $129.99.
  • Reminder—It’s Still National Parks Week: We mentioned this in last week’s news round-up, but it’s worth mentioning again here. National Parks Week for 2024 runs through Sunday, April 28. And while there are no fee-free days still on the schedule for this week, there are still plenty of activities taking place in parks across the country. Visit the National Park Service website for more information.

That’s all for this week. Join us again next Friday for another rundown of the most important stories from the RV industry.

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