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Old 11-08-2013, 03:58 PM   #11
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

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Originally Posted by Chance

In my opinion the Sprinter should lose market share quickly unless it's redesigned to a wider body. For a class B, width is very important and the Sprinter can't compete in that area. Until recent it was only high-roof option, but now competition may make the Sprinter next to irrelevant (by volume).
Class B's are a very small market compared to commercial users. I doubt they would consider changing the width for a small market in North America.

Mike
Agree that MB won't change Sprinter design due to RV business. However, until recently, buyers in US didn't have options when it came to high-roof vans, so Sprinters did well in absence of real competition. Now with ProMaster and next year with Ford Transit, I expect Sprinter market share in high-roof vans will drop significantly. In Europe PMs make up 2 out of every 3 Class B van campers, and buyers in Europe have had access to buy Sprinters. Beyond width there is also cost which is higher for Sprinter. US buyers may be a little more affluent and be willing to pay more, but I seriously doubt that will be the case. I expect PMs and Transits will both outsell MB Sprinters.
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:33 PM   #12
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

Where the Pro Master and the transit will do well will be in business leasing where the leasey will not be worried about resale but initial upfront cost due to lower chassis costs. I think Mercedes will respond with a budget Sprinter.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:59 AM   #13
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

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Where the Pro Master and the transit will do well will be in business leasing where the leasey will not be worried about resale but initial upfront cost due to lower chassis costs. I think Mercedes will respond with a budget Sprinter.
A budget Sprinter would indeed be nice.

Sprinter resale value should decline with competition. I personally have a hard time seeing a buyer pay almost as much for a used Sprinter as a new ProMaster that is under warranty and gets decent fuel economy. And the Transit with RWD will depress Sprinter resale even more provided Ford can control pricing. Just my opinion based on lack of exclusivity on high roof and fuel economy, the two main reasons Sprinters have done well thus far.
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:59 AM   #14
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

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As a side note, should there eventually be a "ProMaster Chassis" forum sub-section? Like that for Sprinter?
As soon as there is enough traffic to warrant it. The Nissan is a good example, I think SMB only built a few and we only have one member who owns one, so it doesn't really rate. I'm pretty sure the ProMaster will have a following since Ford seems intent on putting the Econoline down for good. Heck, we might need to make a Ford section for all the "old-school" people instead... hahaha... aw
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Old 11-09-2013, 01:53 PM   #15
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

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As a side note, should there eventually be a "ProMaster Chassis" forum sub-section? Like that for Sprinter?
As soon as there is enough traffic to warrant it. The Nissan is a good example, I think SMB only built a few and we only have one member who owns one, so it doesn't really rate. I'm pretty sure the ProMaster will have a following since Ford seems intent on putting the Econoline down for good. Heck, we might need to make a Ford section for all the "old-school" people instead... hahaha... aw
I like my Econoline just fine for what it is, but the design is now over 20 years in the past, so "old school" is about right. Particularly when compared to newer vans for those who want larger size and better fuel economy. The Econoline is still great for heavy-duty towing and 4X4 conversions, but that's a small share of the Class B market. For road-going camper vans they are cramped by comparison -- with or without a top.

Even the 136-inch wheelbase ProMaster with low roof seemed huge compared to my extended Econoline. I could practically stand between the roof supports. If Fiat/RAM dropped the floor another 3 or 4 inches a lot of shorter people could walk around with ease. The thought of buying a garageable low-roof one and getting my saw out is tempting.
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:40 PM   #16
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

Dreamed last night on how to layout the ProMaster as a camping rig. With the high roof it seemed like you can hang the bed during the day and lower and set it on the cabinets for sleeping.
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:03 AM   #17
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

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Dreamed last night on how to layout the ProMaster as a camping rig. With the high roof it seemed like you can hang the bed during the day and lower and set it on the cabinets for sleeping.
Are you thinking about something like this bed supported off the cabinets but larger and hanging off the ceiling like the Penthouse beds when not in use?





I've been thinking of similar arrangements too so the bed doesn't take up so much valuable real estate in a small camper van. I need to find out more about how heavy and difficult to handle are the larger one-piece beds in PH roofs. Pictures of PH beds make them seem thinner (hence maybe less weight for their size???) and also they only drop down a short distance to the van's roof support. I'd also like to learn more about how the PH roof beds are attached to ceiling and how well they stay there while driving.

Other options I've been considering are a fold up large single bed similar to what Winnebago did with Travato, or two fold up bunks on same side of van so that getting in and out of beds is easier and doesn't block pass-through access to rear doors.

By the way, have you seen pictures and/or videos of the electric "loft beds" that are becoming popular on smaller Class A and some European Class Bs? They are basically a large powered bed tight against roof that lower for sleeping. Some of the narrower beds are cantilevered off one side only so the tracks can be mounted against a wall without supports at the middle of the van. If the beds were small and arranged like bunks, a person may be able accomplish the same by lifting the beds by hand -- granted not as convenient to use.
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Old 11-10-2013, 11:29 AM   #18
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

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electric "loft beds" that are becoming popular on smaller Class A and some European Class Bs? They are basically a large powered bed tight against roof that lower for sleeping.
That is exactly what I was thinking of. Did a quick sketch based on idea I got from Jage.



This works best in the high roof version. The nice part about it is that you can leave the bed made up all the time. Thought about having it fold against the wall when not in use but that would block any windows that get added. Also thought about dropping a board between the cabinets to create the bed but that means I need to find a place to store the matters and bedding when not in use.

Here is where you can find the electronic version of the ProMaster brochure. The electronic version has more information that the one I picked up at the dealer. Page 10 shows it up fit as a class C.
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Old 11-10-2013, 02:12 PM   #19
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

Larrie, the main disadvantage I can see to your plan is that it prevents upper cabinets from being installed in the bed area. That plus using lower 30-inch cabinets could reduce storage space significantly. One European builder attached cabinets to underside of motorized bed which lower with bed as a unit, but the cabinets greatly restrict how far the bed can come down before it bottoms out.

I personally also don't like getting into beds from the end -- prefer access from the sides. But that would be a minor compromise for me given the limited space.

And you are right on blocking windows with tilting beds/bunks. The Travato has a window behind the bed when up which is blocked during the day. On the other hand, that area is only used to carry cargo when bed is up so having the window visible is not as important. Still, it would make the inside darker and appear more confining.

I keep looking hoping to see a design that jumps out as clearly superior than other designs for my particular needs.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:13 AM   #20
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Re: Have you taken a look at ProMaster vans in person?

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Larrie, the main disadvantage I can see to your plan is that it prevents upper cabinets from being installed in the bed area.
Rough, and sectional, but the top of the cabinets are going to be work surface, or counters that you have to clean to put the be down anyway, right? You save ceiling height and can have upper cabinets but you cannot have anything in the countertops, like a stove or sink.
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