More so than in many industries, the competitors in the recreational vehicle industry can stand or fall with a single innovation. Such was the case when Fleetwood Industries introduced major streamlining to its motor homes and nearly doubled its market share. RV manufacturers, therefore, are not shy in promoting what they consider their latest innovations. Ronald Haugen, president of Winnebago Industries, speaks with appropriately glowing phrases as he talks about the computer-operated, 2.2-liter, fuel-injected gasoline engine which is to be an option on LeSharo and Phasar motor homes by this spring.
``There are virtually no front-wheel-drive trans-axles [the front-wheel version of a transmission] available in the world today that can carry that kind of load,'' Mr. Haugen says, speaking of the weight the 20-foot, fully furnished motor home would carry.
``What we had to do was tear into the transmission and engine and change it all around so it had all the bells and whistles: the best drive, ride, feel, the best efficiency, and gas mileage. Now we have a trans-axle coupled up to a true fuel-injected gasoline engine, so we get a good, clean burn and very good economy.''
Although it has passed the Environmental Protection Agency's emission testing, the new engine and transmission have yet to be the subjects of formal fuel efficiency tests. But Haugen says he hopes the model will prove to provide 18 to 20 miles per gallon of gasoline.