Ford Motor Co. is increasing production of Class A motorhome and strip commercial chassis by 35% to meet renewed demand for recreational vehicles, the company announced.
Ford also is increasing production capacity of its 6.8-liter V10 gasoline engine used in the lineup.
The news arrived just as aftermarket supplier ROUSH CleanTech announced that it has developed a propane-fuel setup for Ford strip chassis models.
The Ford F-53 motorhome and F-59 commercial chassis are built by Ford partner Detroit Chassis at a facility in Detroit. The 6.8-liter V10 gasoline engine is built in Canada at Ford’s Windsor engine plant in Ontario.
For the motorhome chassis, Ford supplies frame rails, suspension, powertrain and steering components to Detroit Chassis for assembly into motorhomes. Shipments of the chassis were up 14% in 2012 but growth rose dramatically as the year closed, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.
Sales growth hit 33% in December and 43% in the fourth quarter of last year, Ford said, citing data from RVIA. Ford F-53 commercial chassis registrations reached their highest levels in 2012 since 2007.
The V-10 engine found in both produces 362 horsepower and 457 pound-feet. of torque, and can be factory-prepped for CNG operation. The engine’s production capacity will increase 25% by next year to meet strong demand from commercial customers, Ford said. The engine is also used in E-Series vans, F-Series Super Duty chassis cabs and the F-650 medium-duty truck.
Meanwhile, an alternative fuel option for the engines has emerged in the aftermarket.
ROUSH CleanTech announced the availability of propane fuel systems for the F-53, F-59 and E-450 stripped chassis models.
The company said it has been selected by Ford as a “qualified vehicle modifier” for the models. ROUSH CleanTech said the systems fulfill certification requirements in all 50 states by the California Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency and achieve the same torque, towing and horsepower as conventionally fueled models.