The 2011 Monaco Vesta is the first motorhome produced by Monaco RV in collaboration with its parent company, NavistarCorporation. BetterRVing.com caught up with two of the Vesta’s chief architects to discuss what this revolutionary coach means for Monaco RV, its customers and the entire RV industry.
2011 Monaco Vesta
General Manager of Business Strategy and Planning, North America Truck Group, Navistar, Inc.
Chief Designer, Navistar Industrial Design,Truck Development and Technology Center, Navistar, Inc.
The Vesta is the first Monaco RV created in collaboration with Navistar Corporation. What was the experience like for everyone involved?
Smith: It was a great process and experience from beginning to end. We really jelled as a team. The
Vesta is our first example of what we can accomplish by leveraging the strengths of Monaco and Navistar together.
Allendorph: The Monaco team was great to work with and really open to what we wanted to do. Our goal with the Vesta was to create an appealing RV that established the kind of brand image that would make an impact in the industry. Our team worked full-time for about six months in designing the Vesta. We put in a fair amount of hours, but it was well worth the time spent.
In what ways is the Vesta revolutionary?
Smith: The Vesta represents the first fully integrated coach in the RV industry — meaning all of the components that go into that coach: the chassis, the house and the engine are manufactured by one company. Through vertical integration, we have many opportunities to get things right in terms of driveline tuning, noise vibration and harshness. At Navistar, we design commercial trucks that travel more than 100,000 miles each year moving freight. We leveraged that aspect of Navistar’s experience to design the Vesta’s power train and chassis and driver environment to be the best on the road.
What about the Vesta are you personally excited about?
Smith: Being a commercial truck guy, the thing I like about the Vesta is driving it. It is a great ride and the ergonomics are spectacular. As soon as you sit behind the wheel, you recognize that there is something different about the Vesta. All the controls and switches are within reach. The pedal package is positioned appropriately for any size driver. It’s easy to get yourself in a comfortable spot to drive long or short distances in this coach.
Allendorph: I think it’s a great looking coach. From the outset, the design team asked, “What can we do to make RVs look better?” The Vesta is very contemporary in its look. It has great proportions, which is something designers are always interested in. By proportions I mean the coach’s height from the ground and relationship between the wheels and fenders. Having great proportions gives the coach a more solid foundation and a better feel and look.
In what ways was the design process of the Vesta a break from what we usually see in the RV industry?
Allendorph: We approached designing the Vesta as an opportunity to consult and work with the best engineering minds from the automotive and trucking industry. We shared ideas on paper and worked out many designs on the computer before we began building anything. With the Vesta, we wanted to make an impact in the RV industry. Working with such an experienced and creative team helped us achieve what we set out to do.
How did the customer play a role in the design of the Vesta?
Smith: The customer influences everything we do as a company, including the development of future strategies product cycle planning. The voice of the customer and their input encompasses our whole business. We’re continually engaged in both traditional and creative ways to gain our customers’ insight to meet those needs. When we talk about customers, we’re not just talking about retail customers, we’re also talking about dealers as well. The Vesta is a result of dealer input. It’s a fully functional, integrated product that’s outstanding in the industry and differentiated from our competitors. It has the features and the benefits that both the retail customer look for and the dealer is looking to sell.
The Vesta is a fuel efficient and “green” RV. Is this a sign of things to come from Monaco RV?
Smith: You can see in the Vesta some of the features that were developed through our wind-tunnel testing. These aerodynamic features coupled with the MaxxForce™ 7 engine are the things that enhance that fuel economy improvement. On the exterior, the Vesta has nicely rounded edges, an optimized angle on the windshield and we’ve chamfered down the back side to release the air stream as it flows over the coach. These exterior features along with the efficient engine greatly help the fuel economy. Going forward, this is the kind of design implementation that you’re going to be seeing in the products that we develop.
Allendorph: With Navistar’s infrastructure, we have the tools that can be leveraged to enhance everything we’ve done to create even better RV products. We believe we can create a powerful synergy by combining Navistar’s bus and truck technologies with Monaco RV’s capabilities in a way that will truly change the industry. The 2011 Vesta sets the tone and is a great sign of what lies ahead for Monaco RV; opportunities to get things right in terms of driveline tuning, noise vibration and harshness. At Navistar, we design commercial trucks that travel more than 100,000 miles each year moving freight. We leveraged that aspect of Navistar’s experience to design the Vesta’s power train and chassis for durability that was less like an RV and more like a commercial truck.