Truck Camper News

Introducing Citation Explore Truck Campers

General Coach returns to truck campers with two all-new hard side models. Focused on the high-end, Citation Explore campers feature premium appliances and a modern aesthetic sure to grab attention. Citation is back!

Introducing Citation Explore Truck Campers

A few weeks back we received an email from the leadership team at General Coach Canada announcing their new Citation Explore truck camper line. We were bowled over by the news that General Coach was returning to truck campers, and thrilled when we saw the modern Citation truck campers they are bringing to market.

Then we had questions; lots of questions. You see, the last time we spoke to the leadership team at General Coach was in late 2008. Fifteen years ago, General Coach manufactured Citation truck campers out of Oliver, British Columbia. Sadly, the Great Recession forced many companies to make difficult choices. In early 2009, General Coach shut their Oliver facility and their Citation truck camper line with it.

Citation Explore 10-2

Above: The all-new 2024 Citation Explore 10-2 with full-wall slide-out. All images courtesy of General Coach

Up to that point, hard side and slide-out Citation truck campers were well regarded for their aluminum framing, vacuum-bonded walls, and top-notch insulation qualities. Citation was, for many, an aspirational camper truck camper brand. When Angela and I would talk about the camper companies we had lost and wished would return, Citation was always very high on our list.

Which brings us to 2024 and my questions. For starters, is General Coach going to build Citation the same way as before? Are the new floor plans based on the old ones, or are they ground-up new designs? What material makes the inside walls so bright and shiny? And what’s the story behind that huge front window? Yes, I might have been that kid in school. Hand up, and up again, and again…

Citation Explore Sapphire Interior

Above: The Sapphire interior in a Citation Explore 10-2

Fortunately, the General Coach leadership team was eager to answer our many questions. It turns out they’re equally excited to be getting back to truck campers, and have quite the story about what happened to Citation campers fifteen years ago, how they moved truck camper production roughly 3,100 kilometers (1,926 miles) east to Ontario, and what the front window is all about. As they explain it, the new Citation Explore campers started with that front window.

For the full backstory on General Coach and the new Citation truck campers, we talked to Chris Faulkner, Vice President of General Coach Canada.  Click here to request information about Citation truck campers.

General Coach Leadership Team

Above: Chris and Roger Faulker, Owners of General Coach Canada

General Coach shut down Citation and Corsair truck camper production during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. Can you tell us the history of what happened and how it is that we’re talking about the return of Citation truck campers today?

General Coach began manufacturing RVs in 1950 out of their plant in Hensall, Ontario. Shortly thereafter they opened up a Western Canadian operation in Oliver, British Columbia. Thor Industries purchased General Coach in 1982, just two years after acquiring Airstream.

In 2007/2008 the economy in North America went into a tailspin and the management of Thor Industries decided to put General Coach on the market. Roger Faulkner, the President of General Coach at that time, made a deal to turn General Coach into a family-owned operation.

Citation Factory In Hensall Ontario

Above: The General Coach Canada factory in Hensall, Ontario

In 2009, General Coach was sold to the Faulkner family and immediately the name was changed to General Coach Canada. Roger assumed the position of President, I took over as Vice President, and my sister Heather came into the company a few years later assuming the position of Head Buyer. General Coach in Oliver, British Columbia was permanently closed in the latter part of 2009 and later sold to local land developers. The last Citation truck camper was produced in Oliver sometime prior to 2009.

At one time there were 85 different manufacturers producing RVs in Canada, today there are 10. American manufacturers saturated the Canadian market with cheaper products whereby the Canadians could not compete. General Coach Canada decided to break away from the pack by producing unique products. Today we produce theatrical trailers for the film industry around the world, a very high-end park model trailer, and rental cabins for the campground industry.

In 2020, we decided to produce a very high-end small travel trailer. We introduced our Citation Reward which is a Canadian version of an Airstream. There is nothing else like it in the market today. In 2023 we decided to re-produce our high-end line of Citation truck campers. The Citation Explore appeared for the first time at the Toronto Spring RV and Camping Show at the end of February 2024.

We like niche markets and have had success in the truck camper marketplace before. Our management team is also good friends with the leadership at Northern Lite, and we know the truck camper market is growing.

Citation Explore Agate Interior

Above: The Agate interior in a 2024 Citation Explore 9-6

Fifteen years is a long time to be out of a marketplace. Why return to truck campers now?

We like niche markets and had success in the truck camper marketplace before. Our management team is also good friends with the leadership at Northern Lite, and we know the truck camper market is growing. Our first new Citation truck campers showed at the Spring Toronto RV Show.

General Coach factory

Above: Citation Explore truck campers (center) are built in the same factory at Citation Explore Reward trailers

The stand-out features of Citation fifteen years ago were all-aluminum framing, vacuum-bonded walls, floors and roofs, two-inch thick side walls with closed cell foam insulation, molded fiberglass nose caps, and thermal pane windows. Have all of these features carried into the new Citation truck campers?

The construction is largely the same with the 2024 Citation truck campers. We are using all-aluminum framing, two-inch thick vacuum-bonded walls, molded fiberglass nose caps, and thermal pane windows.

There are some key differences. For example, our fiberglass nose cap now has the automotive glass front window from our Reward travel trailer. Where the subfloor was previously plywood with wood trusses, it’s now vacuum-bonded with aluminum trusses.

The old Citation utilized face frame cabinetry, while the new Citation has modular cabinetry built with lightweight plywood. The modular cabinets are significantly stronger, more durable, and better looking than the previous iteration. Overall, Citation truck camper construction has changed for the better.

Are you launching with the previous Citation floor plans or are you bringing new floor plans to market?

We are bringing back two of the most popular floor plans from the original Citation truck camper line. If you look at our new 10-2 and 9-6 models, they’re similar to the 10-2 and 9-6 from before. We are planning to build a 10-8 model as well.

Citation Agate Interior Cabover Bedroom

Our goal is to be a high-end truck camper. That’s what we set out to do. We are not good at building cheap products. Every meeting we have is about how to make our campers the best in the marketplace. That’s our focus.

Our two-inch vacuum-bonded walls are incredibly strong. The modular cabinets are a major upgrade. The full fiberglass nose cap and the heavy-duty Torklift International storage bumper and double folding step are both class-leading. We’re exclusively using top-notch Furrion and Truma components throughout. There are a number of different things that make the new Citation what it is.

Manufactured Park Models General Coach Canada

Above: General Coach Canada also produces travel trailers, park models, cabins, and manufactured homes

Are Citation truck campers custom-built to order or production-manufactured?

We have two facilities in Hensall. Our main factory produces park models, cabins, and manufactured homes. Across the road, in our travel division, we build our travel trailer and truck camper product lines. We are a production manufacturer and, although we can make minor adjustments for specific customers, we prefer to keep things simple. Our goal remains quality over quantity.

Will Citation truck campers be sold direct or through a dealer base?

We are selling Citation truck campers through our General Coach dealer network.

Cabinet Shop Machinery

Above: A Doucet return conveyor and edge bander in the General Coach cabinet shop

There are currently no General Coach dealers in the United States. Is that going to change?

Yes. We have started with our Canadian dealers and are now looking into the United States. We’re only going to set up a select number of dealers and are evaluating those dealers now. Our goal is to get the best truck camper dealers in the United States and Canada. We want our campers on lots that focus on and understand truck campers.

Camp-Out RV here in Ontario carries Citation truck campers because they’re focused on truck campers. Right now, they have them in the front row of their lot. The salespeople there understand truck campers.

A 2024 goal for General Coach is to have Citation truck campers in the United States. The units have been approved. Now it’s a matter of finding the right dealers and bringing them on board.

“A 2024 goal for General Coach is to have Citation truck campers in the United States.”

CNC machine in General Coach woodshop

Above: Holzma front load CNC panel beam saw

Let’s get into the truck campers. Tell us about the design and development process. Did you go through CAD and/or prototype revisions during the development process?

Having built truck campers in the past was an advantage. We understand truck campers. We started our design process around the fiberglass front nose cap and automotive window. We are using the same automotive window from our Reward trailer line, so we were stuck with that size. The window dictated the overall size and dimensions of the cabover.

From there, the entire camper was developed in CAD. Once that was completed, the camper went straight to production for both models; the 9-6 and the 10-2. We built two of each model. As the campers were coming down the line, we made changes. That’s our new model prototyping process.

Citation 10-2 Truck Camper Being Built

Above: A Citation Explore camper in production. Note the aluminum framing and CNC cut cabinetry.

What changes did you make?

Nothing significant. Most of the changes were around fitments for items that were not in the previous generation of Citation truck campers. Other changes were to make sure everything in the camper could be accessed for maintenance and service. For example, the Truma Combi was too tight in the original cavity for plumbing, electric, and service. That had to be changed.

We also adjusted the ducting to be in the right areas. Now that we have the dry weights, we’re adjusting things here and there to take some weight out of the units. We originally had a 9-2 model for short beds, but it’s too heavy for a short bed, single rear wheel, one-ton truck. Once we had that weight, we immediately canceled that model.

Citation Camper Wall CNC Cut

Above: A vacuum-bonded Citation Explore sidewall gets CNC cut at Okaply

How much weight do you think you’ll be able to pull out of the next run of Citation 9-6 and 10-2 models?

In between 400 and 500 pounds. We’re modifying some of the cabinetry and the metal basement slide-out tray was removed. That alone saved 100 pounds.

Why does General Coach believe vacuum bonding is still the best approach for wall laminations?

Vacuum bond lamination has stood the test of time. A vacuum-bonded wall is the strongest wall out there. Many vacuum-bonded Citation truck campers are still on the road today. It’s 100 percent proven for us and how we build our campers and trailers.

“Many vacuum-bonded Citation truck campers are still on the road today. It’s 100 percent proven for us and how we build our campers and trailers.”

Over the years, has the vacuum bonding process progressed at General Coach?

The most significant thing that’s changed is the adhesives. The overall vacuum bonding process and system are essentially the same as they were at the Oliver plant.

Another important change from the walls in previous Citation truck campers is the switch to Azdel composite for the exterior. It’s waterproof and virtually eliminates delaminations.

Citation 10-2 Aluminum Frame Rendering

Above: Citation 10-2 aluminum frame rendering

Why does General Coach believe aluminum framing is the best for your walls, floor, and roof?

Again, it’s proven. We use aluminum framing across the board on all of our products.

Do you stuff your aluminum with wood?

Yes, we put wood in our framing for screw retention.

Citation Wall With Closed Cell Foam

Above: A Citation Explore sidewall in production at Okaply

Are your aluminum frame and laminated walls completed in-house?

We source our vacuum-bonded side walls from Okaply in Quebec. Okaply produces state-of-the-art vacuum-bonded wall laminations. They are just as focused on quality as we are and are a great local partner.

We also have a local company welding our aluminum frames. The aluminum company is twenty minutes down the road and has worked with us for years. Our engineers work closely with their engineers and are on-site multiple times per month. When the aluminum frames arrive, they get checked by our quality control team to make sure the welds and measurements are correct. There have never been issues. That’s the kind of company we partner with.

Tell us about your use of Azdel composite panels. Where are you using Azdel?

We’re using Azdel everywhere. It’s in the outside sidewalls, floor, and our basement floor. Our entire outside box is 100 percent Azdel. It is then covered up with a black aluminum checker plate material, for a more professional finish, but it’s Adzel.

Citation Side Wall With Windows Cut Out

Above: The vacuum-bonding lamination process at Okaply

Could you share what a cross-section of your side walls looks like?

Yes. Starting on the outside, it’s fiberglass, then Adzel, then an aluminum frame that’s stuffed with wood, closed cell foam, Luan plywood paneling, and then fiberglass. It’s all sandwiched in the vacuum bonding process.

Citation 10-2 Truck Camper Roof With Solar

Above: Citation 10-2 truck camper roof. Note the Truma air conditioner and two 200 watt solar panels

Tell us about the Citation truck camper roofs. How are they built and finished?

Citation truck camper roofs start as a custom aluminum cage built by a local manufacturing partner off-site. We use L-shaped aluminum and I-beams. The top of the roof itself is 3/8” plywood. On top of that is a one-piece vinyl roof material. The vinyl warps over the sides of the unit preventing water from getting in. The shape of our roof has a slight bow to prevent standing water.

Citation aluminum roof frame

Above: An aluminum roof frame for a Citation Explore truck camper

Citation is launching with two models; the 9-6 and 10-2. Why did you start with these two floor plans?

The Citation 9-6 and 10-2 were popular models for us in the mid-2000s and are still popular floor plans in the industry today. With these floor plans, we know we’re jumping in with two strong models.

“With these floor plans, we know we’re jumping in with two strong models.”

Are there more floor plans currently in development?

We are in the works right now with the Citation 10-8. The 10-8 is a dry bath non-slide model. We hope to keep the weight similar to the 10-2. We will announce the 10-8 here in Truck Camper Magazine when it’s ready.

Will you build a double slide or a triple slide?

I don’t think so because the weights would require Class-5 (F-550/5500-series) trucks, but never say never. We didn’t think we’d be back into truck campers either, but here we are.

We will dive into the 2024 Citation 9-6 and 10-2 specifics in the next feature article. Is there anything else big picture that you want readers to know about Citation?

General Coach Canada has been around since 1950. We are family-owned, so we can make decisions on the fly and adjust quickly. We don’t need to wait for a new model year to make changes. We can make decisions in an afternoon and make the change for the next production run. We are focused on quality, not quantity.

General Coach Citation Production Team

Above: The General Coach Citation Explore production team

Would you sell to Thor again?

No. We know the corporate philosophy and that’s not our way of running a company. Besides, Roger has eight grandkids that potentially could be coming into the business. We want to give them that opportunity and remain a family operation for years to come.

Where do you see Citation truck campers in five years?

Ideally, in the next five years, we will become a well-known truck camper brand in North America. We want to grow the brand. On a personal note, it would be amazing to see our campers on the highway or pass them on the road as we’re coming to work every day.

We are in the unique position of selling a lifestyle. What a great industry to be in!

For more information on Citation, visit their website at Click here to request a free Citation truck camper brochure.

Up Next: On Friday we will publish a deep dive into the Citation Explore 10-2 and 9-6 truck campers including design, specifications, capacities, and tons of camper photography.


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