Lance Camper introduces the all-new 2010 Lance 850 and teases us about four more new models. We talk to Lance’s National Sales Manager and Product Development Manager for the inside scoop.
Lance Camper is ready to announce their all new 2010 Lance 850 truck camper. But that’s not all. Lance also has four more all new 2010 truck campers in the pipeline. And if that’s not enough news, Lance is discontinuing seven existing models in the wake of the new camper introductions. Let there be no doubt that Lance is making bold moves for 2010.
We contacted Gary Conley, Lance’s National Sales Manager, and Les Fowler, Lance’s Product Development Manager, to get the back story on the new 850. The interview covers the design evolution Lance has been pursuing since introducing the Lance 830 in December of 2007.
2010 Lance 850 Specifications
The 2010 Lance 850 is a hard side, non-slide, rear wet-bath truck camper with a basement. The interior floor length of the 2010 Lance 850 is 8′ 11″ and the interior height is 78″. The exterior length is 16′ 10″ and Lance is reporting the dry weight of the camper at 2,170 pounds without options. The tanks in the 2010 Lance 850 are 30 gallons fresh, 20 gallons gray, and 18 gallons black.
The camper accommodates two batteries and two twenty-pound propane tanks. The MSRP for the 2010 Lance 850 is $18,842.
We interviewed Gary Conley, National Sales Manager and Les Fowler, Product Development Manager about the new Lance 850.
TCM: Before we talk about the new models, tell us about the research and development process. When did pre-production start and what were the goals?
Les: The new Lance campers for 2010 are replacing the 815, 835, 845, and 915. We have had these models for many years and they were designed to fit trucks from years ago. Our new campers are designed to fit newer trucks.
Our customers have also requested larger tank capacities in our smaller campers. The need to improve the truck fit and the request for larger tank sizes is how these new campers came about. The older campers were also wood framed. These new campers are all-aluminum framed and fully laminated.
TCM: Are the new campers just updates to now discontinued models or are they completely fresh designs?
Gary: We have five new Lance models. They are the 850, 855, 865, 950, and 950 Slide. The 835 is replaced by the 850. The 845 is replaced by the 855. The 915 is replaced by the 950. The 815 is replaced by the 865. And the 981 is replaced by the 950 Slide.
TCM: So the 981 is also being discontinued and replaced. Are there any campers that are being discontinued, but not replaced?
Gary: Yes. The 1055, 971, and 805 are going away completely.
TCM: Tell us about some of the design breakthroughs that were made during the development of the five new campers.
Les: All of our wood cabinets are now Garnica RV-Ply from Spain. We would purchase the Garnica RV-Ply domestically, but it’s not available. The cabinets are twelve millimeter Garnica RV-Ply and the walls are fifteen millimeter Garnica RV-Ply. In contrast, the US marine grade is only about five ply. The Garnica RV-Ply from Spain is about 30% lighter which is one way we pulled weight out of our new campers.
Since Truck Camper Magazine last visited the Lance factory, we have invested in two more automated CNC machines. By building with Garnica RV-Ply with a CNC machine, we can pull the labor out which is a significant cost savings. Even though the Garnica RV-Ply is more expensive, we are no longer framing, paneling, routing, stapling, and cutting. All of that’s gone away with the CNC machine. Additionally, the fit and finish of our cabinets is much nicer in our new campers. All this and we get the added benefit of the weight savings.
TCM: It sounds like the CNC machines have become a vital part of the Lance Camper assembly process.
Les: They have. With the CNC machines, the mill is not cutting as much. Now a CNC cuts and bores the holes. A ready to assemble fastener pops into the holes with a screw at the right angle. This process takes away the person on the line drilling and screwing. The CNC is doing all of that for us. All we’re doing is assembling instead of building. We used to have jigs, but now it’s all one panel and the CNC machine is doing it.