Are Earth Cruisers & Co. overpriced?

funky

New member
I don't say they are. It's just that I don't understand the price tag. I wonder if some of the more knowledgeable members could help me to understand why my dream rig must cost $ 250,000. I want a Fuso FG 4x4 chassis with a lightweight fiberglass composite monocoque construction, besides pop top, containerable and with a camper/cabin opening. That's basically it. Rugged but not luxurious and without many fancy option. I believe in KISS.

I look (first and foremost) at the Earth Cruiser, but I also have an eye on ATW/SMB and GXV Pangea LT. And I do like the XP Camper which is not (yet) available for the Canter.

From the little I know, the Canter 4x4 chassis sells for around $50,000. Add a few 10K to bring it to Earth Cruiser-level. The XP V1-Camper (without truck but with flatbed) costs $ 75,000. That's certainly not cheap, but it's also very high quality. Comparisons are always difficult, and a XP Camper is not an Earth Cruiser. If it were possible to put the XP Camper cabin on the Canter (I hope somebody in Grass Valley hears my plea), a price tag near $ 150,000 should be realistic. The Earth Cruiser pricing officially starts (and we all know what that means) with $ 225,000. (I wonder if many below $ 250,000 drive out of Bend.) And while the XP Camper is a brand new product with high development costs to recoup, the US-Earth Cruiser is based on an already existing Australian model.

I believe that a fiberglass composite monocoque camper on a Canter-chassis for around $150,000 would attract a lot of interests even if it were a bit less loaded and luxurious than an Earth Cruiser is. Hot water in- and outdoor showers, integrated solar system, electric entry steps, electric awing, etc. are certainly nice to have - but simpler solutions are possible and could be added individually. I think, for $ 50,000 or 100,000 less some compromises may be acceptable to many.

Just my 5 cents. Again, I may be wrong altogether. Any thoughts out there?
 
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Maninga

Adventurer
Personally, I think you've answered your own question. You're willing to spend 150k for something that's a more rugged and less luxurious/less options than an Earthcruiser. Between the luxury, options and engineering that goes into these campers, there's a whole lot that goes into the detail. I'm building my own camper at the moment, the big parts are the easy ones, the devil's in the detail (and the cost). Personally, having seen the Global Warrior, their attention to detail is brilliant and if I could afford one, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. But there's other options available for you to work up it, don't have to start at the high end.

And I do like the XP Camper which is not (yet) available for the Canter.
I first bought an XPCamper which I then bought a Canter for it. With the MWB chassis, it's a perfect fit in many ways. You use the cab overhang area for additional storage (gear/motorbike/etc). Tray's a bit more difficult than what comes out as standard, it's both larger than the standard XP Tray and spring mounting would be good. So it can fit and be done.
But have you tried asking Marc at XP for a Canter version? When the deal on my XP fell through, I had multiple emails with Marc about a version designed specifically for the Canter. With his fibreglassing coming in house and the new panel construction he's got available, he's more than happy to design and build one, just needs the first person to give him some money. I ended up not going through with it, primarily due to me being in Australia and him in California, but the option is certainly there.

From the little I know, the Canter 4x4 chassis sells for around $50,000. Add a few 10K to bring it to Earth Cruiser-level.
Just from modifying my own truck, it'll take a more than that to get it to the same level as Earthcruiser.
 

Keyne

Adventurer
Xp camper is building an EEXP that looks like a box to fit on a flat bed. I am interested in seeing how the project progresses but I think it would be a great option to add to a Fuso. Imagine this on a used short bed fuso with the better diesel, swb, and the nice cabover design. Hopefully it would be cheaper. I too love the Earthcruiser and ATW but they are expensive.

Link to EEXP

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/123209-The-EEXP-is-Born

Also you could put an Alaskan on a Fuso. They make noncabover versions and the interiors IMO are nice.
 
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pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
I don't say they are. It's just that I don't understand the price tag. I wonder if some of the more knowledgeable members could help me to understand why my dream rig must cost $ 250,000.
They seem to be selling plenty of vehicles, to me that indicates that they are priced right for the market. Might not be for you (that's why the automotive market has so many different price points) but there certainly seem to be enough people out there willing to buy them.
 

whatcharterboat

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0018
They seem to be selling plenty of vehicles, to me that indicates that they are priced right for the market. Might not be for you (that's why the automotive market has so many different price points) but there certainly seem to be enough people out there willing to buy them.
Hi all.

I just spent the weekend with some ATW Global Warrior owners, Tony and Nancy. Their Global Warrior didnt quite cost $250 k but it was up there towards that figure and they made a very valid point regarding price......yes this type of vehicle may sound expensive compared to "conventional" motorhomes but they said they do not have the same costs incurred with camping and caravan park fees either. Having lived and toured in their Global Warrior almost non-stop since they took delivery, they have spent only 20 out of 200 nights where they had to pay fees and that included paying at National Parks for some of those 20 nights. With the large fuel, water, food storage, electrical , etc capacities on board they have been able to stay in far more remote spots and for longer periods than first thought and saved considerable money as a result.

Another comment was that they were not sure how touring continuously in this type of 4wd truck would pan out. Most of the people they talk to try to do this with large 4wd wagons towing a caravan. Nancy told me that travelling in the truck is a completely different experience. With a caravan or camper trailer most of those guys would be worried about finding a campsite, then spend considerable time setting up camp, unhook the wagon, explore and return back to the campsite. With the truck, they never worry about finding a campsite, explore all day in the truck never having to backtrack and just pullover anywhere off the road. Vastly different. I only mentioned this comparison because in Australia a top brand offroad caravan ($125 to $150k), new Landcruiser/Patrol ($90 up to $120k for a Sahara) and all the usual 4by mods ($10 to $20k) will set you back around the same amount, $250k and you won't go anywhere near as far in the bush either.

Tony's comment to me was he knew the experience would be good but overall it has turned out far better than he originally imagined. They are planning to continue touring Australia for the next couple of years following the weather and then ship the truck overseas for further travels.

Regards John.
 
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Keyne

Adventurer
One other item to mention is that if you buy an Earthcruiser or a Global Warrior you get the full setup of the truck, camper, and the rear frame connection system/design. I think adding an Alaskan or an XP sounds great but in the back of my head I am always wondering how the flat bed setup would work and be reliable... several "home built" designs have had issues with the Fuso frame.

Also, if you go with one of these setups you get a warranty.

What I really want is for LOTS of people to buy Earthcruisers and ATW setups so I can buy one used in a couple of years. :)
 

Howard70

Adventurer
Price / Value / Worth

Expedition Portal Colleagues:

For me, Funky's original question "Are Earth Cruisers & Co. overpriced?" can only have a relative answer to any of the several implicit questions it poses. "Overpriced" compared to what? Overpriced to me, Bill Gates, or the recent graduate with $60,000 in outstanding student loans? Is the price in line with the value, or, most relevant for my wife and I, is the value worth the price for us? I think the answer to that "price / value / worth" question will be different for everyone and probably different for the same person at different points in their life. For us the current answer is "yes" (in fact we feel like we're getting a bargain in our currently-being-built EarthCruiser). Some observations - all of these vehicles: EarthCruisers, Global Warriors, Fuso-based Pangeas, XP Campers, etc. are custom-configured if not custom built. Thus the prices you hear about are often pretty speculative and the only way to really estimate what such a vehicle would cost you is to contact the builders, spend some time with them so they get a feel for what you need and what you want, and then get an estimate from them. We've talked to most of them and I'm confident that none of them are charging more than what their skills, knowledge, and development costs are worth to me!

Prior to ordering our EarthCruiser, our last major expedition "vehicle" was a 40' sailboat that we used in South America for 11 years. When we first started looking for the ideal boat we had a general budget in our heads. Almost immediately the brokers we worked with showed us a wonderful 2 year old vessel completely outfitted and ready for the type of work we had in mind. The problem was the price - around $200,000. Way above what we wanted to spend or had available. Several months later we purchased a wonderful boat in good shape for around $80,000 and started what ended up as a 1.5 year period of refitting and rebuilding to end up with a perfect boat that carried us through some of the best time of our lives. By the time we were done the total cost (including slip fees, parts, some labor, moving the vessel, etc - but not calculating any of our "sweat equity") was around $220,000! Pretty close to the previously ideal boat we'd rejected as too expensive. The punch line is that either route would have had it's advantages. Buying the first boat outright would have saved 1.5 years, some tears and some stress. Refitting the 2nd boat taught us an immense amount about the various systems and provided an intimate knowledge of everything aboard that allowed us to keep the vessel and her systems working for 11 years on the equator on our own. Incidentally that systems knowledge has helped us a lot in planning our current build.

This time around we're older, we have more funds available, and we don't want to spend several years in the build. We'd rather be camping now. So we're confident that our EarthCruiser's value for us will be worth her price. All of these vehicles are orders of magnitude different than standard US built recreational vehicles most of us are familiar with. I've posted elsewhere on why the EarthCruiser was our platform of choice. I'm sure some others would be better suited by XP Campers, Global Warriors, or Pangeas while many would probably choose EarthCruisers as we did. Ask yourself what you want to do with the vehicle, what is most important to you, engage the builders in conversations about their products, and then decide how you'll pay for your perfect truck. There are a lot of different ways to do that and most of them will have great influence on your own price / value / worth balance.

Howard
 
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gait

Explorer
the question is surely whether they are value for money, and for some the answer is obviously yes.

In my case, travel through Aus and Asia, I looked at the roughly A$250,000 and worked out the cost of a carnet - for India a bank guarantee of A$1m (4x value) or insurance premium of A$20,000 (2% of 4x value) per year. I needed a carnet for first and third year, plus 3 month extension. Iran is 4.7x value.

To put that in perspective - in three years my biggest cost has been diesel. With a vehicle valued at A$250,000 the bureaucratic costs could have exceeded fuel cost. Not quite apples and pears comparison, but basically the higher the vehicle value the higher the operating cost.

I also pondered normal vehicle insurance. For European green card it would simply have been "lots". In some countries I have been "self-insured". I felt I needed to limit the exposure from potentially having to walk away from the vehicle - that the limit would be my willingness to drive along a rough track, not a concern about the dollars. NW Mongolia is not a good place to have to worry about the value of the vehicle.

I'm lucky in having some diy skills. Not everyone has those skills, and of those who do not everyone has the time, or inclination to diy. Importantly, the value for bureaucratic purposes of a completed used unique diy vehicle can, within reason, appear to be whatever one wants.

I'm over 60, about 1.8m tall, once had a back operation, and tend to be less than flexible. I believed I needed a level of comfort not provided by the pop-top. Perhaps some obscure intellectual difference between camper and motorhome.

Starting with something about a full size door. And I also believed I could make a bit more efficient use of available space. Little things like water efficiency start with sink size and my low (about 6psi) pump pressure.

Thus, standard inner sprung double bed mattress. Dining for 8. 1200x700mm shower/loo. Vacuum loo (porcelain pedestal and two cassettes). Etc. SRW, parabolics and suspension seats easily pass under the valuation radar.

While I could have built it cheaper than I did, I didn't. Materials and appliances in Aus are expensive. And anything RV seems to have a premium price.

Just some ideas ... my foam cushions for the 8 bench dining seats cost about A$2,500. Bed lift more than A$1,000. Large windows total around A$3,000 (though nowhere the reported $5,000+ per window for triple glazed in Europe). Curtains another $1,000. "Drop top" added a couple of months to build.

Basically I saved the labour cost. But one-off projects have their own different cost structure. I applied some very rigorous project management principles and build took about 6 months effort. I fitted it into a period when my wife wasn't ready to travel. As others have said, diy build is a means to an end, not an end, important bit for me is travel. Design and procurement were also about 6 months duration each but were done in parallel with other activities, and I'd already converted a small bus. Some parts are not readily available to amateur diy.

Don't forget the shake down trip. Testing a one-off diy is considerably different to testing an off-the-shelf build. The expectations and approach to testing are very different.

Cosmetically, its a rectangular box. Deliberately as square corners are much cheaper and quicker to fit out. But also because moulds for one-off fibreglass are expensive. Diy time isn't an infinite commodity. I did create jigs for similar parts (like edge trim) but that was the exception. Also recognise that the finish I could achieve is less than can be achieved with a team manufacturing the same vehicle repeatedly.

I used fibreglass sandwich and dibond (Al faced polyethylene sandwich). I had to set up my workshop for new (to me) materials.

I'll soon be back in Aus, after 3 years of very rough use. I'll have a period of repairs, including the likely couple of months effort to repair broken sub-frame (repairs on the road may not be elegant engineering solutions) and the side effects. A broken window will cost me about A$600.

Importantly, I don't plan on selling it. A used diy vehicle is valued differently by purchasers than a used professionally built vehicle.

We've met people in all manner of vehicles on our travels. 4wd Mercedes and VW vans with limited conversion (including sans loo) are popular, but mainly among younger people, or people who have been traveling a long time and have aged with their vehicles. But despite having come from a tenting, hiking (carry everything on back) background we have a level of comfort which is appropriate for us. Which is why for some people the professionally built Earthcruisers and similar are value for money - they match the need.
 
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Michelle@EarthCruiser

Supporting Sponsor
Ok, our time to chime in...

It costs an amount of money to do something properly and repeatable. For us at EarthCruiser, we spent nearly two years researching and refining the design before we hired staff to build EarthCruisers here in the US. Vehicle building like any business of course, has a significant start up cost.

At home (in Aus) early EarthCruiser adopters used this as a basis for comparison when making the decision to buy ..a well set up LandCruiser/Patrol $100K and a good off road caravan another $100K would set them back nearly the same dollars with a very different travel experience. With dozens of EarthCruisers out there I don't know of any who would go back to towing something.

Just to clarify, a fully set up EarthCruiser (wheels, suspension etc) in the US is $220,000 x Bend OR.
 

Jfet

Adventurer
Our flatbed camper build is going to be easily $50,000 and that isn't even counting the truck. We have been working weekends on it for a year and it will be another 6 months before the interior is done. I no longer think $250,000 is very much money for a well designed turnkey expedition vehicle.
 

biggoolies

Adventurer
I think one must ponder where they will take the vehicle then one must think how they would feel if...un ladrón dice, "quiero tu camión!" ;-)
 

lehel1

Adventurer
overpriced ?

I don't say they are. It's just that I don't understand the price tag. I wonder if some of the more knowledgeable members could help me to understand why my dream rig must cost $ 250,000. I want a Fuso FG 4x4 chassis with a lightweight fiberglass composite monocoque construction, besides pop top, containerable and with a camper/cabin opening. That's basically it. Rugged but not luxurious and without many fancy option. I believe in KISS.

I look (first and foremost) at the Earth Cruiser, but I also have an eye on ATW/SMB and GXV Pangea LT. And I do like the XP Camper which is not (yet) available for the Canter.

From the little I know, the Canter 4x4 chassis sells for around $50,000. Add a few 10K to bring it to Earth Cruiser-level. The XP V1-Camper (without truck but with flatbed) costs $ 75,000. That's certainly not cheap, but it's also very high quality. Comparisons are always difficult, and a XP Camper is not an Earth Cruiser. If it were possible to put the XP Camper cabin on the Canter (I hope somebody in Grass Valley hears my plea), a price tag near $ 150,000 should be realistic. The Earth Cruiser pricing officially starts (and we all know what that means) with $ 225,000. (I wonder if many below $ 250,000 drive out of Bend.) And while the XP Camper is a brand new product with high development costs to recoup, the US-Earth Cruiser is based on an already existing Australian model.

I believe that a fiberglass composite monocoque camper on a Canter-chassis for around $150,000 would attract a lot of interests even if it were a bit less loaded and luxurious than an Earth Cruiser is. Hot water in- and outdoor showers, integrated solar system, electric entry steps, electric awing, etc. are certainly nice to have - but simpler solutions are possible and could be added individually. I think, for $ 50,000 or 100,000 less some compromises may be acceptable to many.

Just my 5 cents. Again, I may be wrong altogether. Any thoughts out there?
hello all

campers can certainly be expensive. its a joy to see the builds from sportsmobile, gxv, earthcruiser and the like. most very well built and well worth the efforts these people put into these rigs.
you can also do a build for much less. i bought my 08 truck new, and had a custom camper built in oklahoma for a total investment of under 70k. it doesnt fit into a container, its a traditional wood frame and outfitted more closely to a regular recreational vehical. i have enjoyed traveling in this since 08 with no problems and spend much time offroad. its not a bullet proof foam core box like i had on my previous unimog camper but it works for my use.
if i had big bucks i certainly would consider the great builds from the increasingly used fuso chassis, but i have been happy to be out there and traveling with what i was able to do.
in the end its getting out there and enjoying ; )

cheers lehel
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
One other item to mention is that if you buy an Earthcruiser or a Global Warrior you get the full setup of the truck, camper, and the rear frame connection system/design. I think adding an Alaskan or an XP sounds great but in the back of my head I am always wondering how the flat bed setup would work and be reliable... several "home built" designs have had issues with the Fuso frame.

Also, if you go with one of these setups you get a warranty.

What I really want is for LOTS of people to buy Earthcruisers and ATW setups so I can buy one used in a couple of years. :)
The used market is funky. I believe a lot depends on how long the wait is for a new one - for someone who is going to spend $200-300k on a vehicle, they are most likely going to want a brand new one built exactly the way that they want it - and the appeal of a less expensive used one just isn't there. If there is a huge wait for a new custom truck, then the used ones become more appealing options.

We have the same thing going on here in the upper end of the housing market. Many, many multi-million dollar homes sitting vacant (at ridiculously low price) because if you are going to spend that much on a house you are most likely going to custom build to get exactly what you want.

If you time it right there are some great deals to be had buying used, but often times you also have to be able to write a check because getting a loan can be challenging.
 

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