An Italian luxury RV maker is launching a camper van to the US – see inside the ‘innovative’ van that already has a 500-order waitlist

The Oasi 540 on the road
The Oasi 540.

  • European RV and camper van maker Wingamm is bringing one of its popular compact models to the US.
  • The Oasi 540 camper van’s price will range between $135,000 to $145,000 upon its official US debut in 2022.
  • Last month, its distributor was receiving an email or call inquiry from a customer every minute.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
RV and camper van makers have seen extraordinary sales during the COVID-19 pandemic as other travel options were seen as unsafe.

The Oasi 540 parked in a city
The Oasi 540.

Now, Wingamm, an Italian luxury RV maker, is looking to capitalize on this trend by bringing its camper van model to the US …

The Oasi 540 on the road
The Oasi 540.

… and the compact motorhome is already booming in popularity ahead of its debut.

a storage unit in the Oasi 540
The Oasi 540’s storage unit.

Meet Wingamm’s Oasi 540, one of “Europe’s most sought after motorhomes,” according to the press release.

a person standing outside the Wingamm Oasi 540
The Wingamm Oasi 540.

“It has taken persistence and innovation from our team of engineers and consultants in both Italy and the US to create a Wingamm Oasi 540 for the US market,” Lorena Turri, CEO of Wingamm, said in the press release.

The Oasi 540's kitchen with bread on the counter and several drawers open
The Oasi 540’s kitchen.

The Oasi 540’s popularity isn’t just a European trend.

an empty storage unit
One of the storage units in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

For the past three or four years. Wingamm has been receiving inquiries from US-based customers interested in the compact RV, Turri told Insider.

a toilet, a shower, a sink, and storage units inside the Oasi 540's bathroom
The Oasi 540’s bathroom

Wingamm’s RVs are currently available in 15 European and Asian countries, but the US market has always been a goal for the company.

a person about to open the Wingamm Oasi 540
The Wingamm Oasi 540.

Upon its arrival to the states, the camper van will be distributed by TM Motorhome Sales.

the bed pulled down
The bed in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Sales will begin in Los Angeles and New Jersey in 2022 before a full nationwide rollout in 2023, Tony Diamond, co-owner of TM Motorhome Sales, told Insider.

a person opening the vanity of the Wingamm Oasi 540
The Wingamm Oasi 540’s bathroom

Luckily for the two companies, demand is already high ahead of its debut, in part because of media coverage in early June, Diamond said, citing Gear Patrol’s article about the camper van.

exterior of the Wingamm Oasi 540
The exterior of the Wingamm Oasi 540.

After the Gear Patrol article was published on June 3, the company began receiving “nonstop” calls and emails about the van (we’re talking an inquiry every minute).

a person moving the table in the Wingamm Oasi 540
The swivel table in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” Diamond said. “There was a stream of emails coming in and we were like, ‘Oh my god, what’s going on here?’ The phone was just ringing, ringing, ringing, and it was a magical moment because we’ve believed in this.”

a person putting items in the storage unit
One of the storage units in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Demand has since tapered off a bit, but Diamond says the team is still receiving an email or call about the van every roughly 20 minutes.

a hand over the exterior of the Wingamm Oasi 540
The exterior of the Wingamm Oasi 540.

And all of this happened despite not having any marketing campaigns in the US yet, according to Turri.

water bottles in a storage unit
A storage unit in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

“[The US] is a huge market that could be immediately bigger than our European market because we are receiving many inquiries,” Turri said.

Oasi 540's pull down bed under a skylight next to storage units
The Oasi 540’s pull down bed.

The company now has a waitlist of over 550 customers, according to the press release.

a person standing in the kitchen of the Wingamm Oasi 540
The kitchen in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Over 30 RV dealers, including “some of the biggest dealers around the country,” have also contacted TM Motorhome Sales about becoming a dealer, according to Diamond.

a person pulling down the bed from the roof
Pulling down the bed of the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the features that have made the Oasi 540 so successful.

close up of the cabinets
The overhead cabinets in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

The camper van is based on a Promaster, but it has its own custom one-piece monocoque fiberglass shell.

A close up of the exterior of the Wingamm Oasi 540.
The Wingamm Oasi 540.

This shell prevents leaks, improves sound insulation, and allows for a customizable floor plan.

a person holding a sample of the body shell.
A cross section of the monocoque shell used in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

RV makers like Thor, Winnebago, and Airstream often build camper vans and floor plans within existing Ford Transit, Ram Promaster, and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans. But according to Diamond, this method is “very limited.”

exterior storage units on the Oasi 540
The Oasi 540’s exterior storage unit.

“Because of the custom fiberglass monocoque shell, Wingamm is basically able to design whatever floor plan it wants,” Diamond said.

a person in the living room of the Wingamm Oasi 540
The living room in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

The camper is 17 feet, 9 inches long, which should fit in most standard US parking spots.

exterior of the Wingamm Oasi 540
The exterior of the Wingamm Oasi 540.

This size means the van can operate in both national parks and cities.

a close up of the shift
The Wingamm Oasi 540.

Diamond calls the camper van an “alternative to an apartment,” and it’s easy to see why given all of its home-like amenities.

empty storage unit outside the van
One of the exterior storage units in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Despite being pint-sized, the tiny home on wheels still has several key rooms, including a bedroom, bathroom, closets, and kitchen.

toilet and sink in the Wingamm Oasi 540
The toilet and sink in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

The kitchen and living room are towards the front of the van, while the bathroom and additional closet storage fall towards the back.

The Oasi 540's kitchen with bread on the counter
The Oasi 540’s kitchen.

If you’re wondering where the bedroom is, well, it’s in the ceiling.

Oasi 540's pull down bed under a skylight next to storage units
The Oasi 540’s pull down bed.

Unlike most camper vans that have a pop-top bed or a dedicated bedroom space, Oasi 540’s bed is stored in the ceiling.

the bed pulled down in the Wingamm Oasi 540.
The bed pulled down in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

The memory foam bed can then be pulled down over the driver’s area, living room, and kitchen when it’s time for a cat nap or a night’s sleep.

Oasi 540's kitchen and living room with the drivers area and windows looking out onto a road
The Oasi 540’s kitchen and living room.

Hiding the bed in the wall makes space for a larger kitchen, bathroom, and living room.

the kitchen countertop and a person standing next to it
The kitchen in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

The living and dining room is equipped with an L-shaped seating system and a movable oval-shaped table, perfect for dining or remote work.

Oasi 540's kitchen and living room with the drivers area and windows looking out onto a road
The Oasi 540’s kitchen and living room.

These seats, plus the swivel driver and passenger seats, can accommodate up to six guests, according to a YouTube video tour of the Oasi 540.

Oasi 540's kitchen and living room with the drivers area and windows looking out onto a road
The Oasi 540’s kitchen and living room.

Source: YouTube

The seating bench can also be used as an additional sleeping space to accompany the pull-down bed.

a storage unit in the Wingamm Oasi 540
The Wingamm Oasi 540’s storage unit.

This, plus the bed, can sleep three, or possibly four people.

close up of an outlet.
An outlet in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Source: Wingamm

Now, onto the kitchen, which is right across from the living room.

a close up of the two burner stovetop
The stovetop in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

The kitchen has a two-burner gas stove, a countertop, several soft-close cabinets …

The Oasi 540's kitchen with bread on the counter and several drawers open
The Oasi 540’s kitchen.

… a sink with a cutting board cover, and a refrigerator-freezer.

a person about to open the fridge in the Wingamm Oasi 540.
The refrigerator freezer in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

If you think the kitchen seems home-like, wait until you see the bathroom. Diamond compares the van’s bathroom to that of a hotel room bathroom (but smaller, of course).

a toilet, a shower, a sink, and storage units inside the Oasi 540's bathroom
The Oasi 540’s bathroom

There’s a shower, sink, ceramic toilet, vanity, and cabinets, all within the compact space.

a person looking in the bathroom vanity
The bathroom vanity in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

The van also uses a cassette sewage structure that breaks down all of the unwanted sewage. The suitcase-like cassette can then be removed from the van and emptied into a toilet at any rest stop or establishment.

a person moving the cassette system
The cassette.

Worried about wintertime? The heated floors will help keep the already insulated camper even warmer.

One of the exterior storage units in the Wingamm Oasi 540
One of the storage units in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Besides the closet and cabinets, there are also storage spaces hidden around the exterior of the van, including a storage unit that’s accessible from the inside of the van, according to the YouTube video tour.

an open empty storage unit
One of the storage units in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Source: YouTube

When you need to brighten up the tiny home on wheels during a remote workday, just use the overhead LED lights, which are both dimmable and color-changing.

a person looking up at the overhead lights
The overhead lights in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

“We look at the Wingamm Oasi 540 as being to other Class B motorhomes as what the iPhone was to the flip phone, or what Peloton was to Nordic track, or what Tesla is to other electric vehicles,” Diamond said. “This is truly an innovative motorhome in so many ways … from its size to the sewage system, to the bathroom, to the bed.”

a closeup of the showerhead
The shower head in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Wingamm plans to produce about 150 to 200 camper vans for its debut US season. This number of builds will grow to about 500 vehicles per season in the future, according to Turri.

a man opening the closets in the Wingamm Oasi 540
The closet in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

“I suppose we’ll have more demand than products for the first season,” Turri said.

a hand by the sink in the bathroom
The sink in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

To address this, the company is already looking to grow production by investing in a new manufacturing plant.

a person swiveling the table
The swivel table in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

The vans are currently being built in Italy, but Wingamm’s next steps could include moving production to the US depending on the success of the camper van’s overseas introduction.

The Oasi 540's kitchen with bread on the counter
The Oasi 540’s kitchen.

To market the vehicle upon its US debut, Wingamm and TM Motorhome Sales will display the Oasi 540 at malls across the US, which could help attract customers that are new to the RV world.

a rendering of the Oasi 540 at a mall.
A rendering of the Oasi 540 at a mall.

The final price isn’t set yet, but Turri estimates the camper van – with all of its sleek luxuries, multipurpose spaces, and compact size – could range between $135,000 to $145,000

close up of the Wingamm logo
Wingamm’s fabrics.

Turri and Diamond believe that the rise in big city living costs, #VanLife, remote work, and “experiential living” makes the Oasi 540 “an enticing value proposition,” according to the press release.

close up of an open refrigerator
The refrigerator in the Wingamm Oasi 540.

Read the original article on Business Insider

See inside a defunct Macy’s that underwent a $3.5 million transformation to become a high school in Vermont

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Downtown Burlington High School is located in a defunct Macy’s store.

  • A high school in Burlington, Vermont moved into a defunct Macy’s store.
  • The school district spent $3.5 million renovating the department store into classrooms.
  • Some abandoned malls across the US are being repurposed for other uses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
High school students in Burlington, Vermont are now attending school in what was once a Macy’s department store in a local mall, Lisa Rathke reported for the Associated Press.

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Downtown Burlington High School.

Students at the school spent the previous six months learning remotely after toxic chemicals that can have dangerous health effects, called PCBs, were found in the school building. 

The district signed a six-month lease on the former Macy’s location, spending $3.5 million to renovate the 150,000 square foot space so it would be useable as a school, Seven Days Vermont reported.

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Downtown Burlington High School.

Macy’s closed the location in 2018, but it’s still set up like a standard department store. Dividers separate the huge space into dozens of classrooms, plus a cafeteria, library, and physical education room.

Read more: 9 retail brands that are prime M&A targets in 2021, according to experts

The escalators are one of the features that make Downtown Burlington High School different from others. Students told the AP that escalators and elevators are “nice features” for students.

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Downtown Burlington High School.

Some students and faculty told the AP that the lack of windows can be an issue, and noise travels because the dividing walls don’t reach the ceiling, but the temporary solution is working.

 “It’s way better than being stuck at home on your computer all day long,” Senior Lila Iyengar Lehman told the AP.

The cafeteria is in the space that once held Michael Kors products, and signs of the building’s previous life as a mall are still around.

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Downtown Burlington High School.

Lunch buffets have replaced display cases.

“It’s amazing to think that we are standing in what used to be a department store,” Superintendent Tom Flanagan said at the opening ceremony.

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Downtown Burlington High School.

“That we’re greeting people where we used to buy winter coats; reading books where they once sold fine China; taking phone calls in converted changing rooms; and learning science in the old suit racks,” he continued.

The china department was transformed into a library, and shelves that once held dinnerware now hold books for high school students.

Downtown Burlington High School
Downtown Burlington High School.

The gym, located in the warehouse, is still a work in progress.

Shuttered American malls are a symptom of the retail apocalypse that led to 9,300 store closings in 2019, 8,300 in 2020, and already more than 1,000 in 2021.

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Downtown Burlington High School.

This trend is especially deadly for malls, which rely on anchor stores like Macy’s and Sears to drive foot traffic inside. 

As malls close, some simply sit empty and abandoned. Others are being repurposed for new uses.

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Downtown Burlington High School.

Epic Games spend $95 million on a North Carolina mall with plans to turn it into a new company headquarters.

Other malls are being used as mass COVID-19 vaccination centers, including the Mall of America in Minnesota and the Townsquare Mall in New Jersey.

Read the original article on Business Insider