RV industry's Future

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Joe Bee

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Feb 12, 2006
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We all write about quality issues regarding our RVs.? Since joining the Forum in Feb, 2006, I've read most post refering to the best and worst re: quality.? I resently read an article in the RV trade publication "RV Business" (Vol #56 March 2006 pages 19-20 etc).? The Chairman of the "Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association", Mr. Dell Sanders was responding to quality problems in their industry.? He said "This industry is one expose' away from trouble and by that I mean if you take any one here (they'll find) there's a lot being sold and there's? a lot to be desired.? We sell and finance a new travel trailer for 144 months.? And a year and a half later, they're sitting here with the floor rotted out or the back rotted out and there is no warranty after 12 months.? To me it just seems wrong.? If you look at the quality in some of the product that's being allowed to be sold across the country, it's really a shame"

I invite everyone to read the entire article.? It is a real eye opener.? ?The RV Industry knows the problem but are they doing anything about it?? ?Are the Big Boys driven by the stock market and investors and not by their customers??

I resently also read an article about Dell Computer.? They just warned about lower expectations for the 4th quarter in a row.? ?Why??? ?They have admitted that they let their customer service, quality and innovation drop.? Their emphise was on low price and market share.? ?Is the RV Industry doing the same?

Motor Home sales are off 30%.? What are the Big Boys doing??? Introducing new low end Class A diesel pushers.? ?Now is the time for them to innovate and take the time to improve quality.? ?Take the time and effort to demand the components that they have to buy are only the highest quality.? ?Would Honda or Toyota accept the quality that the RV Industry accepts from their vendors?? Would they accept having only one choice for many necesary components?

To Monaco's credit, they have started the franchise dealer program.? One of the features of the program is to eliminate the problem of getting service from a dealer who did not sell the unit.? Surely the Industry can do much more and not just one company.

We spend a great deal of money for a product that has the same reputation as the big 3 auto makers when Honda came to town.? Do we deserve better?? You Bet!? Now, when will it happen?

Thanks for the RV Forum platform to vent.? If you agree or disagree please comment.? ?
 

Tom

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Hi Joe,

Thanks for posting that message. I've wondered about most of those issues over the years and have expressed my own concerns about the apparent lack of attention to them by the RV industry. Things do seem have improved a little since we bought our first coach in 1985, but nowhere near as much as other industries.
 

Tom

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Joe,

Do you have a link to that article online? I can't seem to find it in their archives.

TIA.
 

Joe Bee

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Sorry, don't have link.  I read the article at a dealer.  The exact quote by Mr. Sanders is..  " This industry is one expose' away from trouble and by that I mean if you take any one of the news organizations and put them onto the product quality of what's out here, (they'll f ind) there's a lot being etc...

Mr. Sanders who owns a RV dealership told it like it is.  "RV Business" is owned by the parent company of Camping World, Good Sam's Club and many dealerships.  They also are the ones reporting sales off by 30%
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I have an Rv Business membership and I accessed the RV Business archives but they do not keep the magazine contents online - just Breaking News" updates. There was nothing in the Breaking News archives concerning Dell Sanders' comments.

I would have to say that the industry is indeed customer driven, but it is driven by the sales end rather than the service end. Each manufacturer is scurrying to produce new/updated models with ever more amenities and features. The product design and content is changing almost daily and even two successive builds of the same model arfe rarely identical. Customers are demanding snazzier models rather than stability and quality, so that's what the industry is delivering.  And price competition at  th elow end drives them to cut corners as well.
 

woodartist

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No doubt the industry has problems. Part of it may be due to the customer demands for features that are pushing the envelope. Seems that people want a house on wheels and not a camping unit. I see the huge motorhomes, triple slide outs ( probably 10 if it were possible), toads, overloaded, satellites on the roof, washers, dryers, etc. Heck, they can't fit in any older RV parks....why not just buy a few houses:) If the customer was willing to settle with something smaller, with less features, more modest, etc. then maybe more attention would be paid to quality. Seems the market is size driven, with features, and that is what people want. WIth that said, the baby boomers are retiring and will create ( I suspect) a demand for even more RV's. So the market should be there?
 

Jeff

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The RV industry, much like the general aviation and boat industry has and will suffer from wild swings in production and profitability. It is usually while at the bottom of the cycle that competition demands improvements for survival and customer concerns get listened to.

For the past several years production was king but that is changing beginning now and I believe we will see better quality RV's for the money in the next few years. Those that can't compete will disappear and customers will be better off for it. The successful manufacturers will be in a position to capitalize on the next growth market.

In the early 80's everyone forcast the demise of the RV industry but it is much bigger and stronger than it ever was in the 70's and when we have more fuel efficient, reliable RV's I am sure it will continue its growth.
 

richardcron

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Jul 11, 2006
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I see comments that suggest that many people are just expecting too much from the manufacturers. Well excuse me but regardless of price, a product should perform as advertised, period. Yes, there are going to be quality issues and a lemon once in a while (I got one). But the real problem I see is the fact that these rigs often don?t live up to reasonable expectations. For many of us, what we paid for these things was a small fortune and we have a right to expect to have something that will last a few years hopefully with few problems.
I think that manufacturers should be required to provide a warranty that will cover defects for a much longer period than just one year. For many of us, we only operate our RV?s during the warm months, which means they sit winterized for about six months out of the year. When I bought my Fleetwood Discovery motorhome there were major electrical problems, which took me three months to get partially serviced. It was then late November and the coach was winterized so I really couldn?t know if everything had been repaired or not. It wasn?t until the next April that I found that there were still issues but I only had a couple months left on my warranty. In fact, after four years of ownership, I am still uncovering manufacturing defects.
Dealers should be required to hire industry certified technicians that are proven competent or quit charging us $120.00 per hour for their service. Some of the very sloppy and dangerous work that I?ve witnessed was not worth minimum wage?
 

woodartist

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Some of the very sloppy and dangerous work that I?ve witnessed was not worth minimum wage
Yep, sure agree there. Among other things, I used to have a RV repair business and saw a lot of what you refer to. Seemed that the less a person knew about the RV, the more they were price gouged. Not to mention the competency level of some repair shops was very low when it came to electrical repairs.............
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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On a Yahoo group that I monitor, it was posted that David Gorin, vice president of RV Trade Publications for Trailer Life enterprises, is advocating that campground fees must go up to attract developers to build new parks. He said "At the very least, overnight park rates should equal to at least 50% of what a mid-range modern chain hotel..... I recently stayed at a Hampton Inn in West Palm Beach, FL and paid $169 for a single night.  You can be sure the RV parks in the area are not currently charging $85 a night.  They should be pushing hard toward that figure."

I think it's very interesting that all these things that are, IMO, detrimental to RVers is coming from the Affinity Group.
 

Ned

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$85/night camping would sure change our lifestyle.  And I doubt there would be buyers for all those thousands of RVs that would be for sale.  What does this man smoke?
 

Tom

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Some friends stayed at a CG in the Keys a couple of years ago and paid $87/night. Sounds like this CG owner was ahead of Mr. Gorin, but I doubt we'd stay there at that price.
 

woodartist

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I understand what he is saying..but there should be a better alternative. There are many areas ( Ca., Nevada, Az., etc.) where the price of real estate is such that the campgrounds are selling out to developers, who then build homes, casinos, motels, etc. A campground would not be profitable. I wonder why the camp grounds couldn't be built in less expensive areas. Heck, the last thing I would want to do is "camp" in the middle of a city. Operating expenses shouldn't be anywhere near as high there. Regardless, I suspect that paid campgrounds will have to either increase fees or find an area where they can compete. Of course that means the federal, state, and local campgrounds will follow with increases ::) Sounds like a business opportunity for some one with the money.........Maybe the camping homeless are better off? ;)
 

Phil

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Ned said:
$85/night camping would sure change our lifestyle.  And I doubt there would be buyers for all those thousands of RVs that would be for sale.  What does this man smoke?

Well, I sure wouldn't pay $85 per night at Quartzsite but, I did pay about $40 at the Grizzly and my reservation for Jackson/Grand Teton is $43.  :mad:

Phil
 

Wendy

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An RV park being half the cost of a hotel? I typically stay at Hyatts, Opryland, and others for less than $100 a night and they change my sheets, vacuum, deliver a paper to my doorstep, give me free bottled water and free WiFi, and scrub my toilet. No campground has ever offered any of the above. I would never pay $85 or even $43 for a campsite unless it included a maid coming in and changing the sheets at the very least. I didn't take up RVing to save money but because of the convenience and because I like the lifestyle. And I won't give it up. But any campground that tries to gouge me for rates is NOT going to get my business.
 

motojavaphil

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I had to smile when I saw this subject brought up.  It is the lament of almost all the RVer's I have read about and talked with.  You have to know the industry is doing exactly what an industry does when they make money.  There is no need to change and if you look at it from their end they are doing it right!  I say this because we keep buying them and keep them in business.  We as RVer's do little to change this mess other than talk about it with fellow RVer's and then go out a buy the biggest and best RV we can find which has the same issues.  The industry is consumer driven yet there is little consumer response unless it is so bad that the manufacturer implodes on himself.  It would be great if RV Consumers could be represented and investigations done.  The RVer who loses control of his MH due to poor design or is burned out due to poor wiring.  Longer warranties and enforcement of Lemon Laws would help.  I guess what I am saying is that we as consumers feed this monster only to step back and wonder why it is like this.  Fuel costs may be the catalyst for change.  Less consumers will equal stiffer competition and thereby improve the breed.  Who knows but I will say that I am as careful as I can be regarding purchasing.   
 

chaajoad

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Poulsbo WA
All I can add as a newbie is ...

There's no way in this lifetime I'll pay half of a nightly hotel rate to simply park an RV and use a few pennies of water and power. As was mentioned, hotels offer room service, maid service, restaurants, work-out facilities, net access, etc. If an RV campsite offers that in a gorgeous setting, there at least would be a decision to make.

Until then - I'd just do basic maintenance and use the RV as an extra room before I'll stand for the price gouging mentioned here. One of the biggest reasons I bought the thing was the abundance of reasonably priced places to park it for a few nights and enjoy the outdoors.

Sometimes, I feel like we are all just human piggy-banks with CEO's always thinking of ways to turn us over and shake us dry ...
 

Joe Bee

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Feb 12, 2006
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Fastphil:
I agree but what can we do.? If I put off my purchase because of these issues will it make a difference?? ?Can/could a group representing the RV buying public seek a meeting with the Recrational Vehicle Manufacturers Association?? Would they listen?? They've heard the same issues from the Dealers Assoc and very little has been done.? If it sounds like I'm frustrated, I am.? For now the money is in a CD.
 

martinday

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Jul 20, 2006
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While I am new to rv's I have been in manufacturing for 20 years during which we have constantly been chasing the quality standards of Toyota in the automotive industry. This quality driven model based upon the Toyota Production System has taken root in almost every business sector involved in automotive and consumer goods throughout the world. During the time of my graduate study I had a chance to visit several RV company factories in both Napanee Indiana and in Texas.  Allthough this has been some time ago I did not see any major quality initiatives or manufacturing concepts that were even similar to automotive or consumer goods. I have however seen these concepts work great for both Sea Ray boats and Wellcraft which are similar in construction methods and features. My hope is that the success in the boating industry will force some companies in the RV industry to take note. (Also I am sure that there are companies that do have better manufacturing processes which I have not seen.) This system allows for both improved quality and reduced costs which is why Toyota has rapidly become the leading car company in the world.
 

Tom

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Having owned several Sea Rays and having visited their top-of-the-line factory within the last couple of years, I wouldn't call it a success by any stretch of the imagination. I even offered my services free to help them get started on the journey. Hopefully they'll get there one day, but I wouldn't begin to make a comparison with Toyota. Meanwhile, they're still in the "we can sell all we can make, so why change?" mentality.

I thought we might see some positive change when they hired a GM exec to run SR Boats, but the result so far seems to  have been to make competitive price points.
 
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