RV Sales in Wall Street Journal - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-23-2015, 09:11 AM   #1
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RV Sales in Wall Street Journal

This morning's Journal had an article on the continuing increase in RV sales in North America.
More RVs Hit the Road, but They Are the Cheaper Models - WSJ

Some tidbits from the article:
  • The trend is toward smaller, cheaper, and fewer frills.
  • The "Big Four"- Forest River, Thor, Jayco, and Winnebago- account for 87% of the market.
  • Forest River made the biggest gain in market share by focusing on entry-level models.
  • While still increasing, graph shows sales headed toward a plateau.
  • Quality control remains a nagging issue in the industry.

No mention of molded fiberglass towables, not surprising since our entire universe is only a portion of that 13% not owned by the Big Four. The general trend toward smaller and more basic is consistent with the high demand for our trailers though.

Of course, "smaller, cheaper, and fewer frills" is relative. The article featured a buyer who decided to forego a $150K 40' Class A with fireplace, walk-in closet, and washer/dryer combo for an $80K 26' Forest River Sprinter with only three TVs… LOL! Had engine trouble on the way to Alaska and had to turn back to find an authorized repair shop.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:25 AM   #2
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I think that this could also be part of the tiny house movement. People are finding bigger is not always better. Having all the gadgets won't make the experience better. As the saying goes, less is more!
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:15 AM   #3
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If we were the type of retirees that went to the same place every winter to snowbird, we'd just buy a park model and be done with it. Wouldn't want to drag a ginormous thing with a 3/4 ton gas drinking truck back and forth. I don't really "get it", but hey, each to their own.

We like quick, light, easy traveling, which is different from just going to the same place. Thus, less is indeed more. Different strokes.
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:24 AM   #4
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Hmmm, I drove by our local Camping World yesterday and was amazed to see the "largest" inventory I have ever seen on their lot. The back, fenced lot was packed full of big trailers, 5th wheels, and Class A's with slideouts extended. The Class A's continued down the highway all across their frontage. Their parking lot was also full but some of those might have been repairs waiting. Seriously, I have never seen this many rigs at that location, and all I saw where the bigger units although the smaller ones may have been in the back.

BUT, as was mentioned in the WJ article, what I actually see out on the road being pulled are smaller stickies. I see a lot of Coleman 18-20ish footers around here and in campgrounds that look very new. I think the dealers push these out for "$129.99 a month" or something. Maybe they will outlast the payments.. I doubt it though as most of these stickies I see parked in people's yards are not under cover, unlike my old Scamp!
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Old 12-23-2015, 12:10 PM   #5
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The real reason for increased sales of smaller and lower priced units is a direct result of the long drawn out downturn in our economy. No real increase in pay for the working Americans since 2009. The amount of disposable income available for things like RVs is limited. Banks are reluctant to loan money in this economy.

The RV industry has faced this reality. In the last 10 years many have gone out of business. Most are just surviving. There is a glut of used units on the market.
Check sites like Craigslist and look at the available used inventory.

The low supply of FGRVs is in direct relationship to their low production numbers in relation to the overall RV production. A low overall market share equals a lower percentage of used units available.

The Tiny House Market exists because fewer people can afford to buy a normal house. Tiny Houses are a fad brought on by tiny incomes and are a sign of the times.

The article does get one thing right...Quality control is a big problem for the RV industry. They have not moved forward one bit in the last 20 years.
Find a well maintained 20 year old RV and look at the basic materials, appliances and accessories....they are the same as what is being used today...very few advances...everything is the same right down to the hardware...only thing new is the fabrics and color schemes!!!
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:03 PM   #6
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tiny house market

Patrick, I have to disagree with your assessment of the 'tiny house market' We recently downsized to 600' becauuse we decided thhat with only two of us, we didn't need more space (even with my 357 hobbies which is why we didn't go to a true tiny house) also, as we've gotten older we seem to need a lot less stuff and it feels pretty good to pass it on to the kids and the grandkids. We hope to 75% full time in our 13' Scamp in a couple of years and when I bought that I didn't even consider anything bigger, it was just a matter of deciding which brand (the scamp had better interior height) We skipped the AC (never use one anywhere else) and the awning and we love the everything about it
Karen
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:19 PM   #7
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Kardon, My opinions about the Tiny House movement were of the idea in general and based on the current batch of television programs. Anyone looking to downsize has their own reasons...the majority might well be financial.
The Tiny Houses I have seen so far on the TV shows are glorified travel trailers built of heavy weight materials on I-Beam trailer frames and weigh way more than a 5th wheel with more space and better appliances, bathrooms and layouts.
The RV industry is light years ahead of this Tiny House Fad!

The modular home industry would be the better way to go. Many current designs offer custom sized options allowing buyers to have input into the size, design and future expansion possibilities....all to fit the buyer. They do require a proper foundation and are building code compliant.

The Tiny House Travel Trailers I have seen on the TV programs are crude overweight attempts to re-invent the wheel.

Empty nesters and seniors all downsize...each in their own way.

Good Luck.
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:32 PM   #8
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My comment was from watching the tv shows. When my kids were small, we used a pop up camper. We camped more than most people who had the big rigs. I would never want anything larger than 16 feet today, even if I was full time. Bigger is not always better in my opnion.
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:49 PM   #9
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My theory after doing the RV camping thing since 1983 is that folks tend to trade up or down until they find the unit that "fits their style".....or they discover the
RV camping life isn't for them.

Some folks just must have a hotel room at a resort...nothing else will do.
My wife and I prefer a lakefront campsite, campfire and some BBQ..

The folks at the Wall Street Journal would never understand that...only the current sales trends and bottom line profits.
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Old 12-23-2015, 02:36 PM   #10
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Don't assume "reality" shows have anything to do with reality.

The tiny houses on TV have little in common with the small home movement. Early on, the movement was about efficiency, design and craftsmanship. Cost per square foot were quite high compared to normal construction.

It certainly appears a second hand travel trailer would be much more cost effective than the reality show products. ...and much more marketable if you changed your mind.
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Old 12-23-2015, 02:42 PM   #11
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I've watched Tiny Houses a few times. I consider the show a 'sit-com', not 'reality'.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:45 PM   #12
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I agree pc Steve that the travel trailer would be a better solution to that what is being built.
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:45 PM   #13
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Yes they are cheaper than past years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
This morning's Journal had an article on the continuing increase in RV sales in North America.
More RVs Hit the Road, but They Are the Cheaper Models - WSJ

Some tidbits from the article:
  • The trend is toward smaller, cheaper, and fewer frills.
  • The "Big Four"- Forest River, Thor, Jayco, and Winnebago- account for 87% of the market.
  • Forest River made the biggest gain in market share by focusing on entry-level models.
  • While still increasing, graph shows sales headed toward a plateau.
  • Quality control remains a nagging issue in the industry.

No mention of molded fiberglass towables, not surprising since our entire universe is only a portion of that 13% not owned by the Big Four. The general trend toward smaller and more basic is consistent with the high demand for our trailers though.

Of course, "smaller, cheaper, and fewer frills" is relative. The article featured a buyer who decided to forego a $150K 40' Class A with fireplace, walk-in closet, and washer/dryer combo for an $80K 26' Forest River Sprinter with only three TVs… LOL! Had engine trouble on the way to Alaska and had to turn back to find an authorized repair shop.
: My wife and I were into buying a newer Class A basically no bigger than 29' as that is the size that fits under our cover. We looked at all the small units built in that size. Thor built all there's on a E350 chassis, to lite for us and no frills at all, FR3 materials used are not great same goes for Thor also no ovens getting installed have to cook in a Convection oven if they put one in, No shower doors, you supply your own curtain. I did not see any Jayco's in the 29' or less. Winnebago has a couple that are nice Winnebago Vista 26HE and Vista 27N, we like the 27N the best for quality and it had every thing we would want in the unit. Big problem in Canada they sell for mega bucks around $160,000.00 there was a 2015 for sale but slightly used 12,000 KM's for $112,999.00 still to much for us, this unit in the USA is under $100,000.00. We do not get paid in US Funds so we are going to wait awhile until they get a few more years under their tires. But as we look around there are a lot of items getting cut from them some of it is comfort, oven for baking bread, pizza etc. the other is materials. We have not checked out Fleetwood and Bounder but they are both Fleetwood products made in Elkhart, IN. Itasca is just a imitation of Winnebago and they are closely the same good materials still putting in quality compared to some others. IN case you did not know Winnebago and Itasco are the same company.
Stude
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:48 PM   #14
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Length is another item they are doing again,

Quote:
Originally Posted by stude View Post
: My wife and I were into buying a newer Class A basically no bigger than 29' as that is the size that fits under our cover. We looked at all the small units built in that size. Thor built all there's on a E350 chassis, to lite for us and no frills at all, FR3 materials used are not great same goes for Thor also no ovens getting installed have to cook in a Convection oven if they put one in, No shower doors, you supply your own curtain. I did not see any Jayco's in the 29' or less. Winnebago has a couple that are nice Winnebago Vista 26HE and Vista 27N, we like the 27N the best for quality and it had every thing we would want in the unit. Big problem in Canada they sell for mega bucks around $160,000.00 there was a 2015 for sale but slightly used 12,000 KM's for $112,999.00 still to much for us, this unit in the USA is under $100,000.00. We do not get paid in US Funds so we are going to wait awhile until they get a few more years under their tires. But as we look around there are a lot of items getting cut from them some of it is comfort, oven for baking bread, pizza etc. the other is materials. We have not checked out Fleetwood and Bounder but they are both Fleetwood products made in Elkhart, IN. Itasca is just a imitation of Winnebago and they are closely the same good materials still putting in quality compared to some others. IN case you did not know Winnebago and Itasco are the same company.
Stude
They are building smaller than 30' units again which is a blessing, we like ours as it is just under 26' but it is from the 90's and they are really hard to find after 1999 they just grew out of proportion but prior to 1999 there were a lot of smaller than 30' units about.
Stude
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