Where Are the Fiberglass RVs for Families? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-17-2017, 04:23 PM   #29
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I guess a lot depends on how much time you plan to spend in the trailer. This may be a stretch I know, but I assume that most of us go camping to be outdoors. We often camp in places where you can expect it to rain some everyday. When that happens we spend time under a 12x12 foot canopy. We have walls for all 4 sides, but we haven't ever used them except in very windy conditions. Our trailer is for primarily for sleeping, with the occasional clean up and making that first pot of coffee in the morning on our one nighters.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:44 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
...I wired a fiber glass plumbing fixture .plant and all the cut outs in the fixtures were cut out with the part clamped up using a computer controlled router.
I also worked at a Ford assembly plant and saw how modern manufacturing was done . I've also been to Scamp and Casita and the manufacturing process looked like the 1950's...
My only thought, Steve, is that every household in North America has (on average) at least two of each (cars and fiberglass tub/shower enclosures). RVs as a whole are such a relatively small market that I don't know if they could recoup the R&D and tooling costs to emulate those industries. Molded fiberglass is only 1% of the total RV market. Some newer brands appear to be trying to do better, quality-wise, but lacking economies of scale, they end up priced out of reach for the median RV buyer.

Not saying it can't be done, but as far as I know, then large majority of RVs of all build types use last-century production technology. So do most home builders for that matter, another industry that might benefit from modernization. Like RVs (and cars from the 50's) they typically come with a punch list. Do you remember when Consumer Reports used to list every manufacturing defect they found in the cars they tested? How many defects does the average new house have?

What is truly remarkable is not how shoddy RVs are, but how reliable new motor vehicles have become.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:44 PM   #31
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One of the scamp 16 floor plans has bunks and drop down small dinette and larger bed so sleeps 2 adults and 3 kids. But 2 kids and 2 adults would be more common I think for a family camper.

Retired doing the long trips, or full timing, or the snow bird retied folks are driving the market. They tend to want more amenities and more room. Families often may have the incentive for camping with kids they may well have less income to dump into a luxury item such as an RV.

Pop ups due to having a bed at both ends plus a dinette bed plus potentially a couch bed allow for sleeping 6 or 7 in a $10k price range. Then you consider usage wise 2 or maybe 3 weeks vacation at most and maybe some weekends in the summer. Let us just say at around 2 grand a year for camper to do that through elementary school years....

Retired and doing 3 or 4 months a year you get the usage and are hopefully done raising kids (which are a money pit even more than a house)

Price point that market can/will pay dictates what is offered. Boomers outnumber everyone and they are retiring so they will pay more than young families and want different features. Luxury 3 bedroom ranches are not as common as 12 to 14 hundred sq. ft. 3 bedroom ranches because young families as a demographic have a price point and certain needs that help define that market.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:48 PM   #32
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If someone wants a large quality travel trailer that is not too expensive, not too prone to leaks, well built, lightweight, etc....it can be done! I have looked into several options over the years. What I thought would be a good idea would be a large cargo trailer or a horse trailer converted by one of several companies that specialize in doing just this. Making an RV from a cargo trailer or horse trailer. These are available cheap and they are good quality. They are designed for INDUSTRIAL use so you know they are good. All the work is custom and you choose what the layout is, materials, colors, etc... You want all real wood, tile floor, granite countertops, house fridge, house sink, washer/dryer, full bath with tub, real toilet, garage door with parking for a car, drop down outdoor deck, etc... it can all be had for a reasonable cost and much better than the mass produced junk being shoved down our throats.
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:03 PM   #33
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Let's face the facts that "This" group is older and that's not necessarily where the real market is for RV's. I go to RVIA in Louisville every year and the change in product offerings by RV manufacturers is amazing! Far less big motorhomes, 5th Wheels and big tag trailers. More European design, new materials and cost below $20K is where its at!

Towable's is where the market is growing. Smaller size, better design and affordability is key. The average age of RV buyers has dropped significantly in the last several years as younger families/people are turning to the RV lifestyle for fun and family time. Motorhome sales are flat to down depending upon the segment. The only real growth segment in Motorhomes is Sprinter Van conversions at $70K-$100K directed to old retired farts. $70K-$100K hardly fits Joe working class family man's budget however it does fit the old retired farts budget as they got some money and now want to travel and visit the kids. Still how many of them can you sell?

Most towable RV buyers today want/need a trailer that does not require an expenditure for a dedicated tow vehicle or replacement of their daily driver. In many cases that means 3,500 #'s or less GVW for a towable trailer as that's the OEM vehicle trailer tow limit. That means smaller size, sticky built or composite built trailers are what will fit that weight limit. Younger people want instant gratification and buying from an RV dealer makes it easy. Can't do that with a Fiberglass trailer as they are typically sold only direct from the manufacturer.

2016 saw 450K RVs sold in the USA. There is a good chance 2017 sales will break 500K. Both records as the RV industry really IS now in their heyday! All the fiberglass trailer manufacturer's have been sold out so where is their incentive to go bigger to serve the old fart market. At the Oliver Trailer rally in March in Hohenwald TN Scott Oliver suggested that Oliver has considered building a "bigger" trailer. At that time they still were not convinced it was a good business decision.

Look at Airstream. Starting in the late 50's and through the 60's the bigger is better attitude enveloped the company. Buy the 70's almost all their trailers were 28 or bigger with few exceptions. So what happened everyone else also followed. Sure Airstream is still expensive and catering to the old farts with big expensive trailers HOWEVER look at their new offerings. Smaller, earth shattering design changes for Airstream and now a fiberglass trailer? What would Wally "PT Barnum" Byam say about the Airstream today? Given his single handed promotion of the RV lifestyle from the 1940's until his death in 1962 I'd say he would be ALL IN on the new product offerings!

Most old farts are all about having their space, comfort and bringing home on the road with them and all the comforts they enjoy. That takes space. Space costs money and the younger generation is all about going "Tiny". From a RV manufacturing company President's market perception the younger generation is the future and that's who they are going to cater to! That also includes the fiberglass trailer manufacturer's at this point also as they have given no real indicators that the "Egg" guys want to go big either!

Maybe one day we will see an "Egg" manufacturer start to build "Bigger Eggs" however "I" think that will only happen when this "Bubble" that is the RV industry today once again BURST'S and the manufacturer's have to once again re-evaluate their product offerings. Given the optimism over the economy in the USA today I'd say that will be long after the Baby Boomers have gotten to old the do the RV thing and the younger people will still be used to their lifestyle which by comparison the the "Boomers" will be TINY!!!!
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:28 PM   #34
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It must be where I live. I mean yeah, I see plenty of R-Pod style trailers too, but a LOT of what I see getting pulled down the highway are the kind of 5th wheel campers whose bunk, "upstairs" area is roughly the size of my entire trailer. They sit easily 5' higher than the roof of the tow vehicle. Tons of them around here. Many named "Montana", to my annoyance. Guess everything's gotta be huge around here.
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:43 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
Let's face the facts that "This" group is older and that's not necessarily where the real market is for RV's. I go to RVIA in Louisville every year and the change in product offerings by RV manufacturers is amazing! Far less big motorhomes, 5th Wheels and big tag trailers. More European design, new materials and cost below $20K is where its at!

Towable's is where the market is growing. Smaller size, better design and affordability is key. The average age of RV buyers has dropped significantly in the last several years as younger families/people are turning to the RV lifestyle for fun and family time. Motorhome sales are flat to down depending upon the segment. The only real growth segment in Motorhomes is Sprinter Van conversions at $70K-$100K directed to old retired farts. $70K-$100K hardly fits Joe working class family man's budget however it does fit the old retired farts budget as they got some money and now want to travel and visit the kids. Still how many of them can you sell?

Most towable RV buyers today want/need a trailer that does not require an expenditure for a dedicated tow vehicle or replacement of their daily driver. In many cases that means 3,500 #'s or less GVW for a towable trailer as that's the OEM vehicle trailer tow limit. That means smaller size, sticky built or composite built trailers are what will fit that weight limit. Younger people want instant gratification and buying from an RV dealer makes it easy. Can't do that with a Fiberglass trailer as they are typically sold only direct from the manufacturer.

2016 saw 450K RVs sold in the USA. There is a good chance 2017 sales will break 500K. Both records as the RV industry really IS now in their heyday! All the fiberglass trailer manufacturer's have been sold out so where is their incentive to go bigger to serve the old fart market. At the Oliver Trailer rally in March in Hohenwald TN Scott Oliver suggested that Oliver has considered building a "bigger" trailer. At that time they still were not convinced it was a good business decision.

Look at Airstream. Starting in the late 50's and through the 60's the bigger is better attitude enveloped the company. Buy the 70's almost all their trailers were 28 or bigger with few exceptions. So what happened everyone else also followed. Sure Airstream is still expensive and catering to the old farts with big expensive trailers HOWEVER look at their new offerings. Smaller, earth shattering design changes for Airstream and now a fiberglass trailer? What would Wally "PT Barnum" Byam say about the Airstream today? Given his single handed promotion of the RV lifestyle from the 1940's until his death in 1962 I'd say he would be ALL IN on the new product offerings!

Most old farts are all about having their space, comfort and bringing home on the road with them and all the comforts they enjoy. That takes space. Space costs money and the younger generation is all about going "Tiny". From a RV manufacturing company President's market perception the younger generation is the future and that's who they are going to cater to! That also includes the fiberglass trailer manufacturer's at this point also as they have given no real indicators that the "Egg" guys want to go big either!

Maybe one day we will see an "Egg" manufacturer start to build "Bigger Eggs" however "I" think that will only happen when this "Bubble" that is the RV industry today once again BURST'S and the manufacturer's have to once again re-evaluate their product offerings. Given the optimism over the economy in the USA today I'd say that will be long after the Baby Boomers have gotten to old the do the RV thing and the younger people will still be used to their lifestyle which by comparison the the "Boomers" will be TINY!!!!
You seem to have a problem with older or senior citizens.
Do you refer to your parents as " OLD FARTS" ?
Maybe the reason the older generation can afford a more luxurious trailers is that they worked hard and saved their money.
I for one was not impressed with the language or sentiment expressed in your post.
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:50 PM   #36
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...kids (which are a money pit even more than a house)...
Ain't that the truth!

Despite being rather small and imperfectly built, our 13' Scamp is a wonderfully economical way to spend quality time with said money pits.

Once they're out of college and earning their own living- an uncertain proposition these days- I might perhaps be able to afford something larger or fancier. On the other hand I might just keep the Scamp, which, barring mishap, will still be rolling merrily along! (Long after our 21st century, high tech tow vehicle has gone to the crusher, I might add.)
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:02 PM   #37
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The only real growth segment in Motorhomes is Sprinter Van conversions at $70K-$100K directed to old retired farts. $70K-$100K hardly fits Joe working class family man's budget however it does fit the old retired farts budget as they got some money and now want to travel and visit the kids. Still how many of them can you sell?
Could you please point me to $70K-$100K Sprinter conversion offerings? I'm not an old retired fart, but I can afford such a deal.Even willing to pay a little more for 4x4 van conversion.
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:25 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Ii

You seem to have a problem with older or senior citizens.
Do you refer to your parents as " OLD FARTS" ?
Maybe the reason the older generation can afford a more luxurious trailers is that they worked hard and saved their money.
I for one was not impressed with the language or sentiment expressed in your post.
I too am part of the "Fat, 55 and Up Crowd" or "Old Farts" as coined by my kids.

Take your pick either way is sounds WAY BETTER than "Senior Citizen"!
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:43 PM   #39
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I'm fine with old fart because that is what I am.

Family friendly at a low initial cost = hybrid camper. You get a lot of bed space in a relatively small, light weight camper. Sure, no where near as durable as a molded trailer, but the sticker price of a new molded trailer (or many used ones for that matter) can be staggering. A young family may only camp for five or six years. So they buy a new hybrid, keep it for that time, sell it for half or less of what they originally paid, and move on. And take a look sometime at what comes standard on a hybrid, its most of the molded trailer "options" most of us debate.

Some friends of mine bought a used 40 foot motorcoach. Basically you are taking home with you on the road. It even has a bath and a half bath! Tip outs, you bet! Roomy, could have a party in it. TV, satellite dish, on and on it goes. Price? About the same as a new Oliver........

The thing about motor coaches, they depreciate fast, lightning fast. So you can get a lot of bang for the buck if you go used. Of course, they continue to depreciate, so that does not end. You don't see 40 year old motorhomes selling for 3 times what they sold for new.

But when it comes to space, tough to beat that motor coach.
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Old 07-17-2017, 07:02 PM   #40
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I too prefer 'Old Fart' to senior citizen.
Stressing over a couple of words leads to high blood pressure and an early death.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:28 PM   #41
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Another old fart here. Not much left to add. I would say that families are much smaller than when I was young. It is rarer to see over three kids than it used to be. Some groups have more, but many have 1 or 2. As someone said, campers used to be more like rolling bunkhouses, but demand has changed that too.

There has been pressure on the middle class, as many haven't seen raises. That has added to the pressure to make light weight inexpensive RVs that can be towed by the family SUV or van.

Some of you would wonder if I was ok, if I didn't beat the drum for screened rooms like the wonderful CLAMs. While not inexpensive, owners love them and the 12x12' hexagonal model lets you add over 100sq ft of living space for just $2-3 per sq. ft. Screened rooms let you enjoy the great outdoors instead of the great indoors. CLAMs set up like an umbrella.

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Old 07-18-2017, 05:53 AM   #42
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Where Are the Fiberglass RVs for Families?

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...There has been pressure on the middle class, as many haven't seen raises. That has added to the pressure to make light weight inexpensive RVs that can be towed by the family SUV or van...
Walking around campgrounds, I really don't see many lightweight, inexpensive RVs being used by families. A few tent trailers pulled by minivans and SUVs, but mostly larger conventional trailers pulled by trucks. Definitely nothing innovative.

As to how they afford it... I don't know, but I'm guessing cheap gas, low interest rates, and long loan terms have something to do with it. A large sticky is cheap next to any molded fiberglass trailer, and it justifies splurging for the truck he really wanted.

Families that embrace less-is-more are camping in tents. I see lots of tents at the beach, but not so many in bear country. Thanks to environmental protections there are more bears than ever, and thanks to the media, parents are more protective than ever. I was four years old in 1965 when we took our first trip to Yellowstone. We camped in a 10x10 canvas tent that attached to the back of our station wagon. As I recall, a bear did eat our lunch.
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