Why No RV Shows/Dealers? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-15-2016, 03:51 PM   #1
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Why No RV Shows/Dealers?

Hi all — I'm curious if anyone knows why the fiberglass RV manufacturers don't use the dealer model or go to trade shows. It seems curious to me. Here are my uneducated theories:
— fiberglass is a smaller section of the market, so the volume doesn't support dealerships
— maybe their manufacturing facilities are small enough that they can only handle the volume of direct sales
— the direct sales model has worked, so why fix what isn't broken
— they used to have dealerships/go to shows and something went horribly wrong

Am I the only one wondering this? I also think the direct sales thing really drives the sense of personal touch and community, which is clearly in evidence here. I'm just so used to being able to go to a dealer or showroom to check out a product, this whole direct sales thing is throwing me for a loop!
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:59 PM   #2
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The short answer is they sell all they make. All the manufacturers have waiting lists, some are over a year.
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Old 07-15-2016, 04:04 PM   #3
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And, you'd have to pay the dealer overhead and profit.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:08 AM   #4
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Glenn and Raz have pegged it, but Bigfoot and Trillium do have a small number of dealers.

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Old 07-16-2016, 09:15 AM   #5
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Why No RV Shows/Dealers?

All of your reasons except the last. A couple have ventured into the dealer model, but it generally hasn't worked well. Bigfoot has a few dealers. The major players- Scamp, Casita, Escape- have never gone there.

I think you're right about the small business connection, versus the huge corporations- Thor, Forest River, etc.- that dominate the industry. Large corporations deliver convenience, but I'm not sure they deliver long-term value.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:27 AM   #6
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I've wondered this too, Naomi. Seems to me an existing dealer could easily take on a line of FG trailers just like they do other lines. I suppose it is much easier for them to just do the direct-sales thing, but the convenience and service for the customer does suffer a lot in my opinion. They expect people to plop down $20, 30, 40,000 to purchase a product sight-unseen some 1,000 or more miles away, come pick it up and then never show up again for warranty service. Sweet deal for them, not so much for us.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:35 AM   #7
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Why No RV Shows/Dealers?

Molded fiberglass trailers do come with warranties, and you do not have to return to the factory to obtain service. You can use a local RV shop of your choosing.

Nor do you have to buy one sight unseen. They have referral programs in which they set you up with a nearby owner for a demo. Not a high pressure salesperson.

Granted, they don't provide the instant gratification of a dealer network, but they provide greater long-term value and satisfaction.

You might want to check out several recent threads about the conventional RV industry- not all is well with manufacturers and dealers!
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:38 AM   #8
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As to existing dealers taking on a line of molded fiberglass trailers... It would only work if they could buy them below retail price. Which manufacturer will do that when they can sell all they make at full retail direct to customers?
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by WaltP View Post
Glenn and Raz have pegged it, but Bigfoot and Trillium do have a small number of dealers.

Walt
Bigfoot does use dealers and has done so for years. Trillium USA also known as "the Sidekick" which were in production for only a few years also used dealers but they have since closed their doors.

Trillium Canada also known as "The Outback Trillium Trailer" are still in biz and as far as I know they do not use dealers or at least their website does not indicate dealers and I have never seen a new one at a dealer.

Escape trailers when first starting out did for a year or so use dealers and stopped. They indicated in an interview once that they stopped using dealers as it did not allow them to hear directly from buyers their wants and wishes in order to help them produce a better product.

As far as why you rarely see a fibreglass trailer at a RV show - the shows are expensive and as others have indicated they are already selling all they produce so no need to spend the extra money.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by TomandCallie View Post
I've wondered this too, Naomi. Seems to me an existing dealer could easily take on a line of FG trailers just like they do other lines. I suppose it is much easier for them to just do the direct-sales thing, but the convenience and service for the customer does suffer a lot in my opinion. They expect people to plop down $20, 30, 40,000 to purchase a product sight-unseen some 1,000 or more miles away, come pick it up and then never show up again for warranty service. Sweet deal for them, not so much for us.
I live 600 miles from Backus MN. I made three trips to see the product, make the deal, and take delivery. It was the only "vehicle" for which I have paid full price EVER!
It was a great experience and one of the best deals I have ever made with support which has rivaled any dealer with whom I have dealt.
Paying a dealer profit and overhead would ultimately cost more, even with "discounts" "incentives" and haggling.
For the most part each component is covered by a separate manufacturer's warranty, which allows the convenience of local service.

It is after all, a TRAVEL TRAILER, making a strong argument for travel as a part of the adventure of purchase.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by TomandCallie View Post
...Seems to me an existing dealer could easily take on a line of FG trailers just like they do other lines. I suppose it is much easier for them to just do the direct-sales thing, but the convenience and service for the customer does suffer a lot in my opinion.
In order for this to happen the manufacturers would have to mark up their trailers in order for the dealers to make a profit. This would result in higher prices to the consumers. Now, there's some suffering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomandCallie View Post
...They expect people to plop down $20, 30, 40,000 to purchase a product sight-unseen some 1,000 or more miles away, come pick it up and then never show up again for warranty service. Sweet deal for them, not so much for us.
I suspect most companies have a service department but I won't speak for everybody as I have no knowledge of how the rest are set up. In case you can’t or don’t want to return your Oliver to the factory they will pay for warranty work at the service center of your choice. I know of a few instances where they've actually sent a service technician hundreds of miles to the customer's home to fix a problem.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:10 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TomandCallie View Post
They expect people to plop down $20, 30, 40,000 to purchase a product sight-unseen some 1,000 or more miles away, come pick it up and then never show up again for warranty service. Sweet deal for them, not so much for us.

You do not need to purchase sight unseen. With most fibreglass trailers you simple need to call them and and they will arrange for you to see one locally- or at least try to.

There is also no need to drive to pick it up - most of the manufacturers do offer delivery services at reasonable prices. There are semi-trailers leaving Escape for example on a regular bases loaded with trailers heading off to various points in the USA. But most folks would suggest half the fun of buying a new trailer is doing your first trip with it on the way home from picking it up. I have traveled well over 1000 miles to pick up both my used trailer purchases (both sight unseen) and have good memories of the pick up trip home. Traveled through areas I may not of otherwise seen.

As far a warranty repairs go its the same situation when purchasing from a dealer. Most of the items used in the trailer are covered under the warranty of the manufacturer of the product not the company that built the trailer.
All you do is call the trailer manufacturer &/or dealer (if purchased through one) and they will arrange to have it repaired at a shop close to you. If your fridge for example fails it is under warranty of its manufacturer and the trailer can be taken to any RV dealer or repair shop that does warranty work on that brand of fridge.

There have from time to time been the rare need for a repair issue with the body of a fibreglass trailer under warranty and or a recall on the axle (again made by someone else) in those situation where the owner lives a great distance from the factory historically the trailer manufacturers will make arrangements to have it repaired at a shop close to the trailers owner.

Have owned trailers sold direct from manufacturer as well as trailers sold through a large network of dealers. I can honestly say the only difference the owner can expect is less junk mail from the dealers reminding you its time to spend big dollars having them check it over before you go camping this year..... but what they forget to mention is there is a 6-8 week wait for an appointment and they want you to leave the trailer with them for a week while they preform 3 hours of work. ;-)
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:35 AM   #13
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Actually that's one of the cool things I've seen happen with direct sales model. If you want you can take your, say, ten year old Scamp back to the factory for an overhaul and upgrades to factory standards. From the reports I've read, the cost (travel aside) compares very favorably with having work done at a shop.

Ten years... that's about the time most conventional RVs are falling apart and a dealer will be happy to take it on trade for a new one... for pennies on the dollar. The conventional RV industry is essentially selling a throw-away product.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:42 AM   #14
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Do you ever wonder if ALL those trailers, sitting in dealer lots, ever get sold???
Those manufacturers are turning them out in volume, on the hopes that folks will buy. And, I think, quality suffers.
The Scamp's and Casita's of this world only build what folks actually want.
They keep costs lower, by not using dealers, as others have said.
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