The coronavirus pandemic in the United States gave a huge boost to the RV industry because the vehicles offered a way to travel without concerns for social distancing. However, this boom has apparently come with motorhome makers pushing out subpar products to take advantage of the huge demand.
The site RVtravel.com was part of a conference call with RV dealers nationwide. It reported their complaints but kept the people anonymous so that the participants in the discussion could be candid with their thoughts.
Gallery: Advanced RV B Box Merceded Sprinter Camper Conversion
"It’s some of the worst stuff I’ve seen in 30 years," an RV dealer said during the call. "It’s horrendous inside and out. But we have no recourse but to put it on the lot and try to sell it. You take what you can get, and you move on."
The vast majority of RVs are made in Elkhart, Indiana. Several dealers blame part of the quality problems on how motorhome makers manage their workforce. "Their ability to retain employees is bad. You can just tell that the guys on the manufacturing lines have been on the job for just a week. Plants don’t have the proper staffing, and they can’t do the service after the sale," a person on the call said.
Another dealer believes that "the industry is ripe for someone else to step in and start producing quality products." This seems to be happening, too. Companies like Advanced RV (gallery above) are building models with a focus on fit and finish but at a higher price than other brands.
There are also parts supply issues. A dealer said the wait can be "weeks or even months" to get the components for fixing RVs when they break.
Recently, overlanding seems to be the big trend in RVs. These are rigs that are capable of light off-roading and stay there for a camping trip. To do this, the vehicles usually have all-wheel drive, a lifted suspension, and roof-mounted solar cells. The rugged ability comes at a price like the $192,000 Jayco Terrain, $194,500 Aeon RV, or $153,748 Storyteller Overland Transit Mode LT.