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Old 07-15-2016, 07:14 PM   #155
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Maybe I just don't get it. Maybe the answer is quite simple. But, would you please elaborate on your statement? How will a financial bust keep RV's at home?
After RVing through at least two significant national financial 'busts' can positively say that if you can't put food on the table and pay the S&B mortgage and necessary ownership expenses without dipping into savings or foregoing other necessities, you cannot be spending discretionary money on purchasing expensive RVs, paying their loan and and upkeep plus put buy fuel and pay CG fees - you just don't have any left. Economics 101. Or at least it was when I took the course
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:59 PM   #156
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I am really having a hard time understanding this author. RVing is definitely not spiraling downward. It's been around for 100 years through many financial downturns. It's not going away.

This recent post on campgrounds is so unreal and he says he's a full-timer.

We full-timed for 16 years and traveled constantly. We never found his issues to be our issues.

- he uses Google Maps to find campgrounds. He needs to branch out a little more. There are many much better ways to find campgrounds. One site will not do it.

- we never spent $30/day or more for a campsite. There are many ways to cut costs if your really need to

- he talks of reserving far in advance. We rarely made reservations except for having to be with our family for a wedding, etc. We stayed in the most popular national parks such as Yellowstone. There are even campgrounds in these parks that don't accept reservations. For the major 3-day holidays, we easily found a place to stay if you don't need to be at the most popular places.

- he complains of long-term folks in RV parks then turns around and complains of public parks that only have a 14-stay limit

- he states national parks are RV-unfriendly - narrow sites, no electric or water. RVs are self-contained and don't need to be hooked up to utilities. That's a choice that people think they need. We found the sites in public parks have a LOT much space than a typical RV park with RVs all in a row.

- he complains of Wifi. We were on a committee at one time to try to get Wifi into a park. People don't realize how expensive this is. Also, if a park is in outlying areas it's not going to have high speed unless they put a lot of money into it. If there is Wifi in a park, it's definitely not meant for a hundred people to stream movies and play games. It's not meant to run your business from it or to do your financials. It's meant for emailing and quick web searching. People abuse it and then complain that it's not fast. There are easy ways nowadays to carry your own Wifi with you wherever you go.

90% of our stays were in public parks because they're cheaper, have more room, have space between the sites and are in preferred scenic areas. With our 40' motorhome we were able to get sites in national parks, national forest campgrounds, Corp of Engineer, state parks, county and city parks. We also loved boondocking on national forest lands and BLM lands. We didn't do WalMarts. We traveled to Alaska and easily found places to stay.

If people want the 'resort-type' parks then yes, they will pay more. However, this author is not telling the whole picture of RVing. It can be done cheaper and easier.
He is a full timer, but he's not necessarily addressing this from the perspective of only full timers. Most RVers aren't full timers. Many parks in popular areas do book up well in advance, especially on summer and holiday weekends, when those of us who aren't retired tend to want to go camping. There were quite a few parks around Williamsburg when we were in Va that we could never stay in, mostly because they were always booked up.

Most weekend RVers aren't going to spend days familiarizing themselves with a multitude of phone apps and websites to try and find a good campground. Most people turn to Google first when searching for something and campgrounds should be up to speed on that.

What he's saying about National Parks is that they could make more money if they tried to cater more to RVers. Sure an RV is self contained, but if you're not full timing you don't have the luxury of "following the weather". In which case you may well want electric and water at your site. I can remember back east booking a site and when we got there it was 114* outside. Sure, no need for electric, we'll just cancel the trip and go home. Maybe a family of 5 wants to make sure everyone can shower in the RV after a day of hiking around a park. Having hookups makes the trip much more comfortable and enjoyable. Maybe, just maybe, the weather turns sour when you arrive and you end up spending the day in the rig watching movies.

Granted, we try to stay in private parks that are near the National Parks so it's not a big concern for me, but that doesn't mean it's not a concern for other families.

Change your mindset to try and see how families may want to use their RVs and his article makes much more sense. You're argument is that "there is a way", his argument is that it should be easier for weekender families, who make up the bulk of RVers, to go camping. These people buy a TT or small C cab for their family and it comes with appliances, TVs, A/Cs etc that they expect to be able to use when they go camping. They expect it to not cost an arm and a leg, and they don't expect to have to book months in advance as if they were going to Disney World or something.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:27 PM   #157
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He is a full timer, but he's not necessarily addressing this from the perspective of only full timers. Most RVers aren't full timers.
From reading Greg's series, it appears he's the only true RV industry Journalist who's actually living in an RV and staying at campgrounds. By the tone of his posts, it appears he's not on anyone's payroll or doing paid reviews and that's refreshing. Possibly that's why his stories sound so much like the ones we read on the forums and not ones we read about in the RV magazines and trade publications.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:45 PM   #158
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We the buying public are the reason for the lower quality of all of the products we buy including motor homes. Walmart is a good example of what we the people have done. We tend to buy the cheapest version of a product while convincing ourselves it's the same at the one priced 50% more. I have to laugh at the union guy complaining about the loss of factory jobs while on his way to Walmart to buy the Chinese widget he wants or needs. We the people demanded lower prices on everything we buy and we got just what we asked for. The same is true with the RV industry. Who on this forum would go out and pay $400,000 for that perfect gas coach, when a very similar looking one could be had for less that half that amount? Low quality is not the fault of the RV industry. They are just the "Walmart" that is providing what we have asked for, and are willing to accept. We all want better quality, but we want it at the "Walmart Price". So all the complaining is not going to change anything. Only when we refuse to buy the lower quality products and are willing to pay for the better versions, will the industry change.


Few people realize product Z, while 1/2 the retail price at walmart is not of the same quality as that same product Z purchased from an authorized dealer/retail center. So, they really do get what they pay for.
Now I realize that's not the same as the RV industry, however, the end result is the same, customer gets what they pay for; they buy a Hyundai instead of a Rolls-Royce and expect the same quality.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:04 PM   #159
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Now I realize that's not the same as the RV industry, however, the end result is the same, customer gets what they pay for; they buy a Hyundai instead of a Rolls-Royce and expect the same quality.
I wouldn't say a Hyundai buyer expects the same quality as a Rolls Royce as I've never met a Hyundai owner who expects that plastic dash to actually be made of hand polished wood.

What the Hyundai and Rolls Royce owners have in common is that each expects the car to be delivered without defects and not have to return to the dealership with a long punch list within a month or two after purchase. Also, neither expects to wait months for a service appointment or long waits for parts. That's what's called reasonable expectations.
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Old 07-15-2016, 10:55 PM   #160
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He is a full timer, but he's not necessarily addressing this from the perspective of only full timers. Many parks in popular areas do book up well in advance, especially on summer and holiday weekends, when those of us who aren't retired tend to want to go camping.

Sorry, he's not even a typical full-timer. He didn't even have to mention this fact but he gave an example of 'his' type of RVing. There are thousands of full-timers who do it much differently than he does for a lot less. His comments are one-sided.

His beginning budget was $30/night and he states that keeps going up. We never had a budget of $30/night. If so, we wouldn't have full-timed. You'd have to be very rich to pay what he does. Our many friends are the same way. In Maine he's paying $85/night. I bet I could find him a place for a fraction of that.

We have been at the very popular national parks in the summer such as Yellowstone and Glacier where everyone thinks they need reservations. We never had a problem. Some campgrounds don't even accept reservations. For instance, there are 600 sites in Grand Teton Nat'l Park that aren't reservable. For reservable campgrounds there are cancellations and no-show to be had. There's a much-mention RV park outside of Yellowstone called Grizzly. The rates are $60-$73. A tent site is $43. Inside Yellowstone the sites are $15-$28. Do you think those at Grizzly are having a better Yellowstone experience than those staying in the park? I doubt it.


Most weekend RVers aren't going to spend days familiarizing themselves with a multitude of phone apps and websites to try and find a good campground. Well, why are the forum posters always suggesting to use this or that? Because that's what they do. I can guarantee that younger RVers use a lot more apps than some of us old folks. They're on their phones all the time.

What he's saying about National Parks is that they could make more money if they tried to cater more to RVers. Maybe, just maybe, the weather turns sour when you arrive and you end up spending the day in the rig watching movies.

National parks aren't in it to make money. Their mission is preservation so everyone can enjoy them. When we go to national parks we see tons of families enjoying their dry campsites. Remember..all of these campsites were booked long ago because that's where they wanted to camp - without hookups. They purposely chose that way of camping. They choose to enjoy the surroundings of nature. They don't need electric or movies. There are plenty of things to do on rainy days. On another forum there's a young family - teachers - who did 40 days last summer staying IN the national parks of the West without hookups in a 24' trailer. They're doing it again this year. All I'm getting at is there are variations of RVing and you can do it a lot more reasonable if you need to do so and even in the summer you don't need a pile of reservations to do it. We've camped for 55 years. Yes, things have changed. However, we always camped frugally. That hasn't changed.
I do understand that not everyone, especially nowadays, likes to 'rough it' with dry camping or boondocking on public lands. Thanks fine. Everyone is surely different. What bothers me is the tone of this author's 'blanket' comments. We know first-hand there are different ways of enjoying a RV. Many families successfully do it differently, also.
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Old 07-16-2016, 07:24 AM   #161
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FWIW - he is a professional whiner. That is the stock in trade of every columnist I ever read. There is always something that could be made "better" even if that improvement was not something one wanted. Try and buy a real utility vehicle these days as an example.

FWIW2 as the owner of a couple of Hundai's I have to say they are a bad example as a poor vehicle. GM still has not matched either the Hyundai warranty or quality since Hyundai did their quality flip in the late 1990's.

FWIW3 I understand the economics of campgrounds in the NE a bit. It would cost way too much to put in full hook up sites in most of the state parks. That would put the fee's through the roof. Be happy there is some electric. That is all we really need anyway. They are campgrounds not resorts.
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:54 AM   #162
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Google isn't one site. It is a search engine that searches the whole internet and pulls together likely information that matches your search. Yes, it's influenced by sites that pay to advertise with Google, but it does provide matches that many other search websites don't.
Google Maps and Google search are not the same thing. The post specifically stated Google Maps which absolutely is just one site.
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:58 AM   #163
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From reading Greg's series, it appears he's the only true RV industry Journalist who's actually living in an RV and staying at campgrounds. By the tone of his posts, it appears he's not on anyone's payroll or doing paid reviews and that's refreshing. Possibly that's why his stories sound so much like the ones we read on the forums and not ones we read about in the RV magazines and trade publications.
There are others as well. Mike Wendland is one of them. His work is no where near this pessimistic.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:17 AM   #164
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I've been RV'ing for about 5 years and have owned two 5th wheels in that time. My take is the RV industry has brought the problems on themselves. What I see is dealers overloaded with RV's for sale. I see dealers ill-equipped to handle the volume of repairs, mostly from a lack of mechanics and RV's stuck in repair waiting weeks for parts to arrive that should take a day or two. I see manufacturers kicking RV's out the door as fast as they can without doing any sort of quality control, which leads to back-ups for repair at the dealer. Seems if the RV's were built with just some basic oversight to the quality of the build the overcrowding at the dealer for repairs could be reduced.

If Mercedes were to market a $100,000 car with as many defects as our RV's, how long would Mercedes be in business? Buyers of high dollar cars expect perfection in that price range. Are we RV buyers suckers for paying so much for so little quality?
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:19 PM   #165
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I will start off saying that yes, the RV industry has some room for build quality improvement. But it is mostly just attention to detail by those on the assembly line that would make the most significant difference. Yes, there are differences in materials too, but much of that is simply a factor of the price point of product that you would expect to see.

But, the ongoing comparison to the auto industry is just not very relevant. In reality, most cars, even Mercedes and BMWs are built on highly automated assembly lines like washers and dryers.

The unit volumes for RV manufacturers just do not support the same extensive testing, high levels / expense of automation and assembly line tooling (which is what has really transformed the auto industry).

Look at the volumes here, then think of the price differential in the products. While there is certainly cost of materials that contribute to the difference, it is also even more significantly related to amortizing the testing, factory automation, and highly skilled craftsman involved as you move up the pecking order.

Toyota, Camry only - 429,000 units sold in just the US in 2015 (wiki)

BMW - 2.1M units worldwide 2014 (wiki)

Corvette - 34,000 units 2015 (corvetteblogger)

Porsche - 225,000 units sold world wide 2015 (annual report); however, only 54,579 were sports cars, the other 170,500 were Cayanne and Macan SUVs,and the Panamera 4 door. Porsche had to move into the SUV and luxury sedan markets to stay alive. And of the 54,579 sports cars, 566 were the $1M 918 Spyder "halo car" that they don't make any money on......

Ferarri - 7,255 units in 2014 (wiki)

Rolls Royce - 4,063 units in 2014 (wiki)

So think about my buddies $300k+ Ferarri 458 vs. a Porsche 911 Turbo that costs 40% less. Sure, the leather in the 458 is a lot nicer that what Porsche uses and the Ferrari engine is hand built by craftsman, and a big hunk of money goes to fund F1 (a few years back, I heard it was about $7k per car, my guess is that it proably close to $20k per car now). But, if you were really going to drive the car, the Porsche is a much more practical machine at significantly less money, much of which is due to volume efficiencies.

So, when you look at these numbers, you can get a really nice DP like a Tiffin Bus or a new Ferrari. Or, get a nice Tiffin gasser AND a new Porsche Turbo for the same amount of money.

Or, get a real hand built by craftsman coach (Prevost, Newell, Foretravel) which at $1.5-$2M cost relationally he same to a "production coach" as the Ferrari does to a Camry.

And if you think Ferrari, Porsche, or even BMW don't have inherent problems, think again. Due to volumes, some may show up quickly (a total clutch failure almost immediately in early 2007 Caymans was related to a miss calibration on a tool on the line for instance, but there were a bunch that had gone out the door), but others arise after some use, but since the use is often much less than a Camry, some of these issues show up later years wise, but still relatively low mileage, and are left to the owners to pay for most often.

Ferrari 430 clutches commonly fail at around 8,000 if you use reverse a lot. I mean, who would use reverse?

BMW uses plastic coolant systems, which commonly fail at 50,000-60,000 miles on 3 series cars, which can of course lead to catastrophic failures, or you spend $3k to replace the radiator, water pump, etc.

The list of Porsche issues are endless over the years, even on newer cars, and some are catastrophic, others simply expensive to fix and or properly maintain / modify to avoid failures. Look up coolant pipes on GT3s, Turbos, and Cayennes, or center lock hubs on GT3s as a couple of expensive recent examples, or early Boxster engine failures.......

And just one more thought. BMW station wagons are a niche market in the US, but the engine offerings are limited because BMW can not justify the testing costs to meet US standards that are required to simply put an engine in the station wagon that is already used in the same model sedan - in the 3 series wagons for instance, for years they had the 328, which was the base engine in the sedan and coupe, while the engine used in the 335 sedans and coupes was not available in the wagon, not to mention putting the M engines in 3 or 5 series wagons. Yes, there was demand, and probably more than what BMW thought, but they could not amortize the testing costs and keep the wagon at a reasonable price point.

Just something new to chew on.........
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:25 PM   #166
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I will start off saying that yes, the RV industry has some room for build quality improvement. But it is mostly just attention to detail by those on the assembly line that would make the most significant difference. Yes, there are differences in materials too, but much of that is simply a factor of the price point of product that you would expect to see.
With all due respect, I'm not sure why some people feel it's necessary to make excuses for the RV and Motorhome industry.

Maybe I'm old school but I was taught that if you're going to do something, take the time to do it right. It seems that this basic principal is something that's lost on this industry. If doing it right means manufacturing fewer RVs and in order to please the investors, a price increase is required, so be it.

Ask one person who has accumulated a long punch list or is camping at a dealer awaiting service that if they had the option to pay an additional 5% in order to get a well built and properly inspected motorhome, would they balk at the price?

Of course they would! Maybe that's because of the pricing games of artificial MSRPs, but at some point there's going to be a manufacturer who takes the least and not only delivers to the buyer a better product, better built RVs and motorhomes will translate into fewer users seeking service which surely will translate into shorter waits for service and better availability of parts.

It all starts with building a better product the benefits will trickle down to the end user.

Speaking personally, I was getting ready to pull the trigger on a Class A motorhome, but in my mind Greg's series legitimized the quality and service related complaints I've read on the forums and now I've expanded my search from a new Class A to considering a pre-owned Foretravel, Prevost or Newell. A well cared for, zeroed-out ten year old Foretravel, Prevost or Newell will most likely deliver fewer headaches than a new mainstream brand motorhome. And the price, depending on age, model and condition should be somewhat competitive to a new motorhome. Will my cost of ownership and maintenance be higher? Most definitely. Will I end up with a solid coach? Probably. Will the quality of the replacement parts be better? Based on Greg's story, probably.

Maybe I'm fooling myself, but maybe not.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:14 PM   #167
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I'm not making any excuses for the RV industry, just stating that you can't compare it to the automotive industry "utilitarian functionality" due to volumes.

Yes, as I noted, the people on the line at the RV companies need to do better, and pay more attention to detail, but you simply can not do the automation that has boosted quality with cars, you just can't amortize it over the small volumes and have any sort of reasonable price point. Nor, can you expect highly trained (and highly paid) craftsman to build them at "sellable" price points.

Based on volumes, and the expectation of some that you are going to get some perfect coach built by highly skilled craftsman (ala Ferarri) for $150k, $200k, or $300k, you are kidding yourselves. You are going to pay upwards of $1m or $2m for a truly custom coach that is built by craftsman, so go for it. And I just don't see a market for a $300k+, 30 ft ClassA.

There is a reason there are only a handful of builders and buyers in that $1M+, price range, and my bet is most of the new buyers are professionals (musicians, Motorsports, etc.) that use them like the commercial built vehicles that they are, not "RVers", they are commercial assets. And, they are total overkill for RVers, I mean really, how many do you see in campgrounds, other than the ownership RV resorts. Not many......

And why don't you see the owners of new Prevosts etc complaining on forums, because the owners don't drive or maintain those coaches, they have "coach managers / drivers" take care of everything, they are paid to deal with issues and keep their mouths shut.

As for the old coaches being better built, the house I grew up in is better built than anything I have lived in since, and you couldn't give it to me. And the house I had built 18 years ago, is better than the new one we just moved into, and again, I would have no interest in trading back for what I have today. Same for our RV - we are very happy with our 2015 Tiffin gasser we bought new, and have seen nothing, new / used, gas or diesel, within any reasonable price differential that we second guess ourselves on. And yes, we use it - 11,000 miles and pushing 180 nights out in less than 18 months of ownership, it has not been perfect, but it is a far cry from the "all new RVs are crap" mantra out there........

But if you want to buy a used 10+ year old Prevost etc. and do a reasonable retrofit, a mechanical / systems refresh and remodel, you'll have a lot more money in it than I have in my new Tiffin gasser, and proably close to a new Newmar or Tiffin DP, which may be a viable option. And if that is what you want, I say, good for you, do it.

I've had enough of bigger is better, and more is more. Life is way too short to not enjoy and be thankful for what you have.

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Old 07-17-2016, 05:52 AM   #168
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I've had enough of bigger is better, and more is more. Life is way too short to not enjoy and be thankful for what you have.

Regards
Very Well Said.

We're not far from being on the same page. IMHO, Greg's series is simply a wake-up call and since his reports are coming from an industry reporter, it simply validates what many forum users have posted for quite some time.

The industry is fractured and is in great need of repair and the repair system seems to be broken.

Instead of band aids, it's time for a fix. Based on what seems to be a higher level of initial quality related complaints, things are not getting better.

For some reason it seems this industry has forgotten that quality trumps quantity every time. If that means fewer, better built units that come with price increases, that's acceptable. These companies are entitled to a fair profit and the buyers should have expectations their recreational vehicles should perform as intended. In turn, when a defect is found, the path to service should be prompt, accurate and respectful to the customer.
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