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Will The RV Industry Survive The Economic Crisis?
March 19, 2009
Will The RV Industry Survive The Economic Crisis?
Will The RV Industry Survive The Economic Crisis?
Issue 006 - March 2009
Just For You In This Issue
Special Report On The Current Crisis In The RV Industry
Monthly RV Safety Tip
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Our Ask An RV Question section has been very been very busy this month. We have received numerous questions. Take a look below at a sample of some of the questions we have been receiving.Power Out In The Whole RV. What's Causing It?
If you have questions about RVs, RVing or the RVing Lifestyle? You can ask them now. If you would like to view more of the questions we have been asked, or leave a comment, you can find the questions already asked directly under the Ask An RV Question Form. We urge your participation.
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You Can Now Tell Us Why You Love RVing
Here is your opportunity to share your Love of RVing with others. We have a lot of visitors to our site who have never RVed before. You now have the opportunity to let them know what they are missing by not being a part of the RVing Lifestyle. Share your love of RVing.
Here is an example of what other RVers are sharing.
We Love RVing because We Are Living the Dream Lifestyle
by Kimberly & Jerry Peterson (Bristol, Tennessee)
Jerry & Our Rig at Bristol
It was a dream of ours since we were both children but we continued to put it off and made excuses why we could not…should not do it until we retire. Then, my baby brother at an early age of 40 passed away, then a year later my mom passed away and they both made me promise to follow our dreams before it‘s too late. A few short months later, we sold it all and began living our dream.
There have been some rough times financially but we made it through them with a few tears but plenty of laughter. The roads ahead are always paved with so many things that we would have never seen if we had not put our fears aside and just did it.
RV Industry Crisis Introduction
By RVing Al
RV sales had been declining prior to the beginning of 2008. In fact some RV manufacturers started having financial problems in 2007 and tried to cut costs where they could. The rumors starting flying that certain RV Manufacturers were in deep trouble unless they found some new sources of funding. But, the RV Industry still kept producing RVs in the hope that if you build them they will come. The writing was on the wall, but nobody was reading what it was saying
Then in early 2008 fuel prices started to escalate. There were rumblings about banks having problems with certain bad loans. The overall economy took a turn for the worse and unfortunately the RV Industry and several other US Industries were not quick to respond to the downturn in consumer confidence. Throughout 2008 the fuel prices continued to escalate with no end in sight. People were no longer looking at "fuel guzzling" RVs. Lending agencies were pulling out of making loans on "luxury items" such as RVs. Throughout 2008 some RV manufacturers starting filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Even though, this crisis had really begun years earlier, the snowball started to grow rapidly in 2008. There was now a glut of new RVs on the market and no one was buying them.
When the reality finally struck the RV Industry that they needed to take drastic action; the RV Manufacturers started reducing production, laying off employees, shutting down factories and trying to find even more ways to cut their costs. For a lot of RV Manufacturers even these drastic cost cutting moves were too little too late. Now the RV Industry has been brought to its knees and is hoping that some miracle will happen to make this crisis go away.
The visitors to the EARV website are well aware of this crisis, in fact quite a few of the questions we get on our Ask An RV Question Page are now related to the crisis in the RV industry. Here are some examples;
RV Manufacturers That Are Now In Trouble Or Out Of Business
All RV Manufacturers have been affected by the economic crisis, some have dealt with it better than others. Unfortunately quite a few are currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They are not "officially" out of business, but that status could change at any time. Here is a list of the RV Manufacturers currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Here is a list of RV Manufacturers that have gone out of business within the last couple of years
These closings and bankruptcies have resulted in 1000s of layoffs within the RV Industry.
Important Update: As I was working on this article about out of business RV Manufacturers a news story came in; announcing that the board of directors of RV Manufacturer NuWa Industries had made a decision to resume limited production of their HitchHiker 5th wheel trailers. More information on their reopening is located here. We have happily removed NuWa Industries from our RV Manufacturers Out Of Business listing. Let's hope that this reopening is just the beginning of more positive news for the RV Industry.
Bad News For RV Industry Creates Great Opportunity For New RV Buyers
By RVing Al
The bad news in the RV Industry is great news for a person who is currently looking to purchase a new RV. The lagging sales of new RVs has created a glut of new RVs on the market. RV Dealers need to move these RVs off there lots and are selling them at "rock bottom" prices. That being said; you are still going to have to negotiate to get the best deal, but now more than ever the RV buyer is in the driver's seat when it comes to buying an RV. You will get a lot more for the money if you purchase now as opposed to a few months down the road. Here is an article with some more information for you. Is Now The Right Time To Buy An RV?
If you want an even better deal on a new RV, you should attend an RV Show. Even if the RV Show is hundreds of miles away from you, it will be worth the drive or flight to get there. Depending on the size of the RV show you may have several RV Dealers selling the exact make and model of RV you are looking for. The answer to this question Can I Get 50% Off The Price Of A New RV Right Now? will give you some great insight on how you can get an even better deal on a new RV at an RV Show.
One of the situations you may run into in your effort to get a great deal on a new RV, is that you might end up looking at an Orphan RV. An Orphan RV is a new RV that was built by an RV manufacturer that is now out of business. The first thing you need to understand when buying or looking at an Orphan RV is that it will be sold to you without a New RV Warranty. I know this sounds scary, but depending on the discounted price of the RV, you may find that buying one of these Orphan RVs is the right move for you. Here are some facts you need to know about an Orphan RV.
1. Although there is no New RV Warranty on these Orphan RVs, the appliances and accessories within the RV will be covered by the appliance or accessory manufacturer's warranty. For example TVs, microwaves, stoves, refrigerator, heaters, air conditioners, satellite dish, generator, etc. all have warranties from their respective manufacturers. What won't be covered is the house part of the RV, cabinets, wall coverings, exterior finish of the RV, roof leaks, fit and finish problems, etc.
2. The chassis of the RVs should be covered by the chassis manufacturer. That being said; some RV manufacturers also manufactured their own chassis, in that case the chassis will not be covered if they are out of business.
3. Some RV Dealerships have stepped up to the plate and offered to fix problems for free on an Orphan RV as if it were covered under a manufacturer's warranty. In other words they are going to eat the cost of the repairs. If you find a dealership that is willing to do this, make sure you get a copy in writing of what they are willing to cover.
4. There are RV Extended Warranties and RV Continued Service Plans that you can purchase that will cover some of the items that a new RV Warranty would have covered. You need to understand that these after-market warranties will still not cover all the items that a new RV Warranty would have covered, but they are still a great cost effective alternative. If you want more information on these warranties please read the answer to this question. What Is The Best RV Extended Warranty Plan?
The money you save on an orphan RV may very well pay for any minor repair expenses that you may incur. Even so, you are taking some risk in buying an Orphan RV. Only you can decide if this is the right option for you.
As I said at the beginning of this article, the discounted prices on new RVs right now may indeed be a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for you. You will most definitely get a heck of lot more RV for your money.
What Does The Future Of The RV Industry Look Like?
By RVing Al
Unfortunately, the immediate future of the RV Industry is not looking bright. I am afraid there will still be a few more RV Manufacturers going out of business. Once the dust settles, the RV Industry will start to slowly grow once again and yes, people will start to buy RVs again.
I am going to use the example of the Dot Com Bubble burst of 2000 and 2001 to try to explain what has happened to and what is going to happen to the RV Industry. You are probably asking yourself "What the heck does the Dot Com Bubble Burst have to do with the RV Industry?" stick with me here it will all make sense at the end (I hope).
In the late 90s more and more people were getting on the internet. Some retailers and entrepreneurs saw the internet as an opportunity to start selling tons of merchandise. So they started up a bunch of websites selling everything from pet supplies to music CDs. The philosophy of some of these dot-coms was "If we build a website people will come and buy all of our stuff". So the dot-coms starting borrowing millions of dollars from the banks and went public with their stock so they could build their websites. The stocks kept soaring and the dot-coms kept borrowing more and more money to add on to their websites and advertise them. There was only one problem, a lot of these dot-coms were making no money at all.
In fact there became a glut of dot-coms on the internet all spending millions on there websites to sell their stuff. These dot-coms knew they couldn't fail, after all it was the internet and everybody was making millions of dollars on the internet weren't they?
Well, all the sales didn't come in as expected, in fact some of these dot-coms never made a profit the whole time that they were in business. Now the banks were getting worried about some of these dot-coms, because loan payments were not being made on a timely basis and some of the banks started to call-in some of the loans. Now the shareholders were getting worried because of lack of sales and profits, defaulted loans, bad business practices, etc and they started selling off their stock like crazy and stock prices plummeted and lot of the dot-coms went belly up (out of business).
Here are just a few of the dot-coms that went out of business, Beyond.com, Boo.com, Pets.com, KOZMO.com, eToys.com, eXcite.com and so on and so on. But wait if you search the internet you can still find some of these websites, "What's up with that?". Well, some of the other dot-coms that did not go out of business bought their names and are using them.
Now there were some survivors of the Dot-Com Bubble Burst such as eBay.com, Amazon.com, Travelocity.com and Yahoo.com to name a few. It took these survivors awhile to get back on track, but they are now flourishing.
So what went wrong? Rather than trying to figure out what the consumer really wanted, the dot-coms adopted the philosophy of "if we build it they will come" and if they don't come, we will just borrow more money and make our website bigger and advertise more until they do come. It never dawned on the dot-coms that not all of the internet visitors were ready to buy stuff on-line, because they were not sure how secure their transactions would be (there was no consumer confidence).
These dot-coms also ignored the fact that were lots of other websites that were selling the same stuff they were and that these other websites actually understood what the internet consumer wanted. These other websites were doing a better job at customer service, etc. These big dot-coms just ignored the fact that there were too many websites selling the same stuff and ended up going out of business.
Does any of the above sound familiar? During the 90s and into the 2000s many of the RV manufactures increased production and opened new factories as a result of strong RV Sales. Of course a lot of the manufacturers had to get loans to continue their expansions. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association RV sales peaked in 2006 at about 390,000 vehicles. Some of the RV Manufacturers were caught by surprise when RV sales started to decline in 2007.
Then came the volatile fuel prices which caused a lot of potential buyers to steer clear of buying "fuel-guzzling" RVs. To be honest, there really has not been a major improvement in fuel mileage in the motorized RV category for the past two decades. Now, if the fuel prices were not enough to hurt the RV Industry, the housing loan debacle sure was. Lending institutions were being hit hard by sub prime loan defaults. So their reaction was to tighten up the loan market making it harder for someone to buy a "luxury item" such as an RV.
Then to put the final nail in the coffin of the RV Industry the stock market decided to make a "major price correction" in other words the stock market plummeted. This price correction affected a lot of "baby boomers" financially. Since baby boomers are the major buyers of RVs it also affected the RV Industry. Because the RV industry was too slow to react to the economic downturn, they produced too many RVs that were not selling, creating the new RV glut that we have now. So the RV Industry has gone from "feast to famine" in 2 1/2 years.
So, as you see there are quite a few similarities between the Dot-Com Bubble Burst of 2000 and 2001 and the RV Bubble Burst of 2008 and 2009. Just like the Dot-Com Bubble Burst there will be survivors of the RV Bubble Burst. The number of RV Manufacturers that survive is yet to be determined as we are in the middle of the RV Bubble Burst. But there will be survivors.
What will happen to the RV Industry in the future is going to be in the hands of the surviving RV Manufacturers. All of the surviving RV Manufacturers by default will have larger market share of RV sales then they had Prior to the bubble burst. Some will come back quicker than others. Some may even start to look at the future and build some innovative motorized RVs that are far more fuel efficient, while still providing the luxuries that RVers expect. Hopefully all of them will have learned from this experience; that they need to keep their ears to the ground and have contingency plans in place on how to react quickly to changes in the RV marketplace.
What can RV consumers expect? Once the glut of RVs is sold off, you can expect fewer RVs to choose from. You will not have a selection of unlimited floor plans to choose from. Depending on the type of RV you are looking at you may find that there are only two or three companies making them. You may also find some very innovative RVs to choose from made by either existing RV Manufacturers or brand new RV Manufacturers who are trying to make a name for themselves. Either way, the RV Industry will still be around, hopefully a little bit wiser from their experience over the past couple of years.
RVing is not dead, it is just trying to catch it's breath. The long term future of RVing will be bright as long as the same mistakes are not repeated.
Monthly RV Safety Tip
Freshen Up Your RV Water System
This article covers some steps we can take to ensure our RV water system is safe to use. There are no guarantees that any water is completely safe for us to drink, but if we take certain precautions we can keep our RV water system safe to use. So where do we start? Let’s take a look. The water system in your RV provides the water that you drink from and the water you use to wash dishes and take showers with. We cannot assume that it will stay safe and fresh like the water system in our home.
Contaminated water is extremely dangerous. We not only have to deal with a water system that hasn’t been used for sometime, but when we travel in the RV we hook our water system up to a different water source every time we stop to spend the night some where. We hook up to city water, well water, and eventually contaminated water. You’ve probably heard people say don’t drink the water if you go to Mexico. Well that can be true anywhere. We stopped at a campground one night just to get a few hours of sleep and I didn’t bother to use the water filter. The water coming out of the faucet was cloudy and had small particles suspended in it.
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