If You Think New Campers Are Pieces of Junk, so Do RV Dealerships

If You Think New Campers Are Pieces of Junk, so Do RV Dealerships

If you’ve purchased an RV recently and felt that your new rig is more of a pile of crap than you expected, you’re probably not imagining things. According to a report from RV Travel a while back, longtime RV dealers are tired of manufacturers building RVs with terrible quality, too and they’re complaining about it.

Anyone that has owned an RV could probably tell you that it’s not all fun and Instagram photos. Some RVs are built with such abysmal quality that they could make an early aughts Volkswagen seem reliable. The folks of RVtravel participate in nationwide conference calls with dealerships and others that sell and service RVs. In one of those recent calls, dealerships offered some pretty damning comments on the quality of new RVs. The RV publication is withholding the names of those dealerships, but the quotes are pretty stunning:

“It’s some of the worst stuff I’ve seen in 30 years,” said one longtime RV dealer. “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 East Coast dealer said RV manufacturers are “building them as fast as they can, and there just isn’t any quality control. Manufacturers are not doing a good job of taking care of their customers. It’s gone from bad to worse.”

Poor RV quality isn’t anything new and the subject has been covered for years by publications and owners alike. It’s why some people would rather go through the work of converting a bus or a van.

RVs were selling well through the pandemic, the RV Industry Association reported all-time high RV shipments of 148,507 units in the first quarter of 2021 with the year closing out with nearly 580,000 RVs sold. This year is projected to be even better for RV sales.

As that pace caused quality to slip, owners have had trouble getting issues resolved by overwhelmed service departments who are dealing with parts shortages:

“I had one newbie who purchased what they thought was the Taj Mahal of RVs,” said one dealer. “They take their first trip with it, and they come back in with 40 different problems with it. Then, I get to tell them they have to wait weeks or even months to get it fixed because nobody can get the parts.”

A survey conducted by Thompson Research Group and reported by RV News echoes similar concerns from other dealerships. The survey also describes how RVs show up to dealerships with the wrong parts or parts that don’t work.

One dealership responded to RVtravel’s report, sharing their thoughts on which RV manufacturers are slipping and which ones aren’t, concluding that buyers have to draw their own conclusions based on their own research. You’d think that manufacturers selling a product that costs as much as some houses would be a little more focused on quality, and that dealers would do a little more to look out for buyers.

This article has been updated since publication. 

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