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Old 10-11-2016, 08:32 PM   #1
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Class B Sales Soar

While Class A sales appeared flat during same period, Class B's "soared" with 26.6 % gain in August.

SSI: Class B Sales Soar in Aug., Enjoy 26.6% Gain | RV Business

It also seems that Class C's grew at a significant rate, although not quite as fast as Class B's.

SSI: Aug. Motorhome Sales Grow 5.9% as Cs Roll | RV Business


Any thoughts as to why Class A's may be lagging behind in growth rate lately?
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:43 PM   #2
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FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION THAT! we were just at the RV show here in NC (we always look) and started a conversation with a class c salesman--and of course a few onlookers- we LOVE our super C----it seems in our opinion and several others that the Big A's are going out of favor- too big, too hard to maintain, too many diesel issues re: fires, too much that can go wrong unless you have deep pockets and lots of patience---we also know friends that have a big A- they do routine maint and pre maint and LOVE their home on wheels- but since the RV industry is growing and the service personnel and areas available with knowledge are not, i think the issues with a problem on a big A has started people with the new technologies looking at other options---same with the 5th wheels--loots of room but lots of quality issues theses last few years--the B's are easy to drive, easy to maintain and easy to park---too small for us....but it IS portable and convenient! will be interesting to see the next generation of buyers out there and what hey will go for!!
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:16 PM   #3
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I think its the same reason Thor's Axis/Vegas lines are a hit as well (some of which mentioned by WillowRun): Smaller, more maneuverable, easier maintenance, etc.

Remember as well: Tiny houses are a thing now too. People are just trying to live with less.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:01 PM   #4
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I agree with your comments.

I'm also wondering to what extent additional high-roof Euro-style van platforms have helped in making Class Bs a viable choice for some buyers. We've had Mercedes Sprinter vans for years now, but not everyone wants a diesel; or the high maintenance/repair cost reputation that comes with them. Previously, other options included older vans like Ford Econoline and Chevy Express, which made for cramped space -- so no surprise they fell off the radar fairly fast. Their main advantage was they could tow more than newer vans.

I've noticed additional Class B manufacturers are offering models based on Ram ProMaster which are much more affordable than Sprinter-based models -- there are now a lot more lower-cost choices. More recently Winnebago started offering another Class B model based on Ford Transit in addition to models based on Sprinter and ProMaster.

For our needs some of the larger Class Bs seem to offer a lot. I personally tend to like ProMaster offerings best because of the extra width which makes them feel roomier, and at 21-ft in length can be parked in normal parking lots easier than the 24-ft Sprinters. Having said that, I wish they would make even larger vans on which to build Class Bs; particularly wider vans.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
I think its the same reason Thor's Axis/Vegas lines are a hit as well (some of which mentioned by WillowRun): Smaller, more maneuverable, easier maintenance, etc.

Remember as well: Tiny houses are a thing now too. People are just trying to live with less.
Isn't it odd that other manufacturers haven't started offering compact Class As based on E-Series chassis? The first company wasn't successful, but Thor seems to be doing well with Axis and Vegas. You'd think others would follow.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Isn't it odd that other manufacturers haven't started offering compact Class As based on E-Series chassis? The first company wasn't successful, but Thor seems to be doing well with Axis and Vegas. You'd think others would follow.
Just a matter of time. market and demand will dictate what mfgs will produce. We just spent 5 weeks on the Florida gulf staying at different sites for a couple days each and 3 days at Disney. Our 25 footer class c fits DW and I perfect, we wouldn't go smaller for us and may go slightly bigger but right now our 23U works great. we usually go for 4 to 6 weeks and head back to see the grandkids. I like the flexibility of the smaller RV but on the other hand some people like more room. All sizes for everyone. Happy travels
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:39 PM   #7
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Just a matter of time. market and demand will dictate what mfgs will produce. ....cut...
I completely agree, although it's a little disappointing when manufacturers mostly follow others' success which limits creativity. We just get more of the same.

I like it when manufacturers take a chance and create brand new designs that buyers didn't even know they wanted or needed.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:11 PM   #8
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I think there are a couple of the reasons people are flocking to B and C class RVs, intimidation and parking. We have a Windsport 29M, not a huge coach, but I frequently have people say "Oh, I couldn't drive something like that!!!" For some I'm sure it is intimidating, many feel more comfortable driving a B or C which feels a little like a car. Parking and or storage is another, it's harder to find a place to park or store a larger coach. We're lucky that we can park and store in our own driveway, for other, with HOA rules it might be a problem. Regardless of what you drive I'm still going to walk over and say "Hi neighbor" if I see you!!!
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:24 AM   #9
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Differences in storage requirements is a great point -- particularly if a Class B can be kept at home versus having to store a Class A or C off-site. Keeping any compact motorhome at home makes it easier to double as a second or third family car/vehicle and also makes it easier and faster to prepare for trips on short notice.


Regarding overall size, I'd like to know if there would be any market interest in Class Cs that are essentially the same overall dimensions as Class Bs. The main difference appears to be that walls and ceiling are squared off, making interior easier to design and build. It also allows for easier installation of windows and RV door.

I noticed pictures of these narrow Class Cs recently and can only imagine how versatile such a motorhome/van could be if built on longer E-Series SRW chassis.
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:49 AM   #10
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Problem I have with a smaller unit, no king bed, and lack of storage. Even smaller units always want something a little bigger. I have no problem driving a bigger unit, I use one hand going down the road, even when trucks pass. Only my 2 cents!!
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by SuperD View Post
I think there are a couple of the reasons people are flocking to B and C class RVs, intimidation and parking. We have a Windsport 29M, not a huge coach, but I frequently have people say "Oh, I couldn't drive something like that!!!" For some I'm sure it is intimidating, many feel more comfortable driving a B or C which feels a little like a car. Parking and or storage is another, it's harder to find a place to park or store a larger coach. We're lucky that we can park and store in our own driveway, for other, with HOA rules it might be a problem. Regardless of what you drive I'm still going to walk over and say "Hi neighbor" if I see you!!!
There is another reason which was published in an article a few months ago.

The younger folks within the workforce, primarily professionals, are buying smaller RVs, travel trailers included, to serve as mini homes on wheels so they can travel to wherever their careers take them. These folks, according to the article, gravitate towards the smaller units in keeping with the tiny house movement, and want the ability to move to the next career opportunity at the drop of a hat and not worry about breaking apartment leases or having to sell a house.

This is something contractors and rough necks have been doing for years but is now moving over to the white collar workforce.
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Old 10-20-2016, 01:30 AM   #12
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I wonder if there are any stats about where the increased sales are going. I suspect the rental market may be buying more of the smaller units. The trend for all things seems to be running towards renting or leasing rather than buying and younger to middle-aged consumers dont seem to want to be tied to large purchases.
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Old 10-20-2016, 03:21 AM   #13
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I wonder if there are any stats about where the increased sales are going. I suspect the rental market may be buying more of the smaller units. The trend for all things seems to be running towards renting or leasing rather than buying and younger to middle-aged consumers dont seem to want to be tied to large purchases.
We've rented both trailers and motorhomes a few times each and there is a lot to be said for renting. And also against it.

Rental costs are definitely high, but when you figure that many RVs end up being used much less than owners anticipated, then the cost to replace actual usage with rentals isn't that bad. And you eliminate a lot of hassles like repairs, warranty, storage, etc.... Plus if circumstances change and you can't or don't want to travel or camp, permanently or temporarily, it's easier to just stop renting. Your money essentially stays more liquid.

The down sides include that renting can also be a hassle, and the units are not kept to the standards my wife and I prefer. By comparison ownership can be a lot of fun.

We have been doing a little of both for a while (a combination), which has worked out well for us. Our relatively small van is great for traveling, but camping in it is a step or two above a tent. For that reason we either stay in nice campgrounds or stop at hotels every few nights. A few times we have rented a trailer and pulled it with the van, which gave us a great combination. The trailer was our base camp and the van served for sightseeing. A few times when we wanted to travel with family we rented large Class Cs.

If these new Class Bs could occasionally pull a small camping trailer, we would prefer to stay with a smaller van and then rent as needed when more space was required. Realistically though, since Class Bs can be twice as large as my extended Ford, I expect we would rarely want/need to rent a trailer at all.
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Old 10-20-2016, 12:00 PM   #14
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The original article mentioned that Hymer/Roadtrek Class Bs had been growing in US lately -- after Hymer purchased Roadtrek.

This article mentions Hymer plans to expand further by offering Class As and Cs in future. It requires building a new plant.

An interesting comment was that even entry level European motorhomes are built to a higher quality standard than most US offerings. If true, I hope that remains when built in Canada.

http://www.gohymer.com/wp-content/up...cle_092016.pdf
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:51 AM   #15
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I don't think service has a lot to do with flat A sales. My motor is Cummins, lots of Cummins service centers, my chassis is Freightliner, again, lots of Freightliner service centers around, until they ban OTA rigs, motor and chassis servicing is a snap. Doesn't matter what class it is (even travel trailers) they all use the same appliances, too. All the technology is old...glitzier, but, not new.

What is different is the average age of "new RVers" and how much income they have to "invest" in an RV. To a lot of people, the thought of spending 400 K on a Class A is far out of their reach. Yes, they could buy used, but, you have to remember that these are the same folks that trade up phones annually just to have the latest and greatest. Super C, C+, B+ are the new "entry level" to a possible future Class A purchase. Most of us are retired, or very close to it. Our "fortunes" are made, and while we 8itch and bellyache about the costs of an A, we have the disposable income or investments to afford them. Give the newbies another 10-15 years and you'll probably see Class A rigs rebound.
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:05 PM   #16
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I agree younger people's needs and expectations may be different, but don't think it's all or mostly about money or higher cost of larger Class As. No doubt luxury large diesel pushers are much more expensive, but at the cost of many Class Bs today a buyer could also purchase larger Class Cs or As, so in my opinion they are not buying Bs just because they are more affordable. Not that most people are buying Bs anyway -- the growth rate is just higher.

Many entry Class Bs we've seen were similar in price to the much larger Axis/Vegas. Likewise, many Mercedes-Sprinter-based Class Bs are priced as high as 38-ft Challengers that are two to three times larger (living space).

In my opinion the few that buy Bs want mobility and freedom that large As restrict. On the other hand space is very limited, so you're not likely to full-time in one. It's just a different tool. And like other tools, sometimes we have to pay a premium to make them smaller and lighter.

If I were on a tight budget, I wouldn't consider a Class B at all. They are too expensive for what you "physically" get. Their value is their small size. For some that works, for some it makes no sense at all.
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