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Old 03-07-2016, 11:17 AM   #1
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THOR #3785
HELP with first Thor Purchase - Challenger

Hi Everyone!

Bill from CT here. My family and I love to RV and are relatively new to it. WE started with a 16ft Jayco, now we have a 32 foot Sunseeker and we are currently trying to buy a 2016/17 Challenger 37TB Bunkhouse.

Buying RV's is a challenge for me - no pun intended. I've always been able to find dealer cost, accurate blue book information on my trade and other info when it comes to cars. But with RV's I'm a little lost.

I know exactly what we're looking for, and exactly what we're trading in of course. I could just use some help getting the best deal possible.

Could anyone offer me some buying advice to help me out. If I can't keep the upgrade gap to 30k we can't afford it.

Thanks guys,

Bill
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:42 PM   #2
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The best advice I can give is to buy used, even a year old, let someone else take the hit. I looked at hundreds of RV's before I bought my current unit, and with persistence, got a great deal.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:00 PM   #3
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There is the NADA RV Values site that you can use to value your trade. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get a good value on dealer costs for RV's since the MSRP is seemingly a made up number to make customers think they are saving something by getting a discount.


Most dealers I have talked to want to give the low NADA for any trade, regardless of any improvements. Otherwise expect 20 to 30 percent off of the MSRP when trying to make a deal for a new motorhome.


As Dvan has said, buying used takes away some of the MSRP mystery as someone else has already taken on the depreciation hit from the first year or two. It is also possible to find the NADA values for those RV's after they have moved on to the next model year.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:01 PM   #4
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Thanks, I know its the best way to go. But the features I want are only in the 2016/17, and I like new.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:03 PM   #5
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I am amazed at how much they come down from MSRP. Much more than autos. Which is why I'm posting this thread. I can't make heads or tails of it. My Sunseeker was MSRP 106k, and I got it for 85k.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:18 PM   #6
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There is an NADA guide for RV values but it is just that a guide.

Motorhomes Price, Motorhomes Value & Motorhomes Trade In | NADAguides | Motorhomes Price Specs

You can also go to RV Trader

The issue you face may be related to the Manufacturers MAP (Minimum Advertised Pricing) policy in which dealers cannot list a price below a certain level on line. Basically if you conduct a nationwide search for a RV the lowest price advertised may be the same for dealers nationwide. That however, does not represent the price at which the dealer is willing to sell the unit.

In the years I have been doing this I found the best prices for RVs happen between October and the end of March. It also helps if you find an RV show during that time period and can get show pricing for a coach. Thor often provides dealer pricing incentives for taking units to RV shows.

For my trade in, I also went from a SunSeeker (2860DS) to the Challenger, I used RV Trader to determine what dealers were selling the same unit for, and the NADA guide to determine the low, high and average pricing for the unit based on options and then set my projected trade in value off that. Unfortunately for me, on the way to the dealer with the trade a truck kicked up a rock and voila a chipped windshield. That had me worried for an hour or two but it was reparable so the dealer stuck to the pre negotiated trade in amount.

I submitted my purchase offer on the 2015 Challenger last January, three days after an RV show and after a little negotiation we took delivery Feb 2, 2015.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:27 PM   #7
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Dave - timing was very close to ours. Made the deal in March - took delivery in April. And I believe the deal was as good as you could possibly get for exactly the reasons you described.
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Old 03-07-2016, 02:53 PM   #8
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We bought our unit late summer, got a good price and a OK price for our trade. Our unit was a late model 15 and we got a good price on it.

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Old 03-07-2016, 02:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BillT View Post
Thanks, I know its the best way to go. But the features I want are only in the 2016/17, and I like new.
If one of the features is the 6-speed auto tranny, you may want to run the VIN to make sure the Ford F-53 chassis is one of the later 2016's. The early 2016's seem to be built on the 2015 F-53 chassis with the 5-speed.
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jpmihalk View Post
If one of the features is the 6-speed auto tranny, you may want to run the VIN to make sure the Ford F-53 chassis is one of the later 2016's. The early 2016's seem to be built on the 2015 F-53 chassis with the 5-speed.
Good advice. Will do for sure. Thanks a ton.
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:22 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone! I wanted to update you all. We have decided on a Challenger 37TB and now the question is when. I can have 2016 (new) for 127k, or I can order a 2017 for 131k. After reading the changes for 2017 I am partial to the new color "Riverside" and the 6 speed transmission. So I am leaning toward ordering. Best on my trade is 69k.

Wondering if I should use my Sunseeker for the season and order in August, or just do it now. What do you think folks?
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:32 PM   #12
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By ordering you will get exactly what you want! Getting a 16 you will get a better price and have it for this summer.

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Old 03-13-2016, 05:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by KCook View Post
By ordering you will get exactly what you want! Getting a 16 you will get a better price and have it for this summer.

KC
Yeah, but if I ordered now I would also have the Challenger for most of the summer. I'm just trying to figure out the financials of it. Price of the new rig about the same, but how much will my trade value decrease between now and August. Right now, I can get 69,000. August? It's hard because the NADA guides don't even have 2016's yet.
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BillT View Post
Yeah, but if I ordered now I would also have the Challenger for most of the summer. I'm just trying to figure out the financials of it. Price of the new rig about the same, but how much will my trade value decrease between now and August. Right now, I can get 69,000. August? It's hard because the NADA guides don't even have 2016's yet.
Before we bought our KT, we looked at another unit early last year, we got a trade it value. The deal fell though. So in August we went to another dealer and got the same trade in value with a great price on our KT (it was a 15, the 16 were out). Talk with the dealer, see what they have to say about holding the trade in value.

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Old 03-13-2016, 06:17 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BillT View Post
Yeah, but if I ordered now I would also have the Challenger for most of the summer. I'm just trying to figure out the financials of it. Price of the new rig about the same, but how much will my trade value decrease between now and August. Right now, I can get 69,000. August? It's hard because the NADA guides don't even have 2016's yet.
Bill

You are correct in being concerned about the value of the trade. Right now the dealer can unload it during the summer and may be pricing it accordingly. By waiting until August the value may decline considerably because the dealer will be taking the chance it will sit on their lot over the winter.

You said there was about a 4 or 5K difference in price between the 2016 and 2017 Challenger. The question here is how much is the exterior color worth to you? Keep in mind the early 2017s will more than likely ship on the same 2016 chassis as the late 2016s. My 2015 Challenger was manufactured in August 2014 and has a 2014 F53 chassis.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:42 AM   #16
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Update for all you wonderful folks. We decided to go ahead and buy a 2016. We pick it up on Tuesday. Here's what we bought:

#RVTC5813 - 2016 Thor Motor Coach Challenger 37TB for sale in Ringgold VA

We paid 128,000 and got a fair price on my trade in.I paid 85,0000 for my class C last July, and got 69,000 on the trade - which if tax is considered translate to about 75,000.

The folks at RV Outlet USA were fair and didn't play too many calls, except for one call back. For those considering buying in the future here is what I did.

I located and kept notes on the 6 Thor dealers closest to me. I called each and and told them exactly wanted I wanted, and if they didn't have it I wouldn't mind ordering it as I had a motorhome already. Using RV Trader and the MAP prices on it as a starting point, I asked for their best price with my trade - which was a mistake, but I worked though it. More on that in a minute.

I kept notes on the prices they gave me and I was very honest in telling them that I was shopping around and calling several dealers. I told each one the best price I had before they gave me a price. I quickly got to 129,875. Then I called a few remaining and they couldn't beat it or could only come within a couple of hundred, so I figured that was my sweet spot.

Then I called the top dealers back and did the same with my trade value going up. Some were ridiculously low - 48,000. I asked them to repeat themselves, and resisted the urge to ask if they were high. Once I got to 69,000 as my sweet spot for my trade I called back the top dealer - RV Outlet USA, and told them that I was going to wait. They had the best price and I appreciated it, but it was 10,000 over my budget and I was going to wait until the fall or spring and save some more cash. This was a good move. An hour later I got a cal back and they said they could go 2000 lower. This was the deal I took, with no fees of course.

Here are some take aways:
- Camping world is terrible - no matter which one you go to. If you're informed and know what you want and about what you should pay for it, they won't even call you back. Amazing how they got so big.

- If you order a 2017, it should be no more than 3500 more than a 2016.

- Generally speaking, prices on RV's are much lower the more south you go. I can understand this as dealer overhead must be higher in the north.

The only problem I have with driving 600 miles to get my RV is that I can't inspect and make them fix anything before I take delivery. Also, I still have to use my local Thor dealer for service, who I had big problems with and don't really like very much.

That's all for now folks. I pick up the coach on Tuesday. Any advice?

If you have any questions or comments I'd love to hear them.

Bill
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:28 PM   #17
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Bill,

Congrats and that is a nice looking coach.
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:31 PM   #18
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BillT - don't rush the inspection and taking ownership. I can only tell you from the horror stories I've heard. Your last strong position to get things fixed by your dealer is the check. We actually refused to hand over a check until everything was done. As it turned out, the service department is one of the best in business and very personable. BUT the selling side of the business were the ones that I had to influence to send the coach to the service. Glad I did.

So last advise before you take delivery - spend whatever time you need to get the coach right!
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:55 PM   #19
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Bill

If I were in your situation one area that I would pay particular attention to, along with major systems, are the "fit and finish" items. These include cabinet door installation, lights, seals etc... These items are only covered under warranty for 90 days. Have the dealer fix them before you sign the contract. 90 days will sneak up on you faster than you know.
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:27 PM   #20
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BillT - don't rush the inspection and taking ownership. I can only tell you from the horror stories I've heard. Your last strong position to get things fixed by your dealer is the check. We actually refused to hand over a check until everything was done. As it turned out, the service department is one of the best in business and very personable. BUT the selling side of the business were the ones that I had to influence to send the coach to the service. Glad I did.

So last advise before you take delivery - spend whatever time you need to get the coach right!
Thanks Ben. I wish I could. When I bought my Class C my wife dropped me off and I would have had to have her drive an hour back if I didn't sign the contract so we wrote up a "WE OWE" list and it was painful. I learned this lesson then as they would have been much more timely in fixing things if I had withheld the check.

But unfortunately this time I am driving 600 miles with my trade on Monday, and driving home with the rig on Tuesday. The only way I can do this is if I catch a plane home if things aren't right, and then back when they are.

So, I've been really "vocal" about my concerns with pre-delivery inspection. I also considered having someone like a mobile RV tech inspect it for me before I get there. Looks like if anything pops up, I'll have to ask them to write it up and have it fixed up here. Not ideal, but I don't see another way.

Thanks for the thoughts,

Bill
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