By Mercedes Streeter: If you purchased a new 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, 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.”
RVs have been selling well through the pandemic, the RV Industry Association reports all-time high RV shipments of 148,507 units in the first quarter of 2021 and the year is expected to close out with nearly 580,000 RVs sold. Next year is projected to be even better for RV sales.
“Continued robust demand for RVs, the need for RV dealers to restock historically low inventories, the strong financial standing of consumers, and sustained interest in the outdoors will work to keep RV shipments elevated,” said the RV Industry Association in a recent press release.
“Faced with many of the same kinds of supply chain and labor issues plaguing most industries over the past year, the RV industry has overcome these challenges and produced a record number of RVs month after month,” said Jeff Rutherford, President & CEO of Airxcel and RV Industry Association Chairman.
Even newbies notice the poor quality
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 the 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.