Are you anything like 19,000 RVers recently surveyed?

15

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
RV manufacturer Thor recently completed its 2020 North American RV Consumer Survey with an aim to see just how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact RVers’ decisions about buying and traveling. Here’s a rundown on responses.

About those surveyed
19,393 folks responded. Of them, 7.1 percent didn’t own an RV; the rest of the respondents did. They broke out into these categories of owners: Class A – 10.5 percent; Class C – 9.6 percent; Class B – 0.7 percent. Among other owners, 23.8 percent owned a fifth wheel, 31.8 percent a travel trailer, 11.9 percent classified themselves as a “lightweight” owner, and 4.5 percent were toy hauler owners.

Vacation plans
A huge majority, 94 percent, said they still planned a vacation this year. The biggest travel month planned fell to August, with 67 percent claiming it. Only 34 percent said they had not canceled trip plans because of the pandemic.

What kind of vacation trips were in the cards? Half said they’d be taking a weekend or a week-long vacation. Motorhomers – 34 percent of them – planned multi-week trips. In comparing previous RV use, 79 percent reported they’d use their rig about the same, or perhaps more, this year than last.

What will be the deciding factor when making trip plans? The biggest indicator will be whether campgrounds are open, followed by whether or not the spread of coronavirus has decreased. Next in line, if a state “Shelter in Place” order had been lifted. Wish we would have been provided percentages; all we got was a clueless bar graph.

Are you buying?
Of course, for industry, whether or not potential customers are rarin’ to plunk down their money (or sign that loan application) is a big thing. Of the folks who don’t yet have an RV, 78 percent said they’re thinking about changing that this year. Of those who already have a rig, 18 percent said they’re looking into getting a different one. Here’s how it shakes out in detail.

For those considering buying, the biggest interest lies in lightweight travel trailers at 25 percent. Close behind, regular weight travel trailers show a 22 percent interest. Class A motorhome interest ranks at 15 percent, followed by fifth wheels at 14 percent. Pulling up the rear, Class C motorhomes at 13, toy haulers at 6, and Class B conversion units at 5 percent.

Changing horses in the middle of the ride was intense: Of folks who already own a travel trailer of any kind, 33 percent said they’re interested in swapping out to a fifth wheel. Without regard to present ownership, regional differences made a difference. Folks from the Northwest showed a 16 percent interest in lightweight travel trailers; Midwesterners blasted interest in fivers at 32 percent; while in the Southeast, Class A motorhomes drew a 22 percent interest.

If you’re like a lot of folks here, better have a “Plan B” when you hit the road. There may be a lot of competition for places to park your rig!

##RVT950

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John Koenig
2 months ago

Jim Ream, RV classifications are fluid and frequently “tweaked” by RV makers. A Class A is most often a long rectangular box that resembles a city bus (but there is a separate category for bus-based RVs). Class A RV’s range from about 32′ to 45″ long. Class A RVs can be powered by either gasoline (usually the Ford Triton V-10) or by a diesel motor (often a Cummins). Class B RVs are vans that, generally speaking, have NOT been “stretched” by the RV builder. Class B RVs usually come in around 22′ to 24′. Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans can be “upfitted” to be either Class B or Class C RVs (but pay STRICT attention to the weight limits that can constrain the Sprinter platform). “Plain” Class C motor homes generally start with a pick up truck or contractor van that has been heavily modified. Ford’s F450 pick ups and E450 contractor vans are frequently used as a base but, GMC and Dodge Ram vehicles are also used. The F450/E450 “style” would be STANDARD Class C RVs. A subcategory of Class C is the Super-C RV. In my opinion, a TRUE Super-C RV is built on the cab/chassis of a HDT (Class 7 or Class 8 HEAVY DUTY TRUCK). MDTs (MEDIUM DUTY Trucks; Class 4, 5 &6) are, in my opinion, “WANNA BE” Super-Cs. EACH class has strengths and weaknesses. If you’re new to RVing, I’d recommend you start small. You’ll spend a lot less money and, if you find RVing is not your “cup of tea” you won’t lose a fortune. If, like myself, you find you like / love the RV lifestyle, your experience in a small RV will make you a smarter RV buyer when you “graduate” to a bigger RV.

During the Covid19 Pandemic, I doubt any of “the usual suspects” are offering RV Boot Camp. When we finally get back to “normalcy” you would be VERY wise to find and attend an RVBC. I believe the Escapees RV Club was the first one to offer this important educational product. RVSEF, RV~Dreams and FMCA also offer their version of RVBC. Depending on which provider you choose, RVBC can take anywhere from a weekend to eight days. RVBC is TRULY a worthwhile investment. RVBC graduates are safer RVers, smarter RV buyers and, some insurers offer discounts to RVBC graduates. Mark Polk of http://www.RVEducation101.com has many of the classes taught in RVBC available on DVDs, I was able to borrow some at my local library before paying for other titles that interested me.

The internet, in general, along with videos found on YouTube (and other sites) can get you off to a good start. Mistakes made with RV are often expensive and, sometimes dangerous. Get a GOOD education as soon as you can; it will pay big dividends. Welcome to RVing!

Jim Ream
2 months ago

Would you please explain the differences in Class A, Class C etc?

Nivasi
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Ream

Class A is like a bus, Class B is a campervan Class C smaller engine than Class A ( most often seen )

Bob p
2 months ago
Reply to  Nivasi

Class C uses the same engine/transmission as the gas class A, mostly Ford V10 and 6 speed automatic.

Bill
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Ream

Class A is built on a bare chassis, Class B is built inside a complete vehicle, Class C is built on a “cutaway” chassis. But, there is a lot of overlap and obfuscation.

TravelingMan
2 months ago

Survey’s are interesting but as with most, it’s easy to write them in a way that gets you the results you want. Especially if you are being paid to do a survey by a bias company.

One needs to ask:

How many are planning to sell and get out of RV traveling?

How many have researched RV’s and understand how shotty the work is?

How many of you know how to fix your RV when it breaks? (AND IT WILL!)

How many of you have a proper driving license for towing or driving an RV?

How many have any experience with RV design? (I.E. Can you determine the correct axles, brakes and tires that should be under an RV?)

How many of you can calculate your tow vehicles or RV weight ratings?

Do you know how much insurance you need or what it will cost?

How many of you do a PDI before accepting delivery?

How many of you will purchase used over new?

Have you considered how much it will cost to put that rig in storage?

Is there a city ordinance that prevents you from keeping your RV at your house?

What will you do with your RV when you loose that job?

Ask these few questions and I bet you get a different overall response…

Michael MCcracken
2 months ago
Reply to  TravelingMan

I agree with you. These surveys leave a lot of questions unanswered. Those who jump into RVing based on the hipe from the dealers and the media are foolish.

Donald N Wright
2 months ago

What is a lightweight travel trailer ?

jacob
2 months ago

a lightweight travel trailer is one that weighs 5k or under they have become more popular over the past few years with all of the midsize suv’s and crossovers that are on the road today

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

A “lightweight” trailer is the one the dealer says you can tow with your dinky little SUV that you shouldn’t even tow a U-Haul with.

TravelingMan
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

You are spot on! Salesmen will do or say what it takes to make a sale. They know little to nothing about RV’s. Ask them if they own one. Ask them if they live in one. Here is a trick question you can ask if you are in Texas (and some other states as well. Check your own): Do you need a different Driver’s License to tow a 10,001 lb trailer? What about a Gross Combined Rating (Tow Vehicle and RV or separately, a motorhome in this weight category) of 26,000 lbs or more. If they tell you “No”, they are lying thru their teeth! Salesmen will sell you a 42′ 5th wheel to tow behind a Volkswagon if they can get you to bite!

Check the towable RV axle ratios, tires, wheels and weight ratings. Demand the dealership have it weight certified. You’ll likely find that you’re already close to or at max weight before you even load it. Then, your tow vehicle will also be even further past its limits.

Educate before you go shopping! Buy used over new and save a ton! Get help learning to drive or tow an RV!

Bob p
2 months ago
Reply to  TravelingMan

Didn’t know towable RVs had axle ratios! Good points except for that.

Michael MCcracken
2 months ago

Usually one that is designed to be towed by a light weight truck or SUV.

Bob p
2 months ago

Example: this last weekend our daughter had out of town guests. They had a light weight (4850 lb. empty weight) TT behind a Chevy Traverse, my wife seeing that said why can’t we pull a small camper behind our car? (2017 Chevy Equinox w/2.4L 4 cyl) rated for 1500 lbs. A car is a car, right? My wife is a fairly intelligent woman but like the average person knows nothing technical about vehicles, tow ratings, etc. this is where you better do YOUR research before visiting a RV dealer.

Brock d'Avignon
1 month ago

See the movie “They Were Expendable”