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How did the Hershey Show have so many RVs to show?

I have been attending RV shows for as long as I can remember, starting with my dad dragging my three brothers and me to RV and boat shows in the Midwest in the late 1960s. My dad never bought an RV or boat unit after my brothers and I left home. I think he just liked to buy us ice cream and rummage through new RVs.

Fast forward 30+ years and I have attended more shows than I can count, including when I worked at Winnebago and we displayed at 30 shows in one year alone!

The Hershey RV Show (America’s Largest RV Show®), which just wrapped up with its second-largest crowd ever (more than 61,000 attended), claims to be the biggest RV show in the country. I attended the show many years ago when it was held in Harrisburg but had not, until last week, attended since it moved to Hershey. Typically, the show has fallen on the same weekend as the North Carolina RV Dealers Association Charlotte Show, where I speak. That show was postponed this year after one of its largest dealer organizations pulled out because of COVID concerns. In fact, most shows across the country have been postponed – except for Hershey.

A huge reason that many shows have been canceled or postponed is because of a lack of inventory. With sales at a record pace and supply issues, dealers just don’t have enough inventory to display at an RV show. They can’t even keep their own sales lots full!

At the NCRVDA Show in Raleigh a few weeks ago, several seminar attendees told me they had ordered units from dealers and had already waited several months with no idea when their unit would be delivered from the factory. One woman I spoke with said she took her unit in to be worked on under warranty and the dealer offered to buy it for $20,000 more than she paid for it a year ago. Thor and Winnebago announced recently they had completely sold out for the 2021 model year.

So how come there were so many RVs at the Hershey show?

How were the Hershey Show promoters, the Pennsylvania RV and Campground Association (PRVCA), able to get manufacturers to bring more than 1,200 RVs to this year’s event? I asked several of my manufacturer contacts and they said, off the record, that they had been stockpiling units for several months. And some of the dealers said the same thing.

Stockpiling? How can they do that?

My guess is the manufacturers deliberately held back customer orders to ensure they had product to display at the show. In doing so, the manufacturers and dealers chose to roll the dice thinking the odds were better filling the sales pipeline with new orders than ship them to customers waiting for their units to arrive. One attendee told me he put down a huge deposit on an RV, had waited 4 months for it already, and was told there have been two price increases due to supply chain issues – and he still does not have a delivery date! Sounds like Vegas odds to me – jeopardize (or sacrifice) one sale to get several more at the show for each unit displayed.

Finally, as I walked the show on Wednesday and the breeze drifted over the rigs, I could distinctively smell the aroma of, I believe, a s’more or something. I asked one of the security guards and he said that when the wind comes from the north over the Hershey plant, sales of the Hershey bars at the event doubles! I can believe that.

Read more from Dave here

Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the “RV Handbook” and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.)

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PaulE
28 days ago

I love the line stating that Price Increases are due to supply shortages. That is so false. As I shop for new travel trailer and see the price increase from the factory going up over $15K on a small 22 foot trailer in less then a year, I cry foul. This is just another way for the RV industry to boost their bottom line. What is just as bad, is the used market which has seen increase that are hard to believe. I see used 2 year old trailers on the market for more then what they sold for new. And this is not a function of supply shortage. At this point I might just drop out of the RV market and wait till things cool down.

Del W
27 days ago
Reply to  PaulE

It is not just the RV industry.It is happening in other areas. Try to buy a new truck for less than MSRP. For that matter to even find a 250 or 350pickup. We are in the clutches of the law of supply and demand. When things are in high demand they will go up, especially if there ARE SHORTAGES. it does matter if the shortages are real or contrived they exist and as long as demand stays high prices will go up.

Bull
28 days ago

Where did the RV units come from at Hershey?

DEALER LOTS!

In my part of the country (Southeast) the RV dealer lots are FULL with new RV’s ready to deliver!

Lot’s of inventory and fewer customers walking thru the door looking to buy a RV.

That’s the word from my General Manager friends a 3 different large RV dealerships in the Southeast. They tell me they are getting more and more calls from customers wanting to SELL their RV than buy an RV.

Has the RV “Bubble” already Burst????

Last edited 28 days ago by Bull
Del W
28 days ago

“My guess is the manufacturers deliberately held back customer orders to ensure they had product to display at the show. In doing so, the manufacturers and dealers chose to roll the dice thinking the odds were better filling the sales pipeline with new orders than ship them to customers waiting for their units to arrive.”

You could be right but It makes more sense they held back dealer stock units than actual customer sold units. But, I may be too benevolent. toward the manufacturers.

mike
28 days ago

I was at the show. Quite a few of them had posters saying they were sold. I don’t know how I would feel having a trailer I owned being used as a demo with hundreds of people moving through it.

Also it was mostly 10x of the same RV at each location. How many identical Sprinter vans does someone need to see?

Chris Kuderka
28 days ago

American citizens need come together and stop consuming! Until then no one can complain about the fleecing of America. We’ll always be slaves to the government , corporations and media!

Toni Calzone
28 days ago

to add fuel to the fire on the hershey show i dropped my rig off at a non dealer shop for annual work where they said they had three trailers purchased at the show brought there by customers to sit there to fix them under warranty and to wait on missing parts. i choose to miss the show this year because of crowds with covid concerns and the question on how they were going to come up with rigs to sell or perish the thought how many rigs were presold earlier but were brought there first

Claudio
28 days ago

So, if we follow the never ending scare and smear tactics of the lying mainstream media , this should have been a super spreader and milions will die in the next few days !

Sink Jaxon
28 days ago
Reply to  Claudio

LOL!

Glenn
28 days ago
Reply to  Claudio

I hope you are enjoying your Kool-Aid. Lol

Dale McBain
28 days ago

Waited 4 months, I coming up on a 6 months wait, so far, for a new Grand Design Momentum!