What’s wrong with this scene? A couple in the market for a motorhome visits an RV dealer and finds one model that is very close to what they’re looking for. But, they think, “it’s close to what we want but we should do more shopping, look at more models.” So they move on to another dealer where they find another motorhome that looks very similar, but they like it better. So they buy it—two happy campers.
But the fact is, both RVs are identical! Same exact thing! They rolled off the same assembly line, same floor plans, same colors — identical until different decals were slapped on at the end.
The models, the couple recollects, look similar to ones they saw in 2021 when they first started shopping. But weren’t those $136,000? These are $186,000. isn’t that a pretty hefty jump in two years?
The RVs are called the Vita and Porta, identical twins from Winnebago. They cost $50,000 more today than when they did in 2021 (but were later discounted). “They just looked cheap!” one dealer explained. The revamp would improve the perceived value and put the two RVs in competition with the Navion and View, but at a lower price. “Save $26,000 over the View,” one dealer advertised.
So if a customer had sticker shock with the View and Navion, dealers could show them the Vita or the Porta (depending on the model the dealer stocked) to “save them money.”
What has changed for 2023 and what’s the reason for the $50,000 price increase? My guess is most of it is in the Mercedes chassis, which has jumped in price in recent times. Other improvements are more stylized cabinetry, better mattress, and a few other items. But from an MSRP of $136,000 to $186,000 in two years? Come on!
And why two models that are exactly the same? Just like the View and Navion, it’s a marketing technique so Winnebago can offer one line to one dealer and the other to another — more shelf space, which means two times the local exposure without ruffling the feathers of competing dealers.
It’s a lot like the difference between the Ford and Mercury in years past, where the major difference was Ford was marketed to lower- to middle-income buyers while Mercury was pitched to the more affluent.
In the RV world, it’s the View and Navion all over again: a formula that has worked.
Dave Solberg is an author and Certified RV Technician. He developed the RV Dealers Training program for several RV manufacturers, highlighting the features and benefits of almost every RV’s components. He has also researched and developed an RV Buyers Seminar which he presents at RV shows around the country.
Read more from Dave here.
Identical RV’s! I have often suspected the same approach is done with other products like mattresses and others where two competing stores use the same selling tactics as the RV dealers. No proof; just suspect.
Ibex, GeoPro, and NoBo are a lot like this for trailers… they all have very similar floorplans, similar features, they all came from Forest River… only the outer shells look (somewhat) different.
Does anyone have a list of sister models from the same/different company? I’m interested in Class A and Class C models?
I can tell you that the Thor Pasadena and the Thor Inception are the same thing, but for the color schemes. Dealers will stock one or the other.
Yes, I was looking for a specific model that ticked all the ‘must’ boxes. Found out there were at least six of them on the market from the same core manufacturer; the only difference was the name decal and trim color. The only saving grace is they all used the same model number.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, the 1st question out of a new car salesperson on the lot, is “what color are you looking for”? My standard response is if we narrow this down to only the features I am looking for, I’ll consider color between otherwise identical units.
Not all consumers put pigmentation at the top of the list.
Hmm, …. i did not know that Mercury > Ford. I always thought it went Mercury < Ford < Lincoln. 😎
I like blue, you like red. They can coexist.
Blue + Red = PURPLE!!! I’ll buy it!!! 😀
Nomad, Aljo, and Layton were all the same trailers sold at different dealers when we were looking for our first RV back in the late 90s. A dealer even told us that, probably to keep us on HIS lot and not cruising other dealers. We ended up buying a Nash . . .