Desperation sale at Camping World?


Friday evening, August 30

By Chuck Woodbury
Camping World is promoting a super down payment deal now through Labor Day on its website and in emails to customers. On certain RVs a buyer can purchase an RV with a down payment of 99 cents, or at least that’s the come-on.

At we advise would-be buyers to put at least 20 percent down, as the moment the RV rolls off the lot it will depreciate by at least that amount, probably more.

Camping World is on the ropes, according to some industry insiders. Its stock closed Friday at $7.60 a share, very close to an all-time low. It had been as high as $23.60 in the last 52 weeks.

This sale looks like a move of desperation to me. Just earlier today, Reuters reported that U.S. RV shipments are now expected to be far worse in 2019 than the RV industry has been saying, off more than 17 percent from last year. Industry analyst Richard Curtin expects shipments to continue to drop. He projects they will decline 3.5% next year to 387,400 units. Until recently, the RV industry was booming. It shipped 504,600 units, a record, in 2017.

Camping World accounted for 20 percent of RV maker Thor’s annual sales last year. Thor manufactures nearly half the RVs made in America.

Related article from Reuters.

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If they were truly desperate they would adopt better customer care. Try not robbing the customers, rolling them off the lot already in the hole, CW! Try honoring your warranties and not doing shoddy repair work! How about ditch Thor, makers of junk and I don’t know, try HONESTY as a business model. No!? Well then, good riddance!


Trump supporters, please read this:

What’s True:

Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis said that consumers who “are in favor of what has been said” about the Charlottesville protests should not shop at his stores.

What’s False:

Lemonis did not say that anyone who supports President Trump should not shop at Camping World.

I think the failure of camping world has to do more with the negative customer reviews on service and the products they sell. Once that ball started to roll, they lost plenty of customers. People read reviews before they give their money to a business. Especially for something as expensive as an RV.


I have read most of the comments regarding the decline in sales, and many are good points. And as noted below, I think the change in demographics is part of the issue, but I worked in the biking industry. We made the high end mountain bikes by the thousands. And then the market started to saturate. Think how many bike / cycling shops used to be around. Nowhere near as many now. I think the RV market is becoming saturated and sales will continue to slow. Have to watch to see if my theory is correct, but it seems to be falling similar trends.


They haven an interesting sales model which, as a sales person, I do not understand at all. While traveling I stopped in at a Camping world store that I stop at when passing by to pick up a thing or two. A couple, that going by the way they dress, could well afford an RV. They asked if they could just browse the RV’s without sitting down for a half hour and filling out forms. They were told no and given the reason they just needed a few pieces of information. They turned around and left. I understand having to document your time as a sales person. But apparently their sales manager would rather have them document their time sitting on their asses than to just go sure let me get the keys and let you in. Maybe it doesn’t end up in a lead, but I guarantee the other way will definitely not get them a lead. At a show they just park them and left folks wander around. Don’t hire starving sales people that high pressure folks and I would bet your sales would increase.


Here we go again with Chuck’s obsession…..


CW sales dumping has NOTH(ING to do with the CEO’s thoughts about TRUMP but has to do with poor customer service, poor manufacturers that they sell, like they only sell THOR products and most of the manufacturers that THOR owns are well thought of or build strong RVs. LOTS of complaints of Keystone , Jayco,Air Stream and so many more like Cross Roads and all seem to have LOTS of complaints of doors falling off , slide outs coming out unexpectedly, water leaks and I could go on and the dealers(CW) and manufacturer (CW) are poor at fixing. CW knew of these problems and did NOTHING!! Marcus Lemonis is driving this business into the ground, he seems to be able to help other businesses better than his own. CW bought Gander and they are renaming some facilities as Gander, I am thinking, so customers do not know they are Camping World. HOPE it goes down in flames. I personally would not buy anything from them like a RV. IF I cannot find an item in Walmart or other RV stores I will go to CW to see if they have it but as last resort. I have friends looking at RVs to buy and have given them my opinion.


Then there’s the influence of the Milennals who’re becoming nomads. They’re very budget and eco-minded, and don’t want big TT, FW,or other larger RV’s. Many if not most like vans (even cars,) and a lot are doing their own conversions,or at most, restoring small classic TT’s. The older Boomers are beginning to get off the road as they age. The industry needs to pay attention to the demographic shift going on and adapt. If they fail, it’ll be to their own demise.

Rory R

In reading through the posted comments, I see that some folks still look at an RV as a financial investment. A financial investment it is not. It is an investment in life. It should be purchased with discretionary funds, not funds you have set aside for retirement or investments. Anything on wheels will depreciate, some vehicles at an alarming rate. So please don’t “invest” in an RV. Purchase one if you wish, but don’t expect it to be a “nest egg”, and it makes no difference if it is new or Used……. I have stated this before and I’ll do it again, I have been RV’ing for 10 years, got a late start (64 yrs old when I started), I have owned 3, a used Class C gasser, a used class A gasser and a new class A DP. Loved them all, would I do it again, hell yeah. They have afforded my family and I so many great memories and fun too. Were there problems and expenses, yes there were. But for me the great times outweighed the bad,. I’m looking forward to another 10 yrs, and 10 more after that If I can physically handle it. I’m prepared to make changes to my traveling style when and if it starts to take a physical toll or I don’t feel safe doing it…..

Larry Engles

Maybe the high price of RV’S and the shoddy workmanship is catching up. Rule One. If you are not a handyman DON’T BUY AN RV.
RULE 2 : Don’t Buy An RV
Maybe a year or two of no sales,
Mfg’s like Thor will take the hint.


The rv industry always seems to measure their “sales” by how many units are “produced”. Of course that is phony and that is why you see so many unsold RV’s sitting on dealers lots. Sure the manufacturers “sold” a lot to the dealers, but the market of consumer sales is down because people just don’t have the income to spend on discretionary purchase of an rv.


CW aside, why can’t we have something in the RV repair industry which follows the car repair model of having something like AAA approval or anything that might offer the consumer a modicum of confidence in their reputation?
Further, in my state and likely in at least some others, motor vehicle repair garages are state licensed and ultimately have to answer to the state government when things truly go south for the consumer. And aren’t RVs motor vehicles just the same as a Ford car or a Hyundai SUV ? I can’t say whether or not those laws would or should extend to appliances and other “camping” equipment, but even without that it would at least be a step in the right direction.


I read more complaints about camping world than the airlines that’s bad. I went to the camping world in Ringgold Ga a few years back to buy a travel trailer and the sales people were arrogant, and rude. Got online and noticed all the terrible reviews glad I didn’t buy there. Also him talking crap about Trump and Trump supporters is stupid. Makes you believe in kharma.


Is this the same CEO who said I didn’t need any people who support president Trump to come here. sounds like it bit him in the a**.


Poor resale Rv don’t hold there value anymore and ce doesn’t want give anything for your used .I have a 2018 5th wheel and trade it in for something else. In 2 years it lost 12 000in value so why would I in vest in another new one

Del W

While Camping World may be in some trouble, the sale is just that. A typical come-on type of advertising. They get you in the door with a ridiculous offer then pile it on. They won’t lose anything on this type of sale. The financial institutions are the ones on the hook and if the loans go sour, Camping World won’t feel a thing. They will move inventory and I would bet it will be a great success for them. Not so much for the unwary consumer.


The president of Camping World has indicated that he is very much against Donald Trump, agitating the senior population that spends a lot on RVing. Putting politics aside for a moment when something goes wrong with a purchase from Camping World the opinion of Marcus comes to mind. He should keep his political opinions to himself and not jeopardize his employees.

Mr Disaster

“On the ropes” maybe (okay probably) but many retailers unload their “old” (new) inventory at the end of the season. It appears CW is trying to “re-brand” themselves. CW will sell rigs and Gander will sell stuff. The transition is always to the new model is the difficult period. While none of the “normal indicators” reflect the continuing viability of CW in any form it will be interesting to watch through the winter and into the spring. If they fail and close there will be a huge hole in our ability to buy RV stuff in person as well as reductions in the ability to get repairs done (assuming CW can overcome its reputation and hire enough RV techs).

M. Mark

Poor customer service always catches up!


We took an RV road trip from our home in Spring Hill, FL to Warsaw, NC earlier this month. Along the way, at Camping World and MANY other RV Dealers, we must have seen thousands of units, all type, on these lots for sale. I don’t see how they can stay in business. I really don’t think they are moving that many units overall. Each dealer we saw had rows and rows, probably several hundred on each lot. I imagine it is good to have some inventory on hand, so when someone wants to buy, they can take delivery immediately. But I can’t imagine having such a huge inventory is good for business.