Thursday, September 21, 2023


Economic prospects for RV industry dimming

The economic health of the RV industry is being viewed more pessimistically in recent months. Stock prospects of big manufacturers and retailer Camping World looked dimmer yesterday (Sept. 3) after Bank of America Merrill Lynch issued a dour assessment of the industry’s prospects after months of decline.

“We lower our RV industry volume on continued sluggishness and the likelihood that demand was inflated over the past 4 years,” reads the BAML sector summary. The firm has lowered its 2020 wholesale shipment forecast to 379K units from 447K units. The retail forecast is clipped to 406K units from 467K units.

It does not think highly of the highly-touted Millennial market. “We believe Millennials are more likely to buy used RVs or even rent RVs rather than owning, given the big-ticket, 100% discretionary nature of the purchase and a greater degree of comfort with the sharing economy,” it warned.

BAML drops its price target on Camping World to $7 from $10 and Thor Industries to $47 from $58. Shares of Camping World are down almost 39% since January, and have fallen around 63% in the past one-year period according to Zacks Investment Research.

Camping World issued a press release yesterday saying that it plans to strategically shift away from locations where it does not have the ability or where it’s not feasible to sell and/or service RVs. Its current plan is to either sell, repurpose, relocate or close approximately 27 to 37 locations, presumably including many of its Gander Outdoors stores, which sell outdoor products but not RVs.

Camping World is currently opening new RV sales locations. It most recently acquired Richards RV Center in Quincy, Mich., and Diamond RV Center in West Hatfield, Mass.

SOURCE: Camping World press release, Zacks and Seeking Alpha.


Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


  1. (Continued from Previous post)
    • Don’t sell me fake “Warranty Forever” plans that force me to return to the dealership ever year for $200 and 3 months of lost camping time just so you can say “yep, everything works right” when I already know that and do my OWN maintenance anyway!
    • Panel trim pieces that continually falls off and has to be glued and remounted.
    • Junk RV Furniture that has to be replaced every 2-3 years because it falls apart.
    • Designing an RV that can’t accept residential style (better quality) furniture because the slide outs are hitting the furniture when you close the slide. Stop protecting your RV Furniture manufacturers! If they can’t build quality furniture, we have to have that option to replace it with something better! Add 2 more inches to the area where the couch sits so I don’t have to have custom furniture made!!
    • Find a better Spare Tire winch that doesn’t fall apart after the first time you have to change a tire!
    • STOP using the cheap THEDFORD toilets that fall apart and leak at the floor seal! Use the Dometic 320!
    • Do a better job on the front cap that is painted! Why do we have to repaint because the paint is so thin!
    • Use better side panels on the slide out so that I don’t have to pay for delamination!
    • Use better electrical connections instead of these cheap plastic clips that heat up and burn apart
    • For others who have gel coat and brand advertising stickers and swirls on the outside, use a better sticker that doesn’t peel up after 3 years in the sun.
    • These are just the problems WE have had in four years…I’m sure many of you have had your own share. Why buy another NEW unit and have to go thru this all over again?
    • And who wants these showers with the built-in seat? I can’t count the number of times I have thought about ripping that shower out to give more room. If a seat is required, use a flip seat or a portable seat that can be removed!
    • Showers with sliding 3-pieces doors that can’t be cleaned in between the overlaps because the tracks are so close together. Why are they not using doors that swing?
    • There are limited to no drawings for anything so that you can repair/rebuild your unit correctly (probably because the manufacturers don’t care how anything is done as long as it is cheap and quick. There is little consistency in the manufacturing process. Take a tour for yourself. We’ve been on several.)

    For us, this is an expensive so-called “Luxury Full-Time, Four-Season” 5th wheel folks. If you cannot work on your own RV (physically, mentally or financially), you may want to reconsider your options. IMHO and at this time, there is no such thing as a quality RV. RV folks are paid piece-meal meaning that they don’t get paid until the part is put on (whether it works or not). Workers are undertrained or not trained at all. There is no Government oversite or regulation. You can start an RV manufacturing plant in your garage (Later you can sell out to one of the 2 manufacturers that make over 88% of all RV’s and get rich). RV Manufacturers (most) don’t care one thing about quality. It’s about profits and shareholders. You’ll be locked in endless blame games between the Manufacturer and Dealership with the RV out of service until you practically have to file a lawsuit to get someone to budge (which is more money). We are considering giving up the RV lifestyle as we have had to practically rebuild the entire RV. If we were not so heavily indebted to it, we would just send it to the RV grave and save someone else the headache. And if you think this is an isolated case, just ask anyone who has an RV. Read the articles published. Watch this website.

  2. We might consider another “used” RV (for weekend use) but never again another new one (at least at the time of this writing).

    We’ve been full-timing for 4 years now and have had nothing but problems from the start:

    • Undersized axles.
    • Undersized tires.
    • Undersized Suspension.
    • Undersized 2” electric brakes on a 17,000 lb rig.
    • Front cap with no insulation.
    • Back cap will insulation falling out the bottom.
    • Foam heat ducting that came apart from the cheap aluminum tape.
    • Furnace ducting that has separated (by inches) causing the air to blow into the belly area and not the main cabin area.
    • The plastic squirrel cage in the furnace that fell apart.
    • Overheating of the main electrical connector body that nearly burned the RV down.
    • Black and Gray tanks sagging causing build up instead of discharging.
    • Fireplace controls that caught fire.
    • Cabinet hinges that constantly fall off.
    • Slide Outs that drag on carpet nails sticking up inside while retracting or extending.
    • Rocker light switches that constantly fail and overheat.
    • Substandard wiring practices that cause a number of wires at connections to fail.
    • Wall Electrical Receptacles that fall out.
    • Left over plastic scraps left in black tank causing it to plug up.
    • A/C Roof mounts that work lose due to the thin plywood they are screwed into causing rain water to come in every 4th or 5th road trip.
    • A/C Supply ducts so long into the duct that air cannot properly flow.
    • Cheap A/C Return grills that fall out of the ceiling because the holes were cut the wrong size and barely are able to stay in the hole with the tiny pin screws used.
    • Cheap Chinese motors used the A/C units that fail every 4-5 years because there is no way to lubricate the sleeve bearings.
    • Such thin walls that the A/C can’t keep up when it is 90 degrees outside or a furnace that can’t keep up because it is 32 degrees outside. At least install a furnace large enough to compensate for the heat loss or install 3 A/C units so that we can cool down when it is above 90 outside
    (some improvements in this area have occurred with some manufacturers who “option” a third unit. But for you, it should be mandatory if you own a rig over 35’. Especially when the rig is 40’ or greater). (If you are fortunate enough to have a rig with 3.5” walls, then there can be problems with the Batt insulation sliding down in the walls as foam board is not typically used. There is a better option out there with a sprayed in product [foam or glue cellulose] but the manufacturers do not and will not use it).
    • Sawdust and left over tape inside furnace ducting representing reduced air flow and a potential fire hazard.
    • Improper furnace duct calculation causing the bedroom to sear from excessive heat versus the living area.
    • Improper A/C ducting that prevents proper air flow.
    • Cheap kitchen faucets that leak everywhere.
    • Improper slide alignments (from day one) that caused water to enter the RV because the slide seals failed to properly seal.
    • TPO roof materials improperly installed causing bubbles and lose materials to fly up during travel down the road.
    • Staples used in the aluminum rounded edges on the roof that back out and puncture the TPO roof materials.
    • No roof curbs on anything on the roof to prevent water entry.
    • Satellite, Cable, TV wiring with so many splices in locations you have no idea about causing lost signals.
    • Ceiling fans mounted so close to the ceiling that there is no air movement at all.
    • Running frames so inferior that they cause stress cracks in the body materials.
    • Cheap baggage locks that can’t lock the areas securely.
    • Pin Boxes that have stress cracks and fail.
    • Drawer guides with such cheap mounting hardware that cause the drawers to fall out.
    • Drawer latches made from cheap plastic that fail every year and have to be replaced.
    • Tank Sensors (Black, Gray, and H2O) that actually work more than one outing or remove them and don’t charge me for them!
    • Why are the manufacturer’s using light colored carpets? Don’t they know we are “camping”? And not putting on museum pieces?
    • Weight stickers installed showing that the dry weight is one thing and when you go and weigh, its another thing (with a lot less carrying capacity that you had planned. They must weigh the RV with absolutely NOTHING installed). I don’t care what it weighs until the Manufacturer is COMPLETELY finished installing EVERYTHING! I want a sticker showing independent tire weights (per side) and independent PIN weights! And a total COMBINED weight! How can anyone properly size the tow vehicle?

    (Continued on next post)

  3. The downturn in RV sales are representative of the entire industry and not only the oft-mentioned retailer–Camping World. I’ve had experiences with several RV dealers–both big and small, and have seen the same selling tactics employed by all of them; exactly the same tactics that are commonplace at automobile dealerships and which are taken for granted by everyone over the age of 18. Unnamed small RV dealers and other unnamed very large RV dealers also do not get a free ride from me either. I understand that the bigger you are, the more arrows you get similar to those cast in the direction of Camping World, Walmart, Amazon, etc. These might be good examples to make a point for the mass’s digestion but they should not be interpreted as exceptions to an otherwise ethical industry. My advice for anyone considering the purchase of a RV is to do your homework and not rule out any dealership–big or small, in your quest for a fair deal. The quality of the manufacturer’s product, the quality of dealership service, the quality and timeliness of warranty work, the cost of repairs, etc. are to be considered also, but are not a subject I’m mentioning here.

  4. Maybe sales have dropped because of the terrible quality coming off the line and/or people are smarter with their money and NOT going into debt for an RV.

    • Poor quality and bad customer service will destroy this industry. When first time buyers feel cheated after shelling out a huge wad of money they will not return for a second dose and will leave the lifestyle. The biggest sellers have concentrated on the “one time skin the buyer” and have not realized that repeat business is where the long time profit is. How many older RVers do you know that are on their third or more rig? The new buyers that have been ripped off won’t be back for a repeat. The hobby is expensive enough without having your rig fall apart or sit on a repair lot for months. If we don’t have some quality builders and service come into the industry it will be like U.S. car manufacturers were when the Japanese entered the market. The difference being that for most people an RV isn’t a necessity like a car is and they can just withdraw from the market. It may already be too late.

    • I agree, the market flood of rv’s is driving up camping prices and crowding rv parks making it more difficult and more stressful finding a decent low cost rv stop without planning a year in advance, We are full timer wanderers and get to rv parks filled with permanent settlers and super inflated prices if a spot is open,

      • For sure. We were 30 & 35 when we started rving in 2010. UNtil about 2013 we could get into any campground anywhere without reservation and never ran into age restrictions. No longer. We are planning on buying some land and building a camp on it and just having our rv for future travel when it has thinned out a bit. Seriously when we want to travel now we rent we dont pull anywhere anymore. its not worth it. Thank god we bought used and mid 2000’s and PIF.


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