Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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Would you rather factory order your next RV?

Remember when your dad wanted to buy a brand-new car? Your parents would go to a dealership, pore over brochures and then “factory order” the exact car with the right features in the color they wanted. Then, they’d wait a few months for it to come from the factory.

Manufacturers are now hoping that Americans will return to the old way of buying vehicles. Major auto companies like Ford are trying a “build-to-order” system for its new Mustang Mach-e. Ford is also ready to offer a $1,000 discount to customers who pre-order any of its other vehicles. By building to order, manufacturers would get around the need to overload dealer lots with cookie-cutter models and standard features that aren’t what customers really want (or are really willing to pay more for).

Could the build-to-order system work better for RVers?

It doesn’t take much imagination to see that what works for car and truck manufacturers might work even better for RV makers, who are faced with producing a dizzying array of options and unique finishes. It’s tough to mass-produce anything that has so many different looks.

Vehicle makers are closely analyzing buyers’ tolerance for “delayed customer order delivery” during the pandemic. Right now, RV buyers have little choice but to sit and wait for something to show up on dealer lots. Many are going through dealers to pre-order their rigs and wait months for their vehicles to arrive.

If manufacturers determine that the public is willing to wait for what they really want, it could turn the dealer-lot-model of purchasing a vehicle or an RV on its ear.

Would you do it?

There are certainly some benefits. RV dealers wouldn’t have to take out huge loans and have insurance policies to cover inventory sitting idle on their lots. Manufacturers would be able to charge more for “custom features” and provide a more upscale final product for those willing to pay for it.

Since there are a lot of RV buyers who have already plunked down their deposits and are waiting months for their rig to arrive, now is likely a perfect time to figure out if customers are willing to wait to get exactly what they want.

What do you think?

Related:

REV Group, another large RV manufacturer with multi-billion-dollar backlog

##RVT1034

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Lyle Latvala
8 days ago

Have we forgotten the current quality of RVs being produced in Elkhart and around the country? Who in their right mind would want to order a new, overpriced RV with lousy quality that the first owner has to either fix or have fixed? From discussions around campground, it doesn’t matter if it’s a cheap Thor or an expensive Tiffin or Newmar … quality has gone downhill. Why buy new?

Gregg G.
8 days ago

Factory ordered our TV (Ram 1500 Larime ED) and our TT (inTech Sol Horizon). In both cases we got exactly what we wanted and a good deal, just had to be patient… Both took about 2-3 months to receive after ordering.

Tony Barthel(@tony)
9 days ago

I would much, much rather be able to go on a website and custom-tailor an RV but first the RV manufacturers will have to get websites that aren’t out of the 1990s.

Some companies like Rockwood/Flagstaff have a good number of options/choices and we used to sit with customers and custom-build trailers to their specifications. But our dealership would guarantee a price and the rig would come in and the customer would be thrilled.

However, this was a few years ago before price increases were so frequent.

Richard Petrein
9 days ago

We did that. Ordered from factory in September 2020 Jayco. Was delivered in December. Not a whole lot but additional ac, solar, dinnete configuration etc. Then dealer did a lot. Very pleased with unit Eagle HT 25.5 reok. Unfortunately built during covid and a lot of electrical issues that took a year to solve. Hopefully done. Be at Quartzsite for another boondocking checkout. See ya there…will look for booth.

Michael R Hale
10 days ago

I know it’s a small thing, but one “pores” over catalogues, not “pours” over (which is spilling liquid.

Last edited 10 days ago by Michael R Hale
Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
10 days ago
Reply to  Michael R Hale

Thanks, Michael. It may be small to most people, but it’s a big thing to me – especially since I missed it! It’s been corrected. Thank you!! Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane

Ken
9 days ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Diane…you were correct. I used to spell-check and grammer-check papers for Masters-level students. “Pour” is the correct usage for “…pouring over all those papers” for correctness. Even grammer-checking software gets corrections wrong.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
9 days ago
Reply to  Ken

Hmmm. Well, I’ve been trying to find “pour over” as being acceptable rather than “pore over” but can’t find anything to back that up, at least in a quick search. But thanks for your support, Ken. I appreciate it. Now I have to get back to work and see how many more mistakes I can make. 😆 Have a great day. 🙂 –Diane

Ken
9 days ago
Reply to  Michael R Hale

Michael…a “pore” is in the skin of your body. “Pour” was the correct usage, as in pouring a liquid would be similar to pouring yourself over material you are reading.

Steve
7 days ago
Reply to  Ken

Michael is right. If you check an actual dictionary, pore is a minute opening in the skin. It also means “to look with steady attention; to read or examine with perseverance”. “Pour” is to flow or issue forth in a stream; to let floe out or in.

Bob Weinfurt
10 days ago

Even if I could afford to buy new, I’d rather buy an older one and fix it up myself. Did that 7 years ago for $300 and still enjoying it.

Maggie Rose
10 days ago

We actually tried to do just that about 8 years ago. Sat down with the dealership & in a conference call with the manufacturer to work out what was feasible.
Several months went by, our new RV arrived – big disappointment. It looked like a leftover stock model that they halfway tried to match up with our actual order. Not only that, but it had to be sent back to the factory for repairs on things that weren’t properly assembled. More weeks of waiting to get it back again.
Finally we were able to get back to camping. Several weekends later, hubby was on the roof planning to install some vent covers & noticed that the roof was wrinkled. The factory offered to “fix” it by restretching it, but absolutely refused to repair it to hubby’s satisfaction! Since hubby has decades of commercial roofing experience, he was aware of exactly what it would take to properly repair it.
Expensive & thoroughly disappointing experience. Buyer beware indeed!

Bob M
10 days ago

While it might be nice, I’d like to see a model of what I’m interested in. It would only be nice if you have a choice of appliances, brand a/c, additional equipment. and additional options. Plus if the quality isn’t up to par. Would they refund your deposit?

Jeff Craig
10 days ago

I like the idea of doing that, but IMHO there are significant savings to buying a ‘leftover’ unit that has all the main requirements, (floorplans, gear, colors, interior) that we need.

Michael Ferry
10 days ago

I ordered My Sunset Park Sun Ray to my specifications. This independent builder adjusted the cabinets and other special items for me. It really brought the special order feel to my RV.

John Koenig
10 days ago

ONLY if I could be GUARANTEED a HIGH QUALITY build; something that MOST RV builders are loathe to do (push it out the door seems to be builder’s SOP). I think “Fuller’s” idea of a builder taking back on trade, an RV THEY built is great. That would “up” the incentive for builders to make Quality Control MUCH more important than it currently is knowing that they might have to take back an RV that they built

Linda
10 days ago

We have factory-ordered two trucks and our current 5th wheel. Highly recommend it! You get what you want, and the dealer often throws in freebies!

L Fuller
10 days ago

An attractive option would be if the factory accepted same brand trade-ins and let the original owner absorb the depreciation. The “factory certified” used units with a reasonable (meaning short) used warranty period would attract buyers like me that only buy used. Imagine traveling to the “preowned” lot at the factory and driving away with a used RV of the brand you want.

One other possible advantage to the manufacturer is that they could see how their product performs in real world use by inspecting the trade-ins. This presumes of course that their quality over time performance is important to them. I predict that very few manufacturers would take advantage of this unless RV buyers begin to demand long term quality be built into the products.

John Koenig
10 days ago
Reply to  L Fuller

This is s GREAT idea!

Karel
10 days ago
Reply to  L Fuller

Great idea. I hope the manufacturers see this.

Vincee
10 days ago

AT one I had read the best deal to get on any car/truck purchase was to order one. By doing so the dealer wasn’t paying any floor costs or additional fees to inventory a lot full of vehicles to choose from. By special ordering, the vehicle was in and out of the dealer fast. No flooring costs. I don’t think the RV industry would work this way for one, and with the industry’s terrible record on delivery times and quality, I don’t see where the consumer would benefit. The premise of custom ordered for your needs and likes is great and I would support but unfortunately, I don’t think the RV manufacturing industry is up to the task.

Mike Albert
10 days ago

What would happen if you ordered the RV and when delivered, your punch list had items that lacked quality construction? Would you be obligated to purchase and take delivery when it arrived. Just because you can order select options, doesn’t mean the final product is quality. It is still coming out of manufacturers that are producing current RVs with numerous flaws. Until the RV Industry meets the same requirements that the automotive indystry does, consumers will be burdened with sub par RVs.

Diane Mc
10 days ago

I chose we would be interested in factory ordering. Because we would…if we were going to order a new motorhome. We did factory order our current..and last motorhome….2002 Newmar Dutchstar. We loved the Dutchstar model we saw on the dealer lot. However, it had beige carpeting (who’s idea was that) & was lacking a few things. We were so glad we decided to order, because there were things on the list we had no idea about. Like dual-paned windows. The best option ever. We also ordered real wood cabinets, that 20 years later look like the day we took delivery. We did dark grey carpeting & black leather J-lounge with pull out storage. 5 years ago replaced the carpeting w/flooring but the J-Lounge is still there and in excellent shape. Replaced the fabric sofa with another black leather sofa. Leather so much easier to take care of in a motorhome. There were other things, but those stick out as main ones.

Bruce
10 days ago

I have always ordered my cars and trucks from the factory the way I wanted them. Only once have I purchased off the lot. I will say that I am planning on ordering our next camper the way that I want it but for now it will have to be done through a dealer. Seeing the sad state these new and expensive rigs arrive in is just sad. Even brands that held a high standard seem to have succumbed to the “slap it together as fast as possible” mentality. I wish you could do a factory pick up/delivery as well. Then, if there were major issues, you would be in the proper place to get it taken care of.

John
10 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

We tried to order us a 2019 ford escape titanium, but we wanted it with fabric seats (instead of leather) and a different blue, was in use at the time on Ford Ecosport. We were told we could not get it that way. So you are stuck with combos some nerdy geek working in the design department chooses.

Joe
10 days ago

Knowing that I will pay more I definitely would like to order an RV to my specific needs and wants. The last 2 motorhomes that I purchased new were close to what I wanted however I spent $$ to get them to where I wanted them. So with that in mind would a specific build be that much more? Dealerships are just a point to purchase an RV and cannot be depended on for reliable, quality, and reasonable cost for repairs. When we had warranty issues with our current MH we took it back to the factory once (even though it was a two day drive) and once to an independent repair facility. Both times repairs were made on schedule and correctly. So from my point of view I would relish the thought of bypassing the dealerships with their hard sells and promises never kept!

Lee Ann
10 days ago

We have a 2017 Ambition that we ordered directly from the factory (then Augusta and now called Luxe) and could customize however we wanted. Luxe makes fifth wheels for the full-time lifestyle. Not only can you customize the paint job, you can also purchase a tow truck from them and have it painted to match. Luxe also has their own service center next door to the factory which we go to yearly for maintenance and repairs. How much your rv costs beyond the base price is up to you and how much you customize so you are in control of the price. Luxe not only honors their warranty, they will assist you whenever you need help or have a question. We couldn’t be happier with our purchase. Our Ambition was our very first rv and will probably be our only rv as we continue to down the road.

Robert W Martin
10 days ago

I saw Factory Ordering benefited the RV MFG and the Dealer, but how does this help the consumer?
Lower prices?
What would be the savings to cut out the middle man? 20%, 25%, 30%??