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?