By Chuck Woodbury
I received this news release today from Thor. In this one release is proof positive that recreation vehicles have branched off from “camping vehicles” as surely as humans one day branched off from other primates.
Whatever these wheeled things are that Thor boasts about below, they are not “recreation” vehicles. What they are describing here are all things you would normally want in a home — that is if you were a rich, techie-type person who wanted the latest and greatest of everything even if you didn’t need them.
The creations they’re building that they call “recreation vehicles” are simply homes built on foundations of steel and wheels instead of concrete or wood like non-movable homes. The RV makers will sell these to as many people who will buy them, fully aware that the more complicated they make them, the harder it will be for buyers to get them fixed when they break down, as they surely will.
In this release, Thor proclaims that this is the year of “innovative technology.” You can read below what that means. But to me, what it means is the company’s sales and design people have sat around a few big tables the past year and asked each other, “How can we trick out our RVs to make them cooler than other guys’, so people who love gadgets will want to buy them because they are so wonderful?”
Here’s the first paragraph of the release (I will be back after that):
ELKHART, IND. – Thor Motor Coach® (TMC) is calling 2018 the year of innovative technology. Many of the new motorhomes being unveiled at Thor Industries Ninth Annual Dealer Open House feature Wi-Fi hot spots, solar charging, and app-enabled multiplex wiring systems. These high-tech features will be showcased to more than 500 dealers from around the world, September 24, 2018 through September 27, 2018.
I just love the new “app-enabled multiplex wiring systems.” That will be just perfect for when I’m out by the campfire, cooking up s’mores, telling ghost stories and singing campfire songs.
And it gets better:
The all-new Tuscany® 45JA features a walk-in closet, dual fireplaces, a double sink vanity bathroom, and a large, elegant living space in TMC’s most luxurious diesel pusher. Technology keeps the Tuscany ahead of the curve with its Winegard® ConnecT 4G/Wi-Fi System, 200-watt solar charging, Firefly® multiplex, and Surgeguard® power protection systems.
Damn, how did I ever camp without all these things? I mean, dual fireplaces? Please, somebody, tell me why I need two fake fireplaces! But, oh, I am so thrilled that I can own an RV with a double sink vanity bathroom. I will be so happy there putting on my makeup (oh, wait, I don’t wear makeup).
There’s more . . .
A new Windsport® and Hurricane® 33X are sure to stand out in the gas Class A motorhome market. The 33X is one of many 2019 lines featuring the multiplex wiring system. Simply put, a full-color touchscreen or mobile device can control the generator start, slide rooms, air conditioning and more. All Hurricane and Windsport models now include a large 10” dash radio screen.
Yeah, and when you are in rural Kansas or west Texas or someplace 200 miles from the nearest RV tech — likely a guy making $12 an hour because it pays better than a busboy job at Betty’s Cafe, it will be lots of fun watching him figure out how to repair your stuck slideout room that’s controlled by a mobile device. “Can I just turn a wrench?” I simply love the idea that with this new RV I will have a “full-color touchscreen or mobile device” that can start my generator. Golly, that’s a huge improvement over my current antiquated, labor-intensive system where I’m forced to push a button.
And more. . .
Customers will also love the new Sprinter line-up, namely the Siesta®, Citation® and Synergy®. For the first time, TMC will offer the 24MB floor plan with an electronic controlled Murphy bed and increased living area to encourage longer getaways with the family.
An electronic controlled Murphy bed? Why can’t you just walk up to it, release a hinge and pull it down? Is that such a big deal? Really? And Thor, I assume you’ll charge me an extra thousand bucks so I can push a button rather than simply pull a lever! Am I right? That’s crazy!
But wait! There’s more. Here is why all of this is important:
Jon Krider, Vice President of Product Development, at Thor Motor Coach says, “We’re always striving to mirror trends in the marketplace. People want the same technology they have at home on the road and they want tech that makes their lives easier.”
So it’s all about replicating the comforts of a regular home into one that moves, so our lives can be easier. Camping? That’s not a word that has any relationship to what this rolling home is. And do you know where 95 percent of the people who buy all these RVs with electric-powered gizmos and gadgets will stay? That’s right — in already crowded RV parks, where they can enjoy spectacular views of their next door neighbor smoking a cigar in his lawn chair watching Ice Road Truckers on his fifty-inch, high definition, 4k-enabled outdoor TV with its “vibrate your internal organs” Dolby speaker system.
Every year, RVs get more complicated. Every year it’s harder to find a qualified technician to fix them. Read our Facebook group RV Horror Stories to see why all these extras have little to do with recreation, and everything to do with RV makers having no clue anymore what they are building except instinctively knowing they have to come up with some new gadget, gizmo or other cool thing that they can then boast makes RVing better, more wonderful, so more people will buy them.
I say that these vehicles are no more “recreation” vehicles than you and I are Chimps.