Tuesday, September 26, 2023


RV dealers say steady price increases from manufacturers make it difficult to lock in final costs for buyers

EDITOR’S NOTE: RVtravel.com is regularly invited to participate in nationwide conference calls with large RV dealers and others involved in the sales and servicing of RVs. We won’t be directly naming those on the call, nor the dealerships involved. While the situation is unusual, we feel the value of the candid comments and information that we can share with you outweighs the lack of the usual attribution. This time, you’ll just have to trust us that the quotes come from trusted, vetted sources.

RV dealers across the U.S. aren’t happy with a rapid series of RV price increases they’ve received from major RV manufacturers.

“Price increases seem a little out of control,” said one East Coast dealer during an industry-wide conference call this week. “For the year, the price increases have been close to 20 percent overall.”

Dealers said THOR Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreation vehicles, seems to be the major culprit in running up prices, but they aren’t alone. “THOR is definitely higher than everyone else,” the dealer said.

Why the price increases?

What makes the price hikes particularly onerous to RV dealers is that the huge backlogs and delays in manufacturing sold units at all RV plants have extended the time from order to delivery to up to eight months or more. If a dealer “locked in” the price with a buyer at the time of the order, each price increase along the way erodes the dealer’s profit margin.

“I’m seeing 30 percent increases in pricing on certain products,” said another dealer on the conference call. “I can no longer lock in prices for consumers when they order. I can’t tell them what the unit they want will eventually cost.”

The dealer said he suspects some of the cost increases from factories are being driven by the price-gouging that manufacturers are seeing from their own parts suppliers. “The manufacturers are making it up by sending out price increases monthly or sometimes even twice a month.”

What about shipping costs?

One Oregon dealer said he’s also getting “hammered” on shipping costs for RVs, which he said have increased more than $6,000 per unit in recent months. “Price increases are going through the roof, and manufacturers haven’t offered us any price protections for the last seven months.”

He said that, so far, his company has not passed the unit price increase or the shipping costs along to the consumer. That policy sometimes leaves his firm selling new RVs at a loss. “We don’t feel we can pass the costs on to buyers because we just can’t document why they are increasing the prices,” he said.

For now, manufacturers and most dealers are getting away with price increases since the demand for new RV units remains at record highs.

One dealer said he’s concerned the high demand will begin to wane as customers tire of waiting “long term” for their units to arrive from the factories. “The demand curve will eventually soften,” he said. “At that point, we’ll likely see that we’ve priced some people out of the market.”

Read also: “Pathetic quality”: RV dealers are fed up with what manufacturers are producing

COMING NEXT SUNDAY: Roadside assistance companies stretched thin by huge growth in RVers and lack of available service centers


Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.


  1. Pretty pissed really. I have been saving for an RV and now this price gouging! There is no other reason for it to be +40% Total BS. I look forward to seeing companies pay for their greed and arrogance but it’s unlikely and will just leave an angry consumer base.
    Supply demand CRAP! you get paid just like you were before with more orders. Doesn’t mean you decide GREED and increase the price. (not like you increased quality that is a bet!)
    Not to mention you have people relisting USED ones for original sticker prices! {bleeped}! It’s not made of gasoline. It’s already built; f’n greed. It didn’t magically become new or grow.
    So sick of GREED!

  2. Let the customerknow exactly what they will be expecting from these manufacturers and quality. Dealers should get together and demand a guaranteed contract that the RV manufacturer holds responsiblity for the cost of parts and labor due to the poor quality. Do away with this whole older RV’s and trailer’s aren’t allowed in campgrounds because they’re old and unsafe bull-sh*t. I’d put an older RV up against any new one and see which ones have the most problems. I’m pretty sure most of y’all know the outcome of the winner. There’s a reason why so many old RV’s and trailers are still around. I’d say maybe make an honest safety inspection and a propane leak down test and slap an inspection sticker on it and send it on its travels. Dealers would regain their money doing proper repairs on older units than knowing you’re trying to sell a new overpriced peace of sh*t. Personally I couldn’t bring myself to scr*wing people like that

  3. Dealers! Hey what about the customer? During my first 2 years I had our fiver 7 useable months. I feel so sorry for the dealers. One even said “If you take it off our lot you will lose your place in line.” It was at least 2 weeks before they would have the part, but they didn’t want to wait on me to bring in the trailer.

  4. charging more to dealers to pay unskilled workers way more money then they deserve to try to keep bodies on the floor working will not work out long term. It’s so disrespectful how people walk through the door these days with McDonald’s work ethic and demand to be paid what everyone makes. And if you hurt their feelings you are wrong, and you dare not say anything for fear they will literally cry to corporate. Gone are the days of the value and respect that came with your work ethic and quality. Why keep your great employees who know what they are doing when you can replace them with 7 others to do that job, slower, and not nearly as durable so long as your shoving crap out the door. And these people know that they can act poorly, do a crappy job, show up when they want and if you as a boss don’t like it they can just go down the road. It’s disappointing that higher ups in this industry only care about numbers and not what is actually being built. It’s discouraging when you have

    • Immense pride not only in the industry but what you bring to the table and see the blatant disrespect that the newer generation brings to the table. When your tone when speaking to someone is the problem and not the others lack of skills or overall behavior gets overlooked it’s just not how it should be. I was reprimanded for pointing out(and only pointed this out after the other person was asked to perform their job and felt disrespected, til then I had just picked up their major slack in order to see them less) that this girl seriously walked around with a snack pack and was so excited that the hammer hook on her belt could hold her water bottle. Then I said forget picking up extra for you, go ahead and stay off the phone; you don’t get paid to spend 7 hours of the day fighting with your significant other. This same girl after a few days had demanded to know when she would make the money I make. I simply asked can you do what I can? No, then you don’t deserve to be paid what I make. Can you do the job without me holding your hand, again, no. At some point the handholding and coddling needs to end and plant managers need to have their skilled workers backs when faced with corporate. Maybe then not only will upper management get back the commanded respect that used to come with the role but so would staying loyal to a company and morale as a whole.

  5. Prices are going up not because of gouging. Prices are going up due to steel… a major part of an rv. Steel has tripled in price over the last year. From about .35/pound to over 1.00/pound over the last year

  6. makes me want to build my own RV rather than buying into a brand, giving me creative control rather than the same old thing being pumped out the factory…

    • Great plan for flooring and other things easy to find in normal channels. But any RV-specific kind of part, you are then the one waiting months for parts you need, and you will not be at the front of the line. Maybe we will see a rise in pick-a-part junkyards for RVs, lol!

  7. Why blame the RV industry? It’s us, poor quality products have been around since the beginning of time. What reduces or eliminates it, the consumer… which for many years, even more so over the past few, don’t seem to care… or at least not care enough to vote with their feet / pocketbook.

    It’s always easier to point the finger at someone else. Don’t blame the RV industry, blame Congress (we vote them in!) for allowing roadblocks stifling foreign competition (think autos and how crappy US built cars until Japan and South Korea showed up and Americans purchased their autos! — America was forced to improved its game). Think how much better and lower cost duallys would be with foreign competition (can’t due to $25K tariffs!) — not to mention quality!! While uncomfortable, all we have to do is look in the mirror and the enemy is… yep, us!

  8. “That policy sometimes leaves his firm selling new RVs at a loss.”.
    I’m sorry but this is complete BS. Nobody sells anything at a loss, especially RV’s.

    • That’s the problem, manufacturers know most of their units are being snatched up by newbies who know nothing about what to look for in quality. Unscrupulous dealers are the same way. The pendulum always swings the opposite way eventually, sooner or later dealers and manufacturers will pay the piper. Experienced buyers aren’t buying this crap unless they’re forced to through unforeseen circumstances.

  9. This RV demand is going to crumble at some point and the industry is going to reel, with inflation on the march, opportunistic suppliers gouging and the manufacturers themselves jacking up prices because they can there is going to be blow-back with junk units sitting on lots dealers won’t be able to get rid of. It’s happened before and it will happen again, just wait…

  10. None of the price increases have anything to do with increasing the value of the RV, meaning even more drop in value of the RV the moment it’s driven off the dealer lot. Coupled with poor quality and upside down loans – seems like ugly future to me.


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