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The Covid Induced RV Industry


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I get a lot of RV industry trade publications. Some are available to the public and others are for companies in the RV Industry. I also talk to RV dealers a great deal so I get a lot of information fed to me in regards to what current trends are.  We also have close relationships with many of our customers who share their buying habits with us. With that said this is an accumulation of what I am seeing and hearing from a multitude of sources.

Early during the pandemic, downward pressures were seen on used diesel coaches. Dealer auction prices dropped significantly ( where dealers sell and buy used coaches ) The price drop since then has reversed and used coach prices are now coming back. Sales of new diesels remains down. Towables is where all the upward trends in the industry is coming from with sales numbers ramping upward. Many new units are sold before they even reach the dealer. I have had dealers report to me that their inventory is getting hit hard. With the closing of many manufacturing plants inventory dwindled and this caused some big price discrepancies across dealer lots. This caused discounts to be smaller on towables. Also helping to boost new RV sales is the low interest rates.

On the used market, prices on towables have dropped like a rock. In the towable market people are buying new and not used because of interest rates and pricing. While prices on Diesel coaches have flattened and in some instances gone up, there are still some amazing deals. I have seen 2 of our customers make insane buy's recently directly from dealers on coaches that were on the back lot waiting to be processed and placed on the sales lot.  Both of them told me they took their time and snooped for a used coach that wasn't listed on internet sites such as RV Trader but rather looked in for a coach in non traditional ways . One customer bought an 04  40 ft diplomat for $ 26 K. Another bought a 2008 45 ft Sig that looked like it was brand new for $ 90 K.  My son is in the process of buying an 05 Windsor that is in pristine condition and has had thousands of dollars worth of upgrades including tires, batteries, stainless exhaust, interior upgrades, etc.. - $ 50 K. I just missed the sale of a 2001 Prevost H3-45 in great condition with 75 K miles which had new tires, batteries and came with  full service records - $ 124 K. In other words these prices reflect wholesale/auction price values.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say the prices for used diesel coaches will hold at current levels. There is a new mind set taking hold due to Covid among consumers and that is vacations  that included cruises, air travel and hotels are giving way to people who now want RV's to vacation with all in an effort to control their living environment. Also, people who currently own RV's, especially those with diesel pushers are holding on to them, upgrading them and will now use them more.

For those looking to buy a used coach my advice is to take your time and look for a great deal in non traditional places. They are out there and if you are patient you can score an amazing deal. If you are looking for a luxury coach now is a great time as I have been monitoring luxury bus sales and there are some awesome deals on older used Prevosts, Foretravels and Newells.  

Here is just one of many articles I have been seeing lately in trade publications.

https://rv-pro.com/news/rvs-spike-popularity-due-covid-19?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20200622 RVP ENEWS (1)&utm_content=&spMailingID=23431038&spUserID=NjE3MjYxMTUxOTYzS0&spJobID=1761262618&spReportId=MTc2MTI2MjYxOAS2

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Yeah, this hurts me in one way but works out in another. We just listed our RV on RVTrader, but I'm afraid we might not get what we want for it. I may have to drastically reduce the price, and your post here is much appreciated and timely because I am going to send this to my wife to discuss. Mine has significant upgrades, such as my HWH ActiveAir.

On the other hand, two years ago we looked at a travel trailer, but walked on it due to price and what they offered us on trade.  You are right, the used market is WAY down on travel trailers, and we were able to find a practically brand new exact TT model we wanted for HALF PRICE. 

So for now, yeah we must like camping because we own two RVs. 

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Chris,

Thank you for the insight of current industry trends. I purchased an ‘02 Holiday Rambler a few months ago, my dream coach, older than I would have liked, but absolutely pristine!!! 2 owner, climate controlled storage 8 months a year, 50k miles, little to no surface rust, never seen northern states in winter,  8” thick file of every service ever done, etc. I was extremely fortunate to find her!!!

This was a blessing for sure. I spent a week looking at garbage coaches on the upper end of ridiculous price spectrum... Roof leaks on every single one, some were trashed, and worth half of asking. $79k for a $15k coach... it was bad. Then I found this On the last day, when I was about to give up. 
 

The market had bottomed out at that time, so we were super fortunate to find such a clean coach at that price. One other benefit was being able to pay with cash. I asked the couple why it hadn’t sold, the response was “it’s too old of a coach and no one would finance it, no one has cash, or it’s too big“. I would have loved to find a 45’ Monaco or prevost, which I will, but I will be enjoy my new toy over the 4th of July holiday for the first time. 
 

Please keep posting updates if you would, having the knowledge from an industry insider is great. I am always “looking” for a deal and never satisfied with what I have.:) I am new on the forum and  have benefited greatly from the knowledge and expertise of all who contribute.

Thanks,

Nic

 

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Rob:

Like anything, if you are selling something it is only worth what someone will pay. 🙂

From everything I have seen, upgrades are something that typically will not bump the price up.  You can upgrade furniture, appliances, entertainment systems, etc. and that is all money you will not see a return on. The overall condition of the coachs can sometimes give you a good price bump. I have seen immaculate coaches sell for more money simply because they looked like they were babied and well kept.

Where you can get a price bump is with upgrades such as tires, batteries, steering gear change outs, Monaco watts link systems, etc. Buyers are more concerned about mechanics then interior appointments.  Mileage is another thing. There has always been this magic number with diesel pushers which is 100,000. Once a coach hits that mark, resales values go down. It is all a mental thing and honestly is BS as everyone knows that our diesel engines will go 500,000 miles as will our transmissions.  No idea why this happens but maybe it is a carryover from years ago with auto's which people thought 100 K miles and the car was on its last leg. Of course now it is nothing to run a car or pickup for 250 K miles.

Prevost coaches will run 700 K mile before you have to start worrying. You wouldn't consider an engine rebuild on a Detroit until you have 600 - 700 K miles. Yet prices start dropping once a Prevost hits 150 - 200 K miles. I have seen prevosts with 500 K miles going for $ 50 - 60 K. Most of those were entertainer buses.

The NADA book values are close to being useless, especially on trade ins. The NADA value will get you close if you are selling it privately but even then NADA values are high. Dealers go off the black book or recent dealer auction prices. Dave Pratt owned a car dealership and he can tell you that RV and car dealers never use NADA.  If they are buying a trade in they go off the prices for like vehicles at recent dealer auctions. The main reason is very few RV's and cars that are traded in actually go onto dealer lots for resale. The bigger dealers  keep some of the vehicles and take the rest to auction. They will only put money into a trade in based on what they can get at auction. All the used RV & car dealers get alot of their used vehicles from auctions.  Many new RV/car dealers will only sell trade ins that have low mileage and have no issues. Otherwise trade in vehicles are dumped at auctions and bought by used RV/Car dealers.

You do have one good thing going for you, most RV buyers are still using RV Trader and other sites like that. Many do not have the connections in the RV world to grab really good deals from dealers, etc. I can put a call in to several dealers we work with and tell them to watch for a certain coach and if one comes in I can buy it a whole lot cheaper off their back lot. The other factor that effect values are the distress sales. A spouse dies and it forces a quick sale of an RV usually at discounted prices.

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Guest Tim503

I think the question is, what is the value of the chassis? Is a Monaco chassis more valuable than others? How much is a motor for a 1998 Windsor? What is available to take that chassis and make into a livable and safe motorhome? We need a new roof at 15 years, new tires at 8 years, and constant maintenance. Is anyone taking the older chassis and rebuilding them into new usable units? I think a Monaco is a good base to build a nice motorhome.

My unit has a direct connection to the steering and the brakes but the throttle is by wire. I would like to drive my unit from my Lane recliner or maybe from a love seat installed in the center of the coach instead of my partner being six feet from me. Why do the chairs have to be on each side? It seems people get used to a design and can't venture into new ideas and possibilities. Frankly every motorhome on the market today is the same design from my 1998 Windsor.Made to capture the female. But driven and maintained by a male. Sorry not PC.

Edited by Tim503
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We have brand new tires and the HWH Active Air suspension system, the same system Foretravel has gone to for all their coaches. I never got around to doing the TRW steering. Although ours has 109,000 miles, the coach itself is in excellent shape inside and out, considering the age.

What you said about RVTrader vs. trade in makes total sense.

Edited by Rob and Amy Harper
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I get e-mails from customers quite often asking me about the value of their coach and to also pass the word on that their coach is for sale.

There are times I have to upset someone and tell them their asking price is way out of line and their coach is not worth what they are asking. But I feel I have a responsibility to always be honest rather then blowing sunshine in someones ears which doesn't help them. They ask and I give them an honest answer. 

I remember getting a call once from a customer telling me he was selling his coach and then told me the asking price. I asked how he arrived at that price and he said " that is what I owe on it and besides it is a great coach ".  He was $ 30 K over market prices. Geez.

What you owe or your opinion on it being a great coach is always over ridden by market price.  I have not traded up ( though I would love to ) because our coach is paid off and I do not want to start the payment thing all over again at my age.  I also know what our coach is worth and it isn't worth selling and starting over. At this point in my life I am looking to sink my money into appreciating assets not depreciating ones. 🙂

 

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  • 1 month later...

I don't owe a penny, so that's not a factor. 

I just had to cancel a couple coming to see mine, they were coming from 4 hours away. Unfortunately I went to get my coach from the tire shop and I had 110/220 power issues. Turns out my transfer switch went out, the first thing I've ever had "break" on the coach. My luck!

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