After covering the recreation vehicle industry for 15 years as a journalist, one of the best career moves I ever made was to actually purchase a product produced by the RV industry and hit the road using it.
I started observing how the industry works from the eyes of a consumer. It wasn’t pretty.
I came to realize the RV industry is in a death spiral.
The current business model is simply unsustainable and the professionals working in the industry either:
- Know what’s going on, are in denial, and remain hopeful the problems will simply fix themselves.
- Don’t want to know what’s going on and keep their heads firmly planted in the sand ignoring many very obvious signs.
- Are aware of the problem, know it won’t end well, but are simply choosing to ride the wave as long as they can.
Consumers are frustrated beyond words over product quality and customer service. Every single day I heard about another issue involving a new or experienced RVer. RV owners are seething over the finger-pointing response they receive when attempting to get problems addressed.
Yet, industry professionals are fired up to see 500,000 RV deliveries to dealers this year – the most we’ve seen in a very long time. The twinkles in their eyes suggest they believe the industry can break the 500,000 mark. One person recently suggested we could see 600,000 RV deliveries in one year.
Riiiiight! Under the industry’s current infrastructure, there is not a snowball’s chance in July that will EVER come true.
Unless something is done now, the industry has less than 20 years of viability remaining. Every year it delays addressing these issues further accelerates its pending demise.
It is as though everyone is having a great time at the wild and crazy all-industry party while delicately ignoring the dinosaurs in the room. I say dinosaurs because the problems have been around longer than I have – yet few people seem willing to really address them.
Product quality and customer service was an issue when I first arrived on the scene in January 2000, and it’s an even bigger problem today despite the advent of technology designed to improve construction and service.
When the industry cheers the defeat of Lemon Law legislation, it conversely conveys the message to consumers that it is willing to tolerate imposing products that don’t work and can’t be fixed on unsuspecting buyers.
In this book, I will relay some real life experiences in hopes of educating people about the realities of the RV industry and its products so that people can make an informed decision as to whether they want to invest tens of thousands of dollars to engage in that lifestyle.