The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Posted In: Blog, RV Lifestyle

Here I go quoting Dickens again.

Recently I’ve come across several news reports about the RV industry. Suffice to say that 2008 was the worst of times, a “perfect storm” of economic trouble. If the skyrocketing gas prices this summer were not enough, the credit crunch and stock market crash made matters that much worse. RVs have stacked up on dealer lots like moldy cordwood. Several major manufacturers closed their doors.

For example, at the very same time that Kristy and I were filming an HGTV show about RV shopping, we were shocked to learn that Teton Homes had gone out of business. Teton Homes built some “Mac Daddy” 5th Wheels, the type you could inhabit fulltime without skipping a beat.

One of the great selling points of an RV is that buyers can finance and take deductions on mortgage interest, just as they might treat a second brick-and-mortar home. But if buyers can’t get credit? Sales dry up. Shipments from manufacturers to dealers fell 27% in 2008, and are projected to fall another 25% in 2009. Ouch.

Here’s an article bemoaning the sad news:

POOR ECONOMY IS THE NAIL IN RV INDUSTRY’S TIRE

But some interesting developments have also happened in just the past couple of months. Gas prices have plummeted in record fashion. Suddenly, fueling up a motorhome doesn’t seem quite the financial burden that it did this summer. And from a shopping perspective, winter is upon us, historically a slower time for RV usage. I’m sure that dealers want to move those old models off their lots.

So is now the best of times to buy an RV?

I’m reminded of the old Warren Buffet line which goes something like: “Be fearful when others are greedy; be greedy when others are fearful.”

I suspect there are some excellent deals to be had right now on certain RVs. If you’ve ever wanted to buy an RV, and you have the cash to do it, you’ll probably never have more negotiating leverage than you do now. Don’t be too intimidated by those sky-high MSRP’s. In this environment, everything’s negotiable.

(Image by Casey Helbling.)


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