A lineup of travel trailers for sale under a dark cloudy sky.

Multi-Billion Dollar Backlogs May Delay Your Summer RV Plans

If you’re planning to buy a new RV and hit the road this summer, you’re not alone. However, RV manufacturers struggle to keep up with demand and have a multi-billion dollar inventory backlog.

There are various reasons why this backlog has occurred, but the bottom line is that it might disrupt your summer RV plans.

We’re taking a close look at this backlog to see if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel or if you should make alternative plans.

Full-time RVers talk about the current state of the RV industry.

Why Is There a Backlog in the RV Industry? 

The RV industry has seen massive growth over the last couple of years. The increased demand for RVs, global supply, and worker shortages is the perfect storm to create this problem. 

According to the RV Industry Association, there was a year-over-year increase in manufacturing across practically every type of RV. There was an 11.3% increase in total RV shipments compared to February 2021.

Younger buyers primarily drive the increased demand for RVs. This key demographic witnessed a 29% rise in revenue compared to 2021, which was already a record-breaking year.

Young families are finding RVing can provide the opportunity to get outdoors and make memories, especially during the uncertainty of international and even domestic travel since 2020.

Here’s how the chip shortage has affected the RV industry.

How Severe Is the RV Backlog? 

The RV backlog isn’t specific to just one manufacturer; it’s across the industry. Even significant manufacturers like Thor are experiencing a significant backlog. Thor’s president and CEO, Bob Martin, said his company has been “pretty much sold out” of RVs for most of this year.

The COO of Thor, Todd Woelfer, stated, “Our backlog is frankly larger than we would prefer. It’s a great signal of the interest and demand for our products.” Despite the “incremental progress” Woelfer claims Thor is making, frustrations are mounting for prospective RV shoppers.

Don’t expect to walk into a full RV dealership anytime soon. Bob Martin has shared that he believes delays could extend well into 2023. Shopping for an RV soon could require a tremendous amount of patience and a little bit of luck!

A lineup of travel trailers for sale under a dark cloudy sky.

Effects Of the RV Backlog On Consumers

In the past, you could walk into a dealership, sign the papers on a new unit, and tow it home to use that weekend. However, the backlog is having a massive impact on consumers. Consumers often have to pay deposits and wait months for their new RV to roll off the assembly line.

However, they’re not only waiting longer for their RV; they’re paying more. It’s the principle of supply and demand. This drives RV prices to astronomical prices, making RVing less budget-friendly than it once was.

The supply shortages also force manufacturers to rethink the features they’re installing on newer models. While consumers may like certain features, those features could cause further delays. These delays are causing consumers to consider all of their options.

There’s not only a demand for new RVs, but used RV sales are off the charts too. Owners looking to sell their used RVs are finding it’s much easier than in previous years. Some used RVs sell privately within 30 days on some sites like RV Trader and even Facebook Marketplace.

Where Can You Find RVs for Sale?

It’s easy to find RVs at Lazydays, General RV, and Camping World locations. However, they’re all operating on reduced inventory.

While you may get lucky and they have the exact model you’re considering, the odds aren’t in your favor. You may have to view other models or floorplans. 

If you’re not flexible with the model or floorplan of your next RV, you may have to expand your search. Some shoppers drive hundreds of miles each way to get a specific RV. Depending on how desperate you are to own an RV, driving hundreds of miles might be worth it.

A red camper van with a for sale message chalked on the window.

What Are the Disadvantages Of Shopping for An RV During the Backlog?

If you’re on the fence about purchasing an RV anytime soon, there are many reasons why you might want to put off a purchase. The increased demand is very quickly driving up prices. So you’re going to wait longer and pay more for your camper.

The backlog and shortages are driving up the prices for RVs. However, the depreciation on RVs is something every buyer should be considering.

Once the demand cools off and manufacturers begin to catch up with the backlog, the value of many of these rigs will tank. Sadly, many owners will find their RVs are worth a fraction of the price they paid for them.

Another disadvantage to looking for an RV during the backlog is the shopping and buying process. The increased demand will pressure you to make decisions quickly. Typically, making a significant financial decision primarily based on emotions is never a good idea.

Is It Smart to Buy An RV During Shortages?

While we think owning an RV can be exciting and increase your opportunity for adventure, it’s not the right time for everybody. We believe you should only buy an RV during the backlog if your finances are stable. You’ll need to pay a sizeable down payment and take the massive depreciation that will eventually happen.

However, don’t worry if the time is not suitable for you to buy an RV right now. RVs are items that many people purchase and plan to use regularly. However, life gets in the way, and many never do.

When manufacturers catch up with the backlog in a year or two, we expect to see many slightly used RVs for sale. You may be able to not only snag the RV you’ve been eyeing but get a fantastic deal on it too!

Has the backlog delayed your RV plans this year?

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