Well, it just might. The RV industry has been crippled by this economic downturn like no time before. It has been particularly hard hit as it was such a hot product considering the somewhat limited market. Some say it will never be the same, and that may very well be, at least for many of our lifetimes. But, it will recover and again grow. Perhaps not in the galloping way it has of the past decade.
Back in January I did an article on the quality, or lack thereof, of RV’s today. It was titled “Is There Quality In Today’s RV’s?” (Link Here if you missed it) It drew many comments with a variety of different points of view. But now, could there be changes afoot? There just might be, but not necessarily by design.
As the RV industry continues to spiral down, some positive changes may emerge. When we look at the home building trade, when business is booming the quality goes down. This is due to the lack of skilled labor forcing contractors to hire anyone that knows which end of a hammer to pick up. But, when the demand falls, the reverse happens. The skilled tradesmen are still there and the others move on, leaving less production, but higher quality. Likewise it takes a higher caliber candidate to get a job in the industry. The end result is usually a higher quality finished product.
The RV industry, manufacturers, engine builders, chassis makers, dealers and related suppliers are no different. They all require the best of the best to pull them through during tight tough times. Even the top notched personnel that find themselves out of work due to a company closing, should find job openings within the industry as it hopefully starts ramping back up.
The great number of suppliers are going through the same crunch. Many of them supply other industries and markets far larger than that of the RV trade. These companies have to produce a better product at a competitive price to compete in a temporary shrinking market. A better product, that will better meet the end user’s expectations, and reduce warranty costs. These may all add up to a higher future quality.
There will be additional costs, outside of that of labor, required to attain this level of quality. Mostly small costs, stainless steel screws, not the “bean counter’s” builder grade stock, and like. (The photo to the left is of rusting screws on a $500,000 coach) The emerging “back to basics” RV must be built by tradesmen, not accountants or shareholders.
Now, I don’t believe this quality change is going to transform over night. It will probably be far more subtle than that. But, hopefully, an increase in quality will slowly take place as the industry re-grows.
As usual, tell us what you think.
With A Quality Thought – Lug_Nut – Peter Mercer