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Old 02-17-2018, 10:50 AM   #1
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Fraser Valley , British Columbia
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Sticker Shock at the Early Bird RV Show....and What They Said About Airstreams

How many RV shows can one take? For me, about one every five years.

So, this was the year that I re-attended the Fraser Valley Early Bird RV Show. For those who got a C- in Geography, the Fraser Valley is in B.C., Canada (about 50 miles east of Vancouver). The Fraser Valley bustles with old farms, new subdivisions, young families, retirees who have sold-out in the city (more about that below) and an airport with a big building called the Tradex which is where the show is held.

First Impressions:

Oy vey, the prices! They have jumped considerably. One can only conclude that this is due to....

- the fact most RVs are manufactured in the U.S.A. and the Canadian $ is now trading around seventy-nine cents

- those aforesaid-mentioned retirees who sold their homes in Vancouver or the 'burbs (Canada's hottest real-estate market) now have 1 - 3M in their pockets. And boy, do the dealers ever know this, so let's inflate the price a little. Added to that is the fact recreational property is also unaffordable to most, especially those young families, so buying an RV is the next best thing. (The great outdoors, likewise, comes with an inflated price).

Tell Us....How High Were They?

I attended the same show in February of 2011 (shortly after purchasing the FaN). Those big, higher-end 5th wheelers averaged 50k - 60k. I did not see any like 5th wheelers under 100k. Most averaged 140k - 150k (Canadian).

What shocked me the most was the price of a fiberglass teardrop trailer with a bed inside. No cute tailgate kitchen etc. Just a bed on wheels. $15k.

The basic SWB has also jumped. Back in 2011, you could get a decent one for under 20k. I saw a lot of.....well, crap, for 30+k.

Don't Keep us in Suspense....What About the Airstreams?

The only local AS dealer never takes their trailers to the show. When I asked why seven years ago, they said they didn't want these "exclusive" trailers to get damaged, especially by "mothers pushing strollers." They also inferred that potential AS owners would not want the "unwashed masses" so to speak, tromping through their trailer. (Gee whiz,...are we that snobby, or does this air of superiority that the dealership likes to assign us just another ploy to jack-up the price a little?)

So, the only Airstreams at the show were the Interstate (179k and change) and the Base Camp. (55K and change). Interestingly, we were allowed to tour the inside of the Interstate, but not the Basecamp. (Obviously the dealership's playing field of "exclusivity" is not entirely level, but heck, it's only a show. And maybe they will bring those AS trailers someday....if those annoying people quit reproducing and there are no mothers pushing those strollers).

Of course I examined the Basecamp. When the smiling salesman made a beeline towards me, I kindly waved him off. "Oh, I am just looking, thank-you. I am already an Airstream owner." (I was tempted to preface "Airstream owner" with "exclusive" but did not).

"Really?" said the salesman (and he kept coming)... "You are one of the lucky ones."

"Really?" I replied.

"Yes. Especially if you purchased it before the prices really jumped," said he.

"Yes, I have noticed those price jumps," said I.

"When did you buy?" he asked.

"Seven years ago. A 27' Flying Cloud," was my reply.

"If you ever want to sell that Flying Cloud, I can get what you paid for it," he rebutted, "Less commission, of course."

"Of course," I said. "But I have no intention of selling. Thank-you," and "Good-luck at the show," I concluded.

I guess that's nice to know, but the funny thing is the thing I did not buy as a monetary investment has turned out to be a fairly good investment. Other times, those stocks that were supposed to be a "sure thing," were not, and I've lost money. (Does this now make me a little less "exclusive" in the eyes of the dealership?)

Anyway, with camera in hand, I took a further rove through the show....
(photos will be posted below).....

easily distracted by shiny objects
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:20 AM   #2
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Prices reflect the boom that the RV industry has be enjoying over the past decade; especially since the industry has seen one or two brands buying up the competition. Thor is number 1, with Airstream, Dutchmen and a host of others in its stable. With the acquisition of Jayco in 2016, Thor pretty well removed a huge part of its competition.

The below quote is from Wikipedia.

In 2017, Thor was number one in the RV market with a 48% market share. Forest River was second with about 34% of the market, followed by Grand Design and Winnebago with about 3% each. In fiscal year 2017, 71% of the Thor's sales was in towable RVs, 27% in motorized RVs, with 2% in other segments. During that same period 91% of sales were in the United States.

This is the reason we are seeing a huge rise in prices for RV's. Both parties have agreed to sell each others wares for what they believe the market can bear. It doesn't cost them anywhere near $160,000 to build an Eddie Bauer edition as they don't have to meet hardly any federal requirements that any other vehicles needs to meet.

If you're a consumer......prepare to bend over.

Sidekick Tony

Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

ďItís a recession when your neighbor loses his job; itís a depression when you lose your own.Ē "Harry S Truman"
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:18 PM   #3
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Hi Tony, our federal government has a problem with the self-regulatory free market and what they perceive as cartel price fixing. It would be interesting to know if they view RVs the same as bread, but the latter got themselves into a bit of trouble....
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:00 PM   #4
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Some Photos....

Keep the Door Closed!....or whatever happened in the wc....

I am a sucker for those retro colours. This teardrop fit the bill....

The interior bench.....

If you drive an RV you must be a celebrity, as this company now calls them "Mobile Suites"....

The Interstate....

The Basecamp....

Bucket List....

Saw a lot of these. An incentive to buy now!...perhaps....

Island kitchen in one of those six-figure 5th wheelers....

A loft jail for bad dogs?.....

Seven years ago these seminars were all Greek to me. Now I can actually understand most of what they are trying to tell us...

But, it's always good to leave a stuffy building, breathe some fresh air and think about heading to the mountains....which is why we were there in the first place!

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Old 02-17-2018, 01:04 PM   #5
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p.s.....Today my knees hurt. The result of all those high-staired non-Airstream rigs.

Another reason why I love my Airstream.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:44 PM   #6
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We just spent 6 hours at the RV Show in London, Ontario today. Can-Am was there with their Airstreams and other dealers too. Doors were opened at 10am and there was a line up at the front door of the Western Fair grounds when we arrived. Even when we stopped for lunch at noon, they were still lined up at the front door. Very busy and a good crowd on a cold winter day. The new Airstreams were beautiful, of course. Yes, the Base Camp was 55K and the 30' International was 128K, I think. My sister-in-law liked the other trailers with the side pop outs. She and her husband are thinking of upgrading their 28' Jayco to a 36' 5th wheel. They had a lot to choose from.

Me, I think I will keep our 1977 24' Argosy for a few more years. It just needs a new floor.
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Old 02-17-2018, 05:24 PM   #7
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Vancouver show

Just got back from the Van/BC show in Coquitlam an hour ago.

The quality, color schemes and even most lay outs with all these
"pop outs" were under-whelming. Cheep axels and plastic everything! I would'ent be seen in anything that crappy.

I had a 2005 Safari AS which I consider to be the high point of Airstream years
just before the crash. Now they too have lowered some quality but raised prices 2X since then (at least).

I sold the Safari (for twice what I paid for it over 5 years before) when I finished a complete rebuild of a "65 26' and now know for sure I am surrounded by the highest quality I could do....

Sure glad I bought stock in Thor a few years back though!!
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Old 02-17-2018, 05:48 PM   #8
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Sticker Shock at the Early Bird RV Show....and What They Said About Airstreams

My missus and I visited the Seattle RV show just a week earlier. Local AS dealer was out in force with 7-8 rigs of all types including the new Atlas.

Quality of most non AS rigs was noticeably worse than I recall from prior years. Average trailer price was $40k for under 25 ft, about $75k for up to 30ft, and lots of monster 5th wheel options for up to $150k. Interior designs have mostly not changed in 8 years, but some of the efforts at a modern interior were clumsy. Few have right balance, and AS certainly is one that does.

On the plus side, lots of tiny, retro styled options for under $20k. If you are a young family with kids, $55-75k for an AS is out of the picture. While the quality is not there, at least the new rigs can get you enjoying camping, and these buyers are potentially future AS owners.

While the rest of us AS owners can sit smug in the knowledge that we got ours before things went nuts, I hope the new Nest brings younger buyers into the fold. I donít envy younger buyers who may opt out of RV ownership given the big investment, so nice to see options that are accessible.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:30 AM   #9
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I can't remember the last time I went to an RV show but it's been many years .
I just have to say that I don't have a lot of empathy for the poor "Millenials" or whatever the latest group is called . I started out with a 16' Jet trailer and was proud of it. If someone wants to get into an RV near where we live ,KSL.COM has 2,119 Bumper pull trailers listed , I'm sure just about anyone can find one in their budget range. That's where I found my "Silver Girl". If it's a 5Th Wheel you want there's only 1,023 of those and 1,065 Toy Haulers.
All there for the picking......I don't have big bucks , just happy with my
25 foot '93 Excella.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
Keep the Door Closed!....or whatever happened in the wc....

A loft jail for bad dogs?.....

And the winners are #1 you can sit on the toilet and fish @ the same time? #2 The dog jail. Now I know why the wife and I do not go to RV shows, others will go for you. Thank you for the entertainment and humor.

Best regards and safe travels..........
Scott & Liz
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:29 AM   #11
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I actually like the door to the water closet room because it’s great for camping with kids. There is less mud, dust and dirt tracked through the main living space of the trailer. I think the price of rv’s will come down some when the current baby boomer generation retires from traveling or another big recession happens.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:43 PM   #12
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. . . so if we wait to buy until the prices come down, we might be too far gone to purchase . . . ?

Thanks FaN for the interesting thread and photos.

Happy Trails!

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Old 02-18-2018, 01:34 PM   #13
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Sticker Shock

This thread sounds like a bunch of very frugal (tight with the bucks) people.

Donít spend your money and buy what you worked a lifetime for, leave to the kiddies and they will spend a lifetime of savings in a short period.

If you see that shiny me AS and you like it shop it around and buy it tomorrow may never come and I havenít seen a Brinks Truck following a hearse yet.

Good things arenít cheap and cheap things arenít good. We started in a 15 ft Serro Scotty and now we have a 33 Classic and a Winnebago View

Have fun be happy we live in the best country in the world no matter what the media says.

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Old 02-18-2018, 06:14 PM   #14
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We attended the Austin RV Expo today. Life is good for AS dealers. Yesterday they sold 3-16í spuds (sorry, thatís what I call Ďem), three base camps, two 19í Tommy Bahamas, the floor model of the Atlas, plus two more the dealer said they may not receive till the fall. The Globetrotter wasnít sold yet, and they didnít have any 25 footers as the show floor space had been cut back due to other event conflicts. But, despite what some may say about pricing, the dealers (all of them) seemed pretty happy.

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