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The reasons behind the booming small motorhome market

| Updated Dec 4, 2013

Type B's and C's, the smaller versions of the rapidly growing motorhome market, are leading the way in the dramatic turnaround in the RV industry thanks to the ever growing number of Baby Boomer retirees used to active, mobile lifestyles.

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The Roadtrek 210 Popular

I've spent much of the past week here at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association's annual trade show in Louisville, KY talking to leading recreational vehicle industry experts, trade association officials, manufacturers and dealers and all agreed that sales for 2014 were going to continue spiking up. Jim Hammill, president of Roadtrek Motorhomes, North America's best selling Type B maker, said he is projecting 20 % growth next year.

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Leisure Travel Van's Type B-Plus Unity 2B

Dean Corrigal, from Type B and B-plus maker Leisure Travel Vans, showed me their latest models and said his company was also seeing a huge growth in sales as well, also attributing it to the growing number of Baby Boomer retirees and the better fuel economy and the ease in driving offered by small motorhomes.

Even Airstream, which targets only the high income luxury Type B market, said demand for B's had never been higher.

The video showcases why Type B and C RVs are so hot and gives you a look at some of the latest features.

The RVIAn trade show in Louisville ends Thursday.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2013-12-04

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

6 Responses to “The reasons behind the booming small motorhome market”

December 10, 2013at9:13 am, Mike Wendland said:

More than 4×4, what i want the most is all-season capabilities. I travel all year around and the need to winterize and dewinterize as I go in and out of different climates is annoying and inconvenient. The all season use offered on the 40th Anniversary 190 and the new not-yet-available TS-Adventurous has really perked my interest. As long as they are plugged into shore power or using propane heat, they are good to go. I’m wondering if this can be handled by a retrofit. If so… sign me up! Just in case, I’m going to have an electrician out to install a 30 amp outlet near where I park the RT in the driveway.

December 10, 2013at8:58 am, David Micklo said:

Mike, I find it interesting you emphasize “affluent” and “expensive” when discussing pricing of the Airstream. The list price for the Roadtrek RS is approximately $125,121 and the list price for the Airstream Interstate is approximately $125,630.

Now I’ve seen these “list prices” posted differently on different webpages. It all depends on where you look. However, my point is that they are very similar.

I have had a 2013 RS for just over a year now and really love it. I really wish all the new options where there when I purchased mine; solar, Webasto heat, engine generator and now 4 season plumbing, all of which I discussed with Roadtrek just a few years ago and was told “The market isn’t there for it.” Regardless, these innovations are what keeps me with Roadtrek. I still feel fit and finish of the Airstreams are unmatched and would love to see Roadtrek surpass their level. As well, the EXT model would be incredible. The layout SHOULD stay the same with the EXT, as it is a very desirable layout and very popular. Having the extra length behind the sofa for storage would solve so many issues that are discussed on all the Sprinter RV forums. Lastly, the base model Sprinter Airstream uses has all the bells and whistles. It seems like Roadtrek has started down that path as well, but slightly behind. These “options” on the Sprinter, in my opinion, should be standard as they are very safety minded options; fog lights, steering wheel radio controls “that actually work and are tied into the radio”, lane assist and the side airbags.

In my humble opinion, the Roadtrek seems to market the older, retired demographic. Airstream is marketing the younger, currently working crowd.

Oh yeah, I know if I ask Jim Hammil he will say there isn’t a market for it, but I wander what the plans are for the new AWD 4×4 Sprinter out on the market. With most of the U.S. under a blanket of snow right now, a TRUE 4 season class B would be truly innovative! A Canadian company should understand that. Regardless of who uses the platform first, it’ll be my next class B.

December 06, 2013at10:38 pm, Judi Darin said:

I think there is a movement toward more reasonable houses and vehicles; more awareness of what we need to be happy and have a fulfilling life. Of course the economy has made us all more aware of what we spend but myself, I like having an appropriate sized home and RV for my needs. It seems like everyday I look around my stick and brick (actually, there’s no brick, just a lot of sticks) home and think I have too much stuff. I’m perfectly happy with the size of my RT. If I “need more storage” I take less stuff. The word “need” is a tricky one!

December 04, 2013at9:11 pm, Mike Wendland said:

Dean indeed is a very cool guy. Enjoyed spending some time with him.

December 04, 2013at9:01 pm, dfrazier said:

Great to see such growth. I also enjoyed seeing Dean from Leisure Travel in the video. He’s a cool guy.

December 04, 2013at8:57 pm, Campskunk said:

well, all i can say is that it’s nice to see everyone clamoring for a product i already own 😉 class Bs make a lot of sense economically for a retired person or couple who are going to spend a lot of time on the road. i was able to retire early thanks to the low cost of living the class B fulltiming lifestyle gave me. it sure beats sitting around playing shuffleboard.

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