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Old 02-21-2013, 07:06 PM   #1
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Default Class B Market Share, Sales and Shipments

Class B Market Share musings

The last few years have seen a shake-up in the market share percentages of Class B manufacturers.

In 2008 Roadtrek had a tremendous 62.6% market share.



By 2011 Roadtrek's market share had declined to 47.2% - still very impressive - almost half the market.



For 2012 Roadtrek's market share had further declined to 36.3% - still impressive as they hold the top spot but it is quite a drop from 62.6% to 36.3%.

The primary cause of Roadtrek's slide looks to be the gains made by Thor (Airstream) and Winnebago.

2012 breakdown:

Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. 36.3% market share.
Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. 19.6% market share.
Thor Industries Inc. (Airstream) 18.2% market share.
Winnebago Industries Inc. at 16.5% market share.

2013 is going to be interesting.

Back in November I posted this:

Quote:
JACKSON CENTER, Ohio -– Airstream announced that its popular Interstate Class B motorhome model will be available in Canada beginning in Spring 2013. The Airstream Interstate, built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, claimed the spot of number one selling B-van model in the US for 2011 and through September 2012 according to Statistical Surveys Inc.

The Interstate boasts over 50 best in class features that distinguish it from its competitors. As a result, the Interstate has experienced tremendous growth in the US market, commanding 17 percent market share through September 2012. Interstate sales are up 72 percent year over year in the United States, leading Airstream to discuss opportunities for expansion in Canada.

“The Interstate offers a unique blend of luxury, design and performance that we are confident will do well in the Canadian marketplace,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “We see tremendous possibility in this region and look forward to a very active spring, when our Canadian customers can hit the open road in the Interstate for the first time.”

Airstream plans to meet with potential Canadian dealers at the 50th annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky, November 27-29. At the show, the company will also debut a new nine-seat option for the Interstate, at the request of many dealers.

“As a result of our success in the United States, we have had several inquiries from both dealer and retail customers from Canada,” said Airstream General Manager Tim Garner. “We believe the combination of best in class product with progressive dealer programs will drive similar success in Canada and we look forward to discussing these opportunities with Canadian dealers in Louisville.”
Airstream has one Class B model I think yet they have captured 18.2% of the retail market.

Luxury coach builder Advanced RV enters its second year and has indicated that their goal is to produce 50 units. http://www.advanced-rv.com/

New-West RV should be offering a Westfalia van this year. They introduced it last year - see photos: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2243

Winnebago should be competitive this year. They sure seem to have the best prices on new Sprinters.

2013 might turn out to be much like 2012.

I think that the new Ford Transit http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2455
and the new Ram Promaster http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2483
could really shake things up from 2014 onwards.

There could be downward price pressure on all but the luxury models.

If Winnebago ramps up and starts to churn out a basic budget campervan on either of the new models they could grab a bigger piece of the market.

If fiberglass topped high roof vans become a thing of the past where does that put Pleasure-Way and Roadtrek?

Roadtrek has held the top spot for 23 years. I think they'll extend that streak to 24. Their piece of the pie might not reach the previous highs as new the new players carve out their places.
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File Type: jpg market share 2011.JPG (33.5 KB, 3520 views)
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

There is another wildcard: In this and next year, we will be seeing the Ford Transit and RAM Promaster vans hit the roads.

Both vans are almost certainly going to be cheaper than the Sprinters, but still having key advantages such as cargo capacity, high MPG engines, and a long, reliable track record. Sprinters still have the brand name of Mercedes which gives them an edge, but were that not the case, the fight would be a three-way tossup with no clear victor. Especially with no options like four wheel drive being offered in the US (although 4WD is offered overseas.)

I would say that once the new generation vans hit the roads, the fiberglass high-tops will end up history, mainly due to the higher MPG. This is why Roadtrek and PW are focusing on Sprinter models so they stay relevant, and why Airstream has all but dropped the Avenue from their lineup.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

It is interesting to see that things are changing mainly do to Winnebago and Airstream. I know many of us don't particularly care for their offerings (although the ERA we saw at the Mpls show was far and away the best B for the money, so I am tempering my opinion), but one has to figure they are pretty good at reading the market and coming up with things that sell. They both have been very successful for a very long time.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22
There is another wildcard: In this and next year, we will be seeing the Ford Transit and RAM Promaster vans hit the roads.

Both vans are almost certainly going to be cheaper than the Sprinters, but still having key advantages such as cargo capacity, high MPG engines, and a long, reliable track record. Sprinters still have the brand name of Mercedes which gives them an edge, but were that not the case, the fight would be a three-way tossup with no clear victor. Especially with no options like four wheel drive being offered in the US (although 4WD is offered overseas.)

I would say that once the new generation vans hit the roads, the fiberglass high-tops will end up history, mainly due to the higher MPG. This is why Roadtrek and PW are focusing on Sprinter models so they stay relevant, and why Airstream has all but dropped the Avenue from their lineup.
I agree, the Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit should be very good for expanding Class B offerings.
I live in a small town but it has two dealerships - Ford and Dodge.

Anyone know what GM will do? Are they sticking with the Express / Savana vans?

Ram Promaster http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2483
Ford Transit http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2455

I'm hoping at least one manufacturer decides to build a lower cost unit on those platforms.
It might be a new manufacturer that sees the opportunity.

2,123 Class B RV's were shipped in 2012. Link: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2162
Too me, that seems incredibly low. Class B RV's high cost no doubt affects the number of people willing to spend that much money on a depreciating asset.

I think a new very basic campervan could be retailed for $65,000 if someone could manufacture and sell enough of them. Skip the leather and granite or Corian etc. There are a number of units available now that fit the luxury category. There is not many in the basic category though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
It is interesting to see that things are changing mainly do to Winnebago and Airstream. I know many of us don't particularly care for their offerings (although the ERA we saw at the Mpls show was far and away the best B for the money, so I am tempering my opinion), but one has to figure they are pretty good at reading the market and coming up with things that sell. They both have been very successful for a very long time.
My guess is that the recent market share gains by Airstream and Winnebago has something to do with the large number of dealers already carrying other offerings from those two brands. The dealer is just adding another product or sku - the "contract" between the dealer and the manufacturer is already well established. That, and what you said - they both have been very successful for a very long time.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

Concerning the maximum capacity of Roadtrek. When we took the factory tour in the fall of 2009, they were in the process of bringing the offsite painting back into the main factory, and switching from an assembly line to work cells. They also had severely reduced the workforce, but that can be easily brought back up. The changes, along with all the models and options they are offering and developing would pretty heavily reduce capacity IMO. Probably not in half, but not a little bit either, so they may not have as much reserve capacity as it might appear based on past history. One of the things that would probably increase their capacity the most would be to discontinue the Chevy models. The floorspace required to cut them up and put them back together again, is significant, as are the hours needed to do it. Sprinters are expensive (the Ford and Dodge may not be as bad), but they require a lot less work to get them ready to outfit.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

The Winnie ERA seems to be a good value for what you get, but they seem to be cutting a lot of corners as far as design an materials go. The track record and relyability for the Era seems low for the Sprinter based B market. I've heard that Winnie (the main company) needed to bolster their business with Mercedes Benz, so they entered the B market to sell some rigs. Volume was the goal and not profit or quality, so what you get with the ERA is something that appears thrown together with a bunch of goodies thrown in to make it sell. That makes it a good deal if you are willing to put up with a bit of inconvenience with warrantee issues and the like. In many ways we liked the ERA, but the biggest way is the price. We were offered units for $85K brand spanking new (except for the mileage for having them driven from the factory to the dealership--they are the only company I know of that does that by the way--most truck them to the dealer--this is one thing that turned us off of them: Can you really trust that a driver paid to move the rig across the country broke the engine in correctly?) Anyway, we've heard of ERAs selling for $80K new. They have lots of features, too, like a second bed, and two TVs. From what we saw, the story about them needing to up their volume with MB seems to hold water.

The Airstreams seemed very nice as well, but in other ways: Quality and reliability. But, pricewise, they seem to be VERY proud of their units. A two year old used one had an asking price of more than what you can get most other brands for NEW. And while they have the Airstream name, they are not as nice as their travel trailers which are choice. If they were as nice, we would probably have one in our driveway today.

Roadtrek is a good company with good products, but they seem to be living off their reputation a bit and not keeping up the the market.......except for the E-Trek which is so innovative that it may leapfrog over the advances of other companies. It was just too early (and spendy) for us to try the E-trek out, though, and the standard models didn't have the pizzaz of the Pleasure Way or the Great West. Advanced RV's Ocean One seemed very nice, but they are still a start-up and the price was a drawback for us. Pleasure Way was our second choice. They are very nice, but fairly basic. (Right at the end of our decision we found a new one that wasn't so basic and was very appealing.) Our final choice was the Great West Legend SE, which was well appointed, reasonably priced, and appeared well built. At the same time we got to deal with smaller companies. We haven't got it yet. It is due to us in less than a week. You can expect more reports after that.

Oops, forgot Leisure Travel's Sprinter B with a pull out. It didn't appeal because of the size of the bed. (A common complaint, I'm told.) The full sized bathroom did appear REALLY nice, however.

So, we checked them all out, and drove a bunch of them. They all drove GREAT. The sprinter van is really really a nice driving van and the RV upgraders are limited as to what they can do with the van and maintain its warantee through MB.

That's my take on the Class B market--well the Sprinter side of it anyway, and I think the Sprinters are taking over the B market right now.

..........Rocky
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

The drop in sales share by Roadtrek is interesting. That could be because of the rise in Sprinter sales and the fact they are middle of the road in that category compared to the others whereas I think their Chevy's were dominant. Roadtrek, through its marketing and user base has come very close to Kleenexing its name brand as there is no easy catchy name otherwise for a Class B. Class B is a head scratcher of a name. Pleasure-way may take a hit when their popular Ford Excel passes over to the Transit. I suspect their new Class C Pursuit might be their safety valve.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

if i was going to buy a sprinter model it would be the ERA 70a. having said that i won't touch a sprinter
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

As far as I've seen, Chevy is taking the tack of "if it ain't broke, why fix it". So, AFAIK, they are keeping the same van platform for the known future, except perhaps making a high-roofed model, so upfitters don't have to make a fiberglass top. This ensures that they will have a niche market, as some van upfitters would take a big hit in costs if they have to retool for a new van line.

I like Sprinters because of their MPG and headroom, but I'm going to be pretty confident that Ford and Dodge can make a competing platform for a lower price. Since Mercedes refuses to bring their 4WD models onto US shores, the differences between the three vans will be fairly close, and the fact that both Ford and Dodge have gasoline models, that puts M-B in a tight spot.

Service-wise, if Dodge made the same mistake they did with Sprinters and only have a few dealerships able to service them, the Promaster is going to have trouble. However, if support is widespread (similar to Econoline vans), then I'm sure fleets will go that direction. Parts availability is also key.

I'm sure one reason RT is taking a hit is because people just don't seem to want the Chevy vans anymore. I would guess the old design and the relatively higher MPG are to blame for this. I took a relative to a dealer showroom, and the difference between a Chevy class B versus a Sprinter is pretty large, from the ease of entry (no ducking to get in a Sprinter), to standing room height, to room to move around. However, RT isn't standing still, and I'm willing to guess they are betting the farm on the E-trek technology.

I can see RT making headway, when you put the pieces together. Take their e-Trek stuff, put it on a ProMaster or Transit chassis with a gasoline engine and a gasoline generator, and there would be no need whatsoever for a propane tank. With the generator, there also wouldn't be a need to run the engine at idle for long periods of time (although a gas engine can do so without adverse effect, as there is no DPF to get clogged.) Add a smart generator controller which automatically starts to top off the batteries, and one would have a class B that pushes the envelope, and is very usable with all the electronic gadgets people have and use these days.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Class B Market Share musings

Class B sales for January have been reported on RV Business: http://www.rvbusiness.com/2013/03/stat- ... s-up-23-8/

Quote:
Year-over-year Class B motorhome sales surged 23.8% in January, according to the latest report from Statistical Surveys Inc.

For the month, Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. was the leader in Class B sales, owning a 28.8% market share, while Thor industries Inc. held the No. 2 spot with a 21.2% share followed by Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. with a 19.2% share.
January 2013 breakdown:
Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. 28.8% market share.
Thor Industries Inc. 21.2% market share.
Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. 19.2% market share.

2012 breakdown: (the whole year)
Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. 36.3% market share.
Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. 19.6% market share.
Thor Industries Inc. 18.2% market share.
Winnebago Industries Inc. at 16.5% market share.

Roadtrek lost more market share. Thor continues to gain market share. Pleasure-Way is holding steady. My guess is that Winnebago remains in fourth place.

Thor's continued rise is interesting. I would love to see the data showing what models are included in the reporting. Is it only Airstream units?
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