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Old 06-20-2015, 01:51 PM   #21
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If the manufacturers don't step up and fill the "basic B" category then we'll probably see more and more DIY conversions. The new high roof / almost vertical side wall vans make DIY easier to contemplate.

I'm a fan of the high end units too but I just think a basic upgradeable B van would make a lot of people happy and not bury them in debt.

Deep Red - a self-build motorhome
- http://www.deepredmotorhome.com/ gives a good idea of what to consider when planning to go the DIY route. It's a UK site and is a great read.
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:22 PM   #22
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i have been reading posts on this site for a long time before i bought my zion.

the sentiment of wanting a less expensive van has been expressed before.

however it seems to me that the pleasure way 'Basis' was a loser and the Roadtrek Ranger base model is not a winner-although people spend extra to upgrade the ranger.

what you guys really want is a van with everything in it thats cheap-lol.

the Travato seems closest to this goal-although i prefer the zion-i bought one obviously.

The Transit will never be a 'low cost model' it's 22 ft version which i believe most converters will use is almost as expensive as a sprinter. also a B maker needs some volume on a model. the niche sizes will have to be done by sportsmobile
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:01 PM   #23
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The overall market really doesn't want cheap as gerrym51 pointed out about failed sales of low end models. The B market is still less than 7% of the motorhome market even though most Bs are at the low end of the price range of affordability other than some of the small Cs. The B is still less than 1% of the total RV market. Why? Because you'll never get a B cheaper than a trailer.

As for DIY, that is a very small blip. Challenging, satisfying and fun for sure but at the end most are extremely utilitarian slightly above a steel tent. Even I been there. I converted a Chevy van in 1970 like that before I knew of or even if there was a concept of a Class B. I doubt it ever got counted in any way as an RV and I doubt there is any authority today that can count the DIY conversions. All you can do is look at some anecdotal evidence of activity on the Van Dwellers Facebook group or such other groups. A DIY van is rarer than a 1 in a 100 Class B on the average in a campground.

I went high end for a reason. First, if I ever had to go to another RV type (obviously larger) I would just as soon not RV travel. Secondly, I am on my third Class B and know enough about what I want to achieve in our travels and how I want to go about it and still stay in a Class B. Buying off the shelf from a dealer with this is what you can get standards and option choices was no longer acceptable to me. That was too much compromise. Also, I could afford a larger RV. That wasn't a question. But staying in a Class B, why sacrifice to do so when I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve? I didn't make any major compromises but I already know and wish I could have pushed more but nothing gnawing on me as my two previous Bs. Unfortunately, if I had, such as 4x4, I would still be waiting. Time was my major compromise. When you see FredA's Advanced RV you will see, I think, a 100% effort of getting exactly what one wants based on a proven former DIY effort (one of the best DIY I've seen).
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:05 PM   #24
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Stepped away for a bit with guests last night and now checking in to see where the discussion is going.

I thought there was some general agreement that base vehicle would most likely have to be a PM or Transit, gas, long (not super extended), high roof. The Travato - which many use as reference point - is based on a PM, gas V6, 159 WB, high roof with some bells and whistles in the cab. Maybe delete the Nav system (Google maps on my iPad works quite well, thank you).

So some readers keep bringing up Sprinters! I think it is obvious they do not fit into a 60k equation. Can we just drop those and the 22-24 ft. extended bodies for this exercise? If you want to design the "perfect, most expensive Class B RV money can buy", then start a new thread. It would lead to some interesting discussions, especially on what a state of the art 21st Century RV might look like. But not for 60k.

Markopolo - thanks for the Deep Red link - great info for DIYers and good ideas for this exercise.

The original idea of a basic upgradeable van might appeal to manufacturers if they also develop a list of upgrade options that the dealer can install at a future date. That way I could buy the basic rv and, at a later date, add additional batteries (the base BMS takes this into account) , solar panels, a larger fridge, carpeting, sliding door screen, some additional modular cabinets, manual or electric awnings, etc. The challenge would be to design them almost as modules (cabinets for instance), that could be easily added later.

If you upgrade with the dealer, you get warranties. Of course, if you want to do the upgrades yourself, you can do that, too. Not too different from buying a basic house and adding a bathroom, screened porch, upgraded appliances, AC, etc. at a later date. DIY or hire a contractor.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:05 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51 View Post
............what you guys really want is a van with everything in it thats cheap-lol...........
That would be awesome, but unlikely

You make a good point about some models not appearing to do well. The manufacturers have to be careful to project "value" instead of "cheap" with their lower priced units. Even just one glaringly "cheap" implementation or item can set the tone for the unit.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:19 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
That would be awesome, but unlikely

You make a good point about some models not appearing to do well. The manufacturers have to be careful to project "value" instead of "cheap" with their lower priced units. Even just one glaringly "cheap" implementation or item can set the tone for the unit.
We looked at the reduced cost versions and, at least for us, the first impression was not necessarily that they looked cheap (although you could tell the weren't high end) but that they eliminated stuff that we would want, and kept stuff that made no sense.

We got the impression that the designers (or marketing guys) had no clue of how to address the "less than wealthy" market.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:03 PM   #27
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B manufacturers are in business to make money. if a low cost low amenities van would make them money they would make one. how many times have you read about a car manufacturer costs being about the same for a cheap model or an expensive model.

for a b the highest cost is the van then LABOR and overhead.

then it's the individual items


i myself have neither the knowledge/ability/tools/werewithal to build my own

i have to buy from others
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:31 PM   #28
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I think the "less than wealthy" market overwhelmingly buys trailers.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:36 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd View Post
I think the "less than wealthy" market overwhelmingly buys trailers.
Because B's have priced themselves out of that market--chicken/egg?
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:08 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
Because B's have priced themselves out of that market--chicken/egg?
When were they ever in the market given their historical market percentage? I think gerrym51 got it right about overhead and labor. People equate cost with size and Bs will never overcome that. To sell what they do sell they have to make a better quality product than what goes in bigger RVs and especially trailers. I think Airstream Interstate Bs are finished off better than their perceived and reputed high quality trailers.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:18 PM   #31
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We were talking about the moderately priced end of the B market which has almost disappeared until lately, not taking away from other markets.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:31 PM   #32
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If I were in the B-van business, I would be seriously tempted to resign from the RVIA and stop branding my products as an "RV". The whole "celebrity luxury van" and "executive mobile office" thing has been getting a lot of press lately. By using a label like "turing coach" or some such, one could position the product as an affordable version of these celebrity luxury vehicles and attract buyers who associate the term "RV" with National Lampoon Christmas Vacation, which, frankly, probably describes most people. Airstream kind of attempts this, but their brand is so strongly associated with travel trailers that they probably are not the best choice for this gambit.
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:01 PM   #33
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Touring coach is good. But does that kind of narrows its market down even more? I think Roadtrek has been trying to sell that concept for years with all their 4 captain chair models. I'm not sure what would work.

I don't know if there was ever a moderately priced B in my decade period of time with a B. When I first looked at them I could buy a Winnebago Class C View cheaper than a Roadtrek 210 Popular at the St. Paul Camping Show. The Airstream trailers were much less expensive and more bang for your buck and already I owned a large pickup with an 8,000 lb. towing capacity. I really wanted to own a B but the logic didn't compute. But I proved to be an illogical B owner the second my wife looked at the View and blurted, "We would have to tow a car!" We owned a vintage Airstream trailer at the time and that was already out in the decision process.
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:32 PM   #34
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Yes, prices have been high going back 10 years. Winnebago seized the now obvious opportunity and moved into first place in the market share standings.

Apparently, the B market used to be much bigger.

Quote:
Production of Class B motor homes doubled from 9,000 in 1971 to 23,000 by 1972.
Source: http://www.rv.org/class_B.htm

I think the B market is tracking toward 3,300 units for 2015. If the builders want to grow that then I think it will have to come from lower priced units.
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:48 PM   #35
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Interesting comment on that RV link:

"They are best suited for short trips and do not work well for snowbirding or fulltiming."

Do others think this is true?

My wife and I spent April on the road in our VW EVC in FL and SC and talked with a number of Class B owners. Did not keep numbers, but most were snowbirds, and many were out for a number of months.

Is the main RV market full timers? Met a number of people who still had a house, but spent 6-8 months on the road. Any links to studies/polls of RV class and Owner use/time?
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Old 06-20-2015, 07:12 PM   #36
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Everyone is different. For us, our 20' van is too small for snowbirding unless we could afford to be on the move most of the time for like 3 months and mix in some motel / hotel stays. We love being out of the van but the weather/temperature needs to cooperate. Other people would do great with it.

There would be a big difference with a 24' extended Sprinter I think.
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Old 06-20-2015, 07:37 PM   #37
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As a general rule they are right. We've been out extended amounts of time but we have home to look forward to. Often it is bittersweet in that its time to return home and re-organize but you immediately miss being on the road.

As for snow birding it is kind of self-defeating if all you are going to do is go someplace, park and live as if you would if at home. You can find better accommodations bigger, cheaper and far more convenient. If you are touring and moving about then the B makes some sense.

However, I have met many who have full-timed in a B and also snow birded. It can be done. Two years ago we actually stayed in South Padre Island three whole straight weeks. My wife and I were both antsy to move on. Our original plan was one week and move on but it was so cold everywhere else we just stayed put.
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:03 PM   #38
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the wife and i could never fulltime in a van. i think 2 weeks would be the max before she shot me-lol
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:09 PM   #39
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When Travatos are regularly trading for $65 to $70k, it doesn't take alot of imagination to get it down to $60k without much de-contenting.

I've seen dealers promoting Promasters for $22-25k. I can only imagine what they can be bought for in fleet deals.

I'd say the key to getting a cheaper van is volume. You pick up the numbers and the overheads are spread over a greater number of vans. In my view, that is how Winnebago is keeping their prices down to where they are. A small operator is just not going to have the savings in the van cost, or the materials to do the conversion and compete on price.
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:13 PM   #40
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As far as full-timing goes, I think I could do it in my van. It's about the same size as my Oliver, and it's fine for full-timing. Which I'll use in my retirement I haven't decided. As Davydd suggests, it really depends on how much time I intend to be parked. Really though, I think I'll be on the move, so the van is the leading choice.
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