The RV industry took a beating in the last few years. Sales of RVs, fifth wheel campers, and travel trailers declined sharply in 2011 and 2012, sending several of the once familiar camping giants out of business. While the industry is recovering, it is also having to reinvent itself, with new names focusing on innovation, efficiency, and economic feasibility in order to fill the void at the top of the lists. And according to the latest business and consumer reports travel trailers and RVs are delivering the goods.
- Convenience. To regain consumer confidence, manufacturers have had to rethink many of the standard RV and trailer amenities. This has resulted in the inclusion of tankless water heaters in many new trailers, as well as an extendable outdoor kitchen unit on models over 25 feet long. The increased functionality and safety of an outdoor kitchen more than makes up for whatever square footage may have been lost in the sleeping areas.
- Efficiency. Innovations in manufacturing have led to a revolution in trailer design. Trailers today can be made entirely from composite materials, reducing the overall weight of the trailer by up to 1,500 pounds. That kind of weight loss can increase towing fuel efficiency by three miles per gallon. These new composites can also help reduce water damage, which can ruin an ordinary wooden frame trailer in a matter of months if left unchecked.
- Alternatives. Interestingly enough, another economic downturn, the housing market crash, has provided a boost to the flagging RV industry. According to some consumer reports travel trailers, fifth wheels, and RVs have become permanent homes to a growing number of former and new homeowners. Sources cite the slow recovery of the housing market as a prime factor in the rise in luxury RV sales, as some potential homeowners see RVs as an interesting and affordable alternative for fulltime living.
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