The Year the RV Fell
Back in the winter of aught eight (I love being able to say that), we set up at the Tampa RV Show, our all-time favorite show because it’s warmer in Florida and because it seems half our customers winter down there. We try not to hold it against them, especially during the trip home.
You remember ’08, right? Yeah, that was the year of doom, or so they later told us. Believe me, the RV industry saw it coming in January. You know it’s going to be a bad year when the RV salesmen at the Tampa Show are passing the time playing Apples to Apples (Junior Edition) in the units. By September, the crash was inevitable. Hensley was at a show in California when the bottom fell out.
Give up my RV? Never!
RVers are a funny lot, though, aren’t we? While motor home sales all but disappeared during that time, it seemed that the adventurous among us refused to give up. The folks we talked to on the phone every day said they simply downsized their plans. They went from the motor home to a 5th-wheel or travel trailer. Or from a trailer to a pop-up. But give up the dream? No way.
To us, this was Hensley’s best time. No, we didn’t break any sales records, but we suddenly found ourselves as a source of comfort to those who felt that the travel trailer or even the 5th-wheel was a step backwards. The notion that a travel trailer was the poor-man’s RV still persists in the RV world, thanks mostly to dealerships who fell in love with huge profit-margins from the sale of the motorized units. But you folks soon discovered that a trailer can be just as luxurious and comfortable as a motor home. God bless you for it!
We’re big fans of living sensibly here at Hensley. We don’t believe that you should have to go into huge debt with monthly motor home payments to enjoy this wonderful lifestyle. Nor should you have to buy a 3/4 ton pick-up that costs more than your first home. We’ve made the statement many times: we sell the best hitch in the market, and it will save you thousands and thousands of dollars.
The Greatest RV Generation
What we’re witnessing now is a drastic change in the RV industry, dare I say a revolution? We’re turning back to principles of the Greatest Generation. Prosperity is found in the time we spend with those we love, not in the size of our house, our TV, or our RV. The motor home had its day. But after the fall of aught eight, many of us have stopped to reconsider our priorities. It’s not a vacation if you’re worried about the bills that will follow. Retirement should not involve monthly payments.
No, we didn’t quit. We simply paused and re-arranged our thinking and our behavior. For the RVer, it meant the relegation of the 40′ motor home to the Smithsonian alongside the other dinosaurs. And thanks to newer technology and safer towing systems, we can enjoy the journey with no fear. And we can enjoy the destination with no worries.