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Thread: How to buy a new RV

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    Site Sponsor wrp75_CO's Avatar
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    How to buy a new RV

    Ok, I'm sure this question has been asked and answered a lot, but I can't figure out the right search string to find it.

    What's the better way to buy an RV: off the lot, or order? And by better, I really mean cheaper. If I can find something on the lot that meets what I'm looking for (and I think there just might be a Momentum 380TH that'll fit the bill at my local dealership) will it cost more or less to get that one vs. ordering.

    Thanks again for all the great advice on the forum. Will be subscribing as soon as I have time to re-set up a Paypal account.
    Kermode and Ussuri Bruin (and their owners)
    2014 Ram Laramie Mega Cab 3500 DRW
    24K Pull-Rite SuperGlide Hitch
    2015 Momentum 380TH

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    Some dealers may charge more to order, but it isn't common practice.

    We don't upcharge anyone to order one. Cost is cost, whether it is ordered as a stock unit or a custom ordered one.
    Inventory Manager at Tom Schaeffer's RV, Shoemakersville, PA www.tomschaeffers.com
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    2011 RAM 3500 SRW Outdoorsman Edition 4X4, 6.7 Cummins--TWEAKED!


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    Quote Originally Posted by wrp75_CO View Post
    Ok, I'm sure this question has been asked and answered a lot, but I can't figure out the right search string to find it.

    What's the better way to buy an RV: off the lot, or order? And by better, I really mean cheaper. If I can find something on the lot that meets what I'm looking for (and I think there just might be a Momentum 380TH that'll fit the bill at my local dealership) will it cost more or less to get that one vs. ordering.

    Thanks again for all the great advice on the forum. Will be subscribing as soon as I have time to re-set up a Paypal account.
    25-30% off MSRP is a good starting offer. There are a few other factors as well.

    1) Is it important to have a dealer near by - If so thats a cost you need to factor in. If you surf the internet you will find competitive prices all over the country.

    2) Are you paying cash or financing? Believe it or not financing is better from the dealer perspective than cash. The dealer gets an additional 2-4% of the finance amount from the lender as a kind of “finders fee”.

    3) Trade in’s. Some dealers do a better job of moving trade in than others. If they have a lot full of trade in’s you may not get that good of a deal on your trade in. Traditionally trade ins have a higher sales margin than new, (something in the 30-40 percent range), so it’s better in some cases for a dealer to be in the used trailer business that the new side.

    4) Getting the manufactures MSRP sticker on the unit. I have no idea why some dealers do not provide it. I have been to two who just look at you funny when you ask to see it. In a few cases a dealer will “mock up” one. Make sure it’s the original MSRP window sticker that is provided to every dealer.

    5) RV Shows - I have never heard someone who bought at an RV show who has been upset about the sale price. Shows in the beginning of the selling season, (Jan-March), and at the end of the selling season, (Aug-Oct), get the best sales prices.

    6) How long has the unit been on the lot. Believe it or not it makes a difference. The selling dealer does not “own” the unit. It is financed by a “flooring” company. This is a financial company that pays for his inventory from the manufacture to put the unit on the lot. In turn the dealer pays a percent of his total floored units, (around 2-3% a month), until the unit sells. So the landed cost of the RV can go up the longer it sits on the lot. t’s a continuing balance between “quick sale - lower margin” product and “hold and get higher margin” ones.

    Hope this helps.


    I posted this back in June. Since then I have re read it a few times. The most important thing I should stress is to determine what the true MSRP, (manufactured suggested retail price), is. With that you know how much percent off that number you are actually paying for the unit.

    The other issue that has raised its head lately is the “MAP” pricing of certain units. All manufactures do this, not just GD so don’t think I’m just picking on them. MAP stands for ‘minimum advertise price”. This is a way that dealers get additional funding, (both MDF and CO-Op), for units on their lots. That is to say the manufacture gives a certain amount of money to advertise the unit at a certain price, generally the MSRP. This is why if you go to some web sites the description of the unit will say something like “call for special pricing”. Thats a hint that that unit is a MAP unit.

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    Senior Member pauliwalnutz's Avatar
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    My personal experience from buying my current trailer is that it depends on the dealer. We shopped for over a year, visited 9 dealers, called a few others and went to the International RV show in Toronto. We knew the floor plan we liked so we compared prices on 24 different models (very similar length and floor plan) and got prices from about 16 or so dealers.
    * You get better discounts if you purchase what is already on the lot. Some dealers were charging full MSRP for an order whereas the ones on the lot were discounted.
    * Might not be an issue for you but you also get a much better price if you don't have a trade-in. Many of the dealers raised the advertised price when I informed them that I had a trade or they low-balled the trade-in. If they honored the advertised price that was on the internet or on their website then the trade value would drop by as much as 45%. I guess this is to make up for the risk they take on the trade but sometimes the difference was up to 12k for the exact same trailer with the exact same options.
    *It was very difficult to find a trailer that we liked, a dealer that provided a decent price on it and a fair price for the trade.

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    Senior Member pauliwalnutz's Avatar
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    25% off MSRP is right on the nose for the shopping that i've done and MAP pricing in definitely in effect for GD. My dealer informed that GD does not allow them to advertise a discounted price. I did have some dealers charge full MSRP but they would "buy-down" the financing rate but that wasn't enough to entice me.

    Financing rates was also another issue. Some dealers were up to 3% cheaper which makes a different on the bottom line also.

    Quote Originally Posted by mburtsvt View Post
    25-30% off MSRP is a good starting offer. There are a few other factors as well.

    1) Is it important to have a dealer near by - If so thats a cost you need to factor in. If you surf the internet you will find competitive prices all over the country.

    2) Are you paying cash or financing? Believe it or not financing is better from the dealer perspective than cash. The dealer gets an additional 2-4% of the finance amount from the lender as a kind of “finders fee”.

    3) Trade in’s. Some dealers do a better job of moving trade in than others. If they have a lot full of trade in’s you may not get that good of a deal on your trade in. Traditionally trade ins have a higher sales margin than new, (something in the 30-40 percent range), so it’s better in some cases for a dealer to be in the used trailer business that the new side.

    4) Getting the manufactures MSRP sticker on the unit. I have no idea why some dealers do not provide it. I have been to two who just look at you funny when you ask to see it. In a few cases a dealer will “mock up” one. Make sure it’s the original MSRP window sticker that is provided to every dealer.

    5) RV Shows - I have never heard someone who bought at an RV show who has been upset about the sale price. Shows in the beginning of the selling season, (Jan-March), and at the end of the selling season, (Aug-Oct), get the best sales prices.

    6) How long has the unit been on the lot. Believe it or not it makes a difference. The selling dealer does not “own” the unit. It is financed by a “flooring” company. This is a financial company that pays for his inventory from the manufacture to put the unit on the lot. In turn the dealer pays a percent of his total floored units, (around 2-3% a month), until the unit sells. So the landed cost of the RV can go up the longer it sits on the lot. t’s a continuing balance between “quick sale - lower margin” product and “hold and get higher margin” ones.

    Hope this helps.


    I posted this back in June. Since then I have re read it a few times. The most important thing I should stress is to determine what the true MSRP, (manufactured suggested retail price), is. With that you know how much percent off that number you are actually paying for the unit.

    The other issue that has raised its head lately is the “MAP” pricing of certain units. All manufactures do this, not just GD so don’t think I’m just picking on them. MAP stands for ‘minimum advertise price”. This is a way that dealers get additional funding, (both MDF and CO-Op), for units on their lots. That is to say the manufacture gives a certain amount of money to advertise the unit at a certain price, generally the MSRP. This is why if you go to some web sites the description of the unit will say something like “call for special pricing”. Thats a hint that that unit is a MAP unit.

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    pauliwalnutz is hitting the nail right on the head.

    The RV industry has taken several cues from the auto industry. I don’t want this to be a criticism of RV dealers or the industry as a whole. The people buying RV’s need to understand how they are sold and, and even more, priced.

    The bottom line is how much off the MSRP are you comfortable paying? Regardless of whatever additional “value” the dealer adds, (financing, on-site camping, expedited repair), the end user needs to feel they got a good deal.

    An all cash, no trade in deal should net a 25% discount from the MSRP regardless of the additional “value” added by the dealer.

    I’m getting ready to buy my 4th RV in the past 15 years. It will be the last one I buy. I will get the best deal for me - not the dealer. The dealers job will to make sure I feel that way.

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    I had an unusual experience when I purchased mine. The dealer gave me $10K more on my trade-in than NADA and other sources said it was worth. Overall, the price I paid with the trade in factored in was about what I expected. I still don't understand why they handled it that way, but I'm satisfied.

  8. #8
    Site Sponsor wrp75_CO's Avatar
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    Thanks, all! (I forgot to tell DW that I was making this post, and she found it by coincidence in a search!)

    Further background: no trade in, and if I want to stay local I have a grand total of 1 dealer from which to select. The good news is that the 25% off MSRP seems to match perfectly what we saw at the show- a 380TH at ~ $100K MSRP with a $75K price tag on it. I don't have a trade in, so that makes life a little easier.

    I do appreciate the note on it potentially shaving a few more % off if you finance. So long as there is no prepay fee, that sounds like an easy way to make it cost even less.
    Kermode and Ussuri Bruin (and their owners)
    2014 Ram Laramie Mega Cab 3500 DRW
    24K Pull-Rite SuperGlide Hitch
    2015 Momentum 380TH

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