March '17

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28 • RV PRO • March 2017 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S Fad or Favorite? While the Axis and Vegas RUVs debuted to strong acclaim, nothing was guaranteed in terms of whether the product cate- gory would take hold with dealers and consumers. Now, with the passage of time, the RUVs place in the market seems secure. Data from market data firm Statistical Surveys shows that sales have soared from 20 in 2013 to 1,494 through November 2016 (see Figure 1 at left). In retrospect, Thor's timing in pioneering the RUV concept in 2013 was well-timed. The motorized segment was rebounding from the Great Recession and dealers were looking for something new at the time. The Axis and Vegas created quite a buzz at the September event (one trade magazine even dubbed them "The RV of the Year"). Krider says TMC made the right call in opting for the Ford E-350 over competing chassis for the initial launch. "We knew not only would the chassis have to be smaller, but it had to hit a price category younger people could afford. Ford also offers good roadside assistance. The E series is smaller than the F series but it gives more freedom, and with that 14,000- pound chassis, you can put more things in it." TMC market research clearly pointed to the evolutionary push toward the next generation of people who camp and use motorized vehicles that are going to be looking for a new type of RV, according to Krider. Compared to the Axis and Vegas, the Compass RUV motorhome (pictured) and its sister product, Gemini, look more like a Class C motorhome. The Compass and Gemini are built on the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. Figure 1 'RUV' Retail Sales: 2013-2016* 2013 ........... 20 2014 ......... 636 2015 ....... 1,061 2016 ..... 1,494* *Sales through Nov. 30, 2016 Note: All sales represent RUVs built by Thor Motor Coach 0 300 600 900 1200 1500 2013 2014 2015 Source: Statistical Surveys 2016

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