March '17

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rv-pro.com March 2017 • RV PRO • 29 "The allure of the product is something you can imagine working out of or living out of," he says, while citing the "tiny house" movement that is gaining traction across the U.S. Since the initial launch, MSRPs on the RUVs have crept up a bit, from the low-$70s into the mid-$80s, but Krider says this is "not a relatively high percentage increase," given the technological upgrades in the latest models. "For the consumer we're going after, it's not just that you can pay $80,000 for a motorhome. It's the look, the feel, the emo- tional response." Building Upon Success At the 2015 Elkhart Open House, TMC unveiled two more RUVs: the Gemini and Compass, built on either the Ford Transit or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. "As we looked at the overall fuel economy on the Axis and Vegas, there is just so much you can get out of a gas-powered motorhome. Diesel (chassis) give you more towing capability, a different look and feel, and more of a traditional automotive layout," Krider says. The new Class C chassis option expanded the RUV's appeal. According to Thor, "RUVs continue to draw new people to the RV lifestyle and eliminate the shortcomings of a traditional SUV by providing a fully-functional living environment with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and sleeping areas in a 25-foot or less package." All RUVs are equipped with a slide-out. The 24TX Gemini and Compass models feature two slides. Without slides, consumers would likely shop for a Class B model instead, Krider says. The Axis and Vegas remain Thor's top-selling RUVs, with the two models representing about 75 percent of the RUV sales, according to Stat Surveys. However, the Compass and Gemini will likely close that gap somewhat as more dealers (and consumers) gravitate to the smaller models. Meanwhile, TMC continues to upgrade its RUV lineup. For 2017, now standard on all the Axis and Vegas models are a lighted step well, a 12-volt MaxxAir attic fan with Fanmate vent cover, an exterior 32-inch LED TV on a manual swivel, and a bedroom TV. Likewise, Compass has added two new floorplans, the 23TB and the 24TK, while Gemini has added the 23TB for 2017. RUVs Unique to TMC Despite the rapid success of the RUV, the concept remains unique to TMC. "This is more or less a Thor deal," says Tom Walworth, pres- ident of Stat Surveys. "It's not brought into other parts of the industry. It's not an industry term, as far as I can see." For this reason, Stat Surveys doesn't break out units using the RUV nomenclature and likely won't as long as Thor is the sole OEM to use the marketing term, Walworth says. Instead, Stat Surveys is able to track RUV sales based upon RV sales of units badged as Axis, Compass, Gemini or Vegas motorhomes. Walworth says that, based upon tracked sales of those four

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