October '17

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18 • RV PRO • October 2017 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S That being said, Jayco's No. 3 spot was solid as the com- pany was outperforming the industry in the "hot" $40,000 to $60,000 price range and continues to be the top-selling fifth wheel in Canada, he says. Barth sees the Eagle in two distinct spots. For the HT (half-ton) Series, the goal is to pair Eagles with half-ton trucks – the most popular tow vehicle in North America. HT models end up falling into the $30,000 to $50,000 price range. The larger Eagle models end up in the $40,000 to $60,000 range. However, customization, such as adding a custom pin box or leveling system, is blurring the dividing line between these two versions. Barth believes that Jayco is more feature-rich and does more customization on fifth wheels than most man- ufacturers, which results in the RV maker offering consumers a wider product selection. However, another result is that it is hard to keep models below the $40,000 point, he points out. Millennials and Gen X buyers alike tend to be more demanding and end up with more "stuff " on their small fifth wheels. But to be sure, newer cus- tomers generally prefer smaller floorplans because it allows them to get into more private campgrounds, more state and national parks, and to fit in smaller driveways, Barth reports. Price creep is proving diffi- cult also because of supply line issues, according to Barth. "Many suppliers say the cost of doing business is much higher now because of issues with retaining employees," as workers moved to higher-paying jobs in vehicle assembly. "Some price increases pushed our way were more than we anticipated," he adds. Other self-imposed price increases, such as the decision to adopt U.S.-made Goodyear tires across the company for 2018 models, was anticipated and turned out to be a good decision, he adds. "Price creep is only important if our customer doesn't see the value in what we've added. We think the things we have added have been well received," he says. Barth says Jayco dealers are "seeing a real blend of younger buyers who are 'super hot' on small bunkhouses. They will take their kids on longer trips, are more highly mobile, and want generator prep optional to really cut the cord. "Our Millennial buyers are asking for things that would sound like sci-fi in years past. They want voice recognition, Jayco is seeing a growing demand for its Eagle and Eagle HT fifth wheels from Millennials. The RV maker is responding by adding high- tech features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth and HDMI.

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