March '19

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12 • RV PRO • March 2019 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S survey, which found that larger RVs – as measured by the number of sleeping areas – are the most popular rental units, according to survey respondents. Some 40 percent of dealers said units with at least four sleeping areas are the most popular, while 27 percent said at least six sleeping areas was the most popular floorplan. Another 24 percent said units with at least two sleeping areas were the most popular. Rental units are indistinguishable from units built for normal retail sale, so the manufacturing process does not change, Katzenberger says. He adds that dealers tend to order entry-level models with few options: They're looking to avoid potential quality issues in their rentals, so single-slide units would be more desirable than units with multiple slides, for example. Forest River, which has built Class C's for rental purposes since its formative years, offers no inducement to dealers who opt to turn their wholesale purchases into rentals. However, some chassis suppliers, such as Ford Motor Co., offer rebates to dealers who do so, according to Katzenberger. He estimates that about 10 percent of his division's C ship- ments were destined for rentals in 2018. He says he foresees that share growing to 15 percent to 18 percent in 2019, as some former clients are returning. "I've had a lot of groups (dealers and agencies) contact me," he says. In January, when he was interviewed for this story, he was finalizing orders for the year. He projects 2019 rental produc- tion will total 1,000 units. In addition, some units meant for retail sale may end up as rentals once they hit the dealers' lots, so the size of the nation's rental fleet could be understated, Katzenberger suspects. Because many young families want to rent a Class C, RV makers say it's important to be able to offer sufficient sleeping accommodations, so bunk models are popular. Pictured here is Sunseeker 3250LE. Kary Katzenberger, national sales manager for Forest River's Sunseeker/Forester brands, oversees the company's ordering process for Class C rentals from dealers and rental groups. He projects the company's 2019 rental production will total 1,000 units, which would represent an increase of about 40 percent from 2018. continued from page 10

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