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Is There A Nationwide RV Shortage?

RVs at dealership - is there an RV shortage?

Is There A Nationwide RV Shortage?

Summer is in full swing, and if you don’t already own an RV, you may be waiting for quite a while to snag one. Dealerships are telling customers that it may take anywhere from 2 to 6 months for RVs to come in.

RV dealers across the nation are experiencing an RV shortage. What were once lots filled to the brim with trailers and motorhomes are now nearly empty. Dealerships are selling units faster than they can park them on the lot.

A number of factors contribute to this unprecedented shift in supply and demand, nearly all stemming from the pandemic.

High consumer demand

RVing gained popularity during the pandemic and continues to be in high demand. According to a survey conducted by rental marketplace RVezy, most participants ranked RVing as the safest mode of travel and vacation. They classified it as a low-risk activity compared to staying in a hotel or resort.

“RV travel is an activity where families can go places together with their own things (bed, bathroom, kitchen, etc.) and not have to wonder about who else may have slept there, sat there, or touched the TV remote. It’s a great way to get a change of view with a little peace of mind.”
RV Wholesale Superstore

Supply chain disruption

Like many other RV dealers across the country, Terry Frazer of Terry Frazer’s RV Center in Eldridge, Iowa, has seen an astronomical upswing in RV sales. However, while the increase in sales has been jaw-dropping, the pandemic has left a trail of problems in its wake.

“The issue we’re facing now is getting products. There’s shortages,” said Frazer.

Whether it’s a direct link to labor shortage or speed of production, many parts are being manufactured in lower quantities or not at all. With the pandemic came altered work hours and shifts and a reduction in the workforce. The result was a problem in RV assembly and completion. RVs can’t be approved for sale if they are missing windows, a hitch, or another necessary part.

In addition, while most RVs are made in the United States, many components are shipped from overseas. Fewer international shipments have touched shore or have been delayed due to cautionary pandemic measures.

Learn more about the RV shortage

Manufacturers and dealerships are hoping that this state of limbo will soon pass, with signs of the pandemic nearing an end. That way, they can go back to doing what they do best: make and sell RVs to travel enthusiasts.

The following news clip from CBS Evening News reports on the upswing in RV sales, RV shortage situation, and cases of already booked campgrounds this summer.

For more insight and thoughts on the RV shortage, like this discussion on computer chip shortages affecting RV stock, chat with other RVers on iRV2 forums, the friendliest online RV community.

Author Natalie Henley Avatar

Natalie Henley

Natalie Flores-Henley and her husband, Levi Henley, workamp around the country in their 26-foot motorhome. Along with writing for RV magazines, they recently published their first book together, Seasonal Workamping for a Living: How We Did It. They share their experiences and RV-related tips on their own blog as well as videos on their YouTube Channel, also called Henley's Happy Trails.

56 thoughts on “Is There A Nationwide RV Shortage?

  1. Certainly, a parts shortage but no new RV shortage. Quite the contrary, lots are full, and people are about to quit buying. Don’t believe it, take i-95 thru Virginia.

  2. We have been waiting since November for an A/C unit AND an electric awning for our Class C Winnebago. We can live without the awning, but no camping in South Carolina without that A/C!

  3. We’re a small independent dealer that typically carries between 100-150 new/used in Arkansas. We have been down to roughly 40 new/used since October of 2020 and the majority of those are used. Of course the manufacturers are going to supply the biggest chains with inventory, i.e. Camping World/Gander RV while the small independent dealers and our customers have to work with “left overs”. 8/23/2021 and we currently have FIVE new travel trailers, THREE 5th wheels, ZERO motorhomes and ONE toy hauler. I can assure you that there is a shortage for the average Joe.

  4. As I read every comment below, I am in the camp of “Not a Shortage”. We just got back from a 7 week trek from Georgia to New Mexico and Colorado, back across OK, AR MS, AL and back Home, and I couldn’t even count the number of dealerships we saw with full lots ( I quit counting after 20). Didn’t talk to any. Out of boredom of riding, I started counting the number of RVs on the road. Not counting Semi’s, there was 1 out of every 10 vehicles pulling an RV. I was shocked by this number. So I did it for days, even if we were parked by a highway, I would count the number of RV’s going down the road. The time of day was during the most prominent time to pull an RV. We pull a 37′ 5th wheel, and I had most of our trip booked, but there was a few times I had to make reservations because of cancellations of parks and I didn’t have the last of our trip planned out. We had no trouble finding campsites to make reservations. Most popular sites were booked, but we weren’t looking for a crowd. I think everyone was tired of being cooped up and wanted to go to places that were safe. (no Covid contamination worries). I too think after Covid, there will be a gluttony of RV’s for a song. Cause RVing isn’t for everyone.

  5. There is no shortage in SoCAL, Anaheim has its lots full as well as San Diego. This probably a marketing scheme to get people to buy… Good Luck on finding a campground, that is the actual shortage….

  6. As I travel across the country I see RV dealers everywhere with hundreds of RV’s! The smaller Rv dealers may have as few as 20-30 but the larger ones are not short.

    Now there must be a way for these Rv dealers to work together to form a nationwide inventory so that someone looking for a particular type or style can find one without a long wait. They may have to travel across the country but that is a decision each buyer must make on their own.

    Quit posting these deceptive stories! Do some research!

    1. There are dealers with sellable inventory, but the ones in the PNW do not have much, if any “For Sale”. Yes, there are units on the lot, but they have been sold and are waiting for Dealer Prep and Delivery. I am on a Facebook group for my trailer’s product. Folks are traveling 1500 miles or more to pick up their desired model from a dealer that happens to have one in stock and available. Then they find, that unlike cars and trucks… few dealers will do the warranty work for a trailer not bought from them. I was lucky and bought my trailer in October of 2019… and then had it side-swiped by a driver that fell asleep at the wheel. Over a year later and I am still dealing with the claim. Why? Parts availability.

    1. Sandra, have your received your Rockwood mini lite yet. We have not and ordered ours around the same time. We got the 2511S

  7. Yes it is very sad to see that a lot of companies are using Covid-19 to gouge consumers. It seems to be happening across many industries, not just RV’s. I purchased wainscot panels in November of 2020 for some RV remodeling that I’m doing. They were $54.00 for a 4 pack of 32″ x 48″ sheets from the Home Depot. I went to purchase more in June 2021 and they were priced at $129.00 for the same package. What had Trump said about companies doing this? It would not be tolerated? Hmmmm.

  8. My wife and I have just returned from a 3 month trip, and I have seen dealers across the country, some with little to no inventory, some with what appears to be quite normal. I am of the opinion, that this is due to management and buying forecasting. After touring one of the manufacturing facilities, they produce 5th wheels complete in about a week. After spending several days in Elkhart, there are many manufacturers with full inventory lots, some wiring for a few last minute things like furnaces, others just waiting for transport…..So this is quite a deceiving article, and must be based on limited research.

    1. I am in agreement with you. My neighbor just bought a new RV for less than a used one after negotiating. The dealer seemed very motivated to sell.

  9. We observe lots here in Texas and have been RV’ers since 1967. Inventory may appear to be heavy but we can state we have never seen the lots so empty of inventory. Our front A/C went out (low profile) and have 3 different groups looking for a replacement and none to be had until September. Pretty hot in the summer to not have a second a/c.

  10. RV is such a generic term. Lots full with what? Class A, Class B, Class C, Fifth Wheel, Bumper Pull? As someone who has actively researched and recently put a deposit down on a specific Class C, there is a shortage of this brand/model across the nation. As I track the progress of my unit, it has been held up for parts shortages. Mine was held for awnings and furniture foam. And I can tell you from personal first hand experience, dealers in Washington and Oregon that I dealt with are unwilling to come off of MSRP by more than a couple thousand dollars when last year, before Covid, 20% off MSRP was the norm. My daughter and son-in-law have also been actively searching for a specific brand of travel trailer. Also sold out everywhere and the Washington/Oregon dealers are unwilling to come off MSRP for their specific trailer so they are waiting until next year to see what the market does. What goes up….

  11. Maybe the manufacturers got together on this one in the onset of Covid. We have a DP motorhome and I was going to replace it with a new Montana HC. A little over 6 months ago the 2021 were still being produced but the factory was way behind and the dealership was waiting for delivery. Now the factory is catching up and producing the 2022 model but upped the price for the same model $18000. I think I’ll pass on a new one with all the fix it headaches that come with it and wait until someone wants to unload the one the don’t use.

  12. I do believe there is a crimp in the supply chain for most everything, not just RV’s.
    I also see the RV lots looking full, however, I am shopping for a smaller travel trailer, of which none are on the lots. It seems that mostly the high end RV’s are populating the lots and a lot of people can’t afford them, or want something smaller for whatever reason.
    Last, it has become a constant battle to find spots in campgrounds, state parks, and RV resorts. No more can you go out for the weekend on a whim. I have booked my travel for this summer last November. It’s truly frustrating

  13. RV service and replacement parts are in serious short supply, RV’s for sale not so much. Everywhere the lots are full in Central Florida except specific brands. Smaller units seem to be hot right now.

    1. It depends on the location. Here in northern New England the inventory is very short and dealers can’t keep stock.

  14. All hype, on our current road trip from Seattle to Houston to San Antonio and return, every RV dealer we have seen is full ! Diesel fuel is plentiful, and reasonable in the midwest to the south. The price gouging is in the west coast, especially California and Washington.

  15. All of those sitting RV’s are probably sold but missing parts so they can’t be delivered. The supply chain is broken

  16. No evidence of a shortage in Idaho. Maybe because everyone in Idaho that might afford an RV already had one pre pandemic.

    I predict a big glut of used RVs next spring when things are back to normal and the newbies appreciate the upkeep required to own an RV. Followed by a glut of new RVs.

  17. Plenty RV around here at dealers. Probably not what most people are wanting. Also I agree with others that when fuel gets more expensive there will be plenty of RV for sale then.

  18. Doesn’t seem to be a shortage of RV’s here in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I believe sales have been good and more families are camping. I don’t blame them, it’s a great way to travel with a family. It is very hard to find good techs and the advice above to be a do-it-yourself is good. You can’t blame dealers for taking care of their own customers first. We are in the market for a small 5th wheel or bumper pull to camp during the summer and will wait for that glut of used campers in the next year or two.

  19. I am concerned that with fuel supply shrely to down with so many lost producing areas now with the new governments green attack, the prices per gallon will go to $8-10 and that will shut down the RV industry and Road travel by next year.

  20. I travel just outside the Tampa city limits all the time. There are at least four HUGE rv dealerships along this route on I-4. They are always filled to overflowing with new rv’s. The industry is lying. There is a glut of these things.

    1. Visited the Dealer, looking for a 36′ DP … had 2 on the lot … Sorry, many are Sold or for service … Looks are deceiving!

  21. RV shortage – in spots and for particular brands/models. RV parts – select items as most parts are going into new sales RVs. Service – one had better be mechanically inclined. Techs are in short supply – staying home and collecting unemployment. Most service activities are devoted to new sales RVs. Sales will eventually slow and I predict a glut of resales – don’t like rving, can’t get reservations for limited summer periods when kids are out of school, etc. RV shortage – lots of hype and unsubstantiated.

  22. We just came back from a trip starting in Connecticut to a southern Route on I 40 to Sedona, I 15 and others Thur NM, AZ, NV, UT, CO, KS, IN, PA and all dealers were full except Airstream.

  23. In Florida there is a shortage of new motorhomes. Used units are gone in a week. Premium sites at nice campgrounds are booked a year or more in advance.

  24. I have been from Quartzsite up to Dallas Fort Worth and on to NW FL this year. Now I am near Nashville. Every dealership I have passed has a full lot of rv’s. I think the industry wants the public to think there is a shortage. Personally I haven’t seen it.

  25. In my occasional highway trips (I just returned Monday) I pass four large RV dealers. All of them are full to overflowing with RVs, mostly new.
    I did receive an email from my dealer expressing an interest in my motorhome. I said no thanks.

  26. We have travelled from utah thru 9 other states during the past 2 plus weeks. EVERY RV dealer we passed had a lot FULL of units . I do not believe there is a shortage!

  27. To be honest, from what we have seen, most dealer lots seem to be full. I think there are certain brands which may be scarce, but there seem to be a lot of available units on the lots (as seen from the road).

  28. I keep reading that the RV manufacturers and dealers are building and selling record numbers of RV last year and are on track to sell a new record number this year. We travel all the time in our RV (we move every 3-5 days). We are NOT seeing more RVs on the road. In fact, we are seeing fewer RVs on the road. We constantly are counting the numbers we see and how far we drive between seeing RVs. I’m sorry, but I’m not convinced they are setting new records. If they are selling so many, where are they? In addition, only twice in the last 2 years has any of the campgrounds been sold out. Please help me understand. I’m just not believing it.

  29. “Empty…. across the nation.” One dealer in Iowa does not make a nationwide sample. Where is your data and research? And you want me to trust CBS? I’ve seen some lots with many RV’s so not all are empty.

  30. I have read there is no shortage of shoddy workmanship as disreputable manufacturers throw units together in order to make tons more money.

  31. I am truly getting tired of hearing about this purported RV shortage, and empty RV lots at dealers everywhere!

    I just spent the last eight weeks traversing the east coast, Florida to Georgia to North Carolina to Virginia, Pennsylvania to New York.

    I can confirm there is a tremendous shortage of reservations to be had in campgrounds on Friday/Saturday nights.

    But there is absolutely NO SHORTAGE of RV’s available for sale or purchase. We passed lot after lot of dealerships OVER FLOWING with available for sale or purchase units!

  32. the dealers we pass on our trek across the country tell me there are lots of units for sale
    sales are certainly up but so is the supply chain sitting on acres of sales lots all over.
    it may not be this years model, but it will be new ready to go

  33. With factories shut down, the inventory went way down and demand went way up. It will take some time but the RV industry will rebound. Only issue I am seeing is that folks who bought last year, are beginning to unload their RV as they didnt realize the upkeep on them. My local dealers I visit, have a huge used inventory. I was looking for a 5er and just to see my trade, WAY LOW trade value so I guess I will keep it for awhile.

  34. We were down in Myrtle Beach this past February, Myrtle Beach State Park specifically and there were several large RV dealers whose lots appeared to be overflowing with choices… RV’s and Trailers sooooooooo… when one speaks of shortages are we referring to new sales wherein folks require their own build sheet or what? I mean, I suppose if you wanted “hot pink” there’s a wait but if you’re up for whatevers on the floor there appeared to be no shortage in the Myrtle Beach area.

  35. Seems like every Camping world we’ve driven by in the last 3 months (3 of them) have been loaded with RVs so what’s up with that? People just don’t want to but from them?

    1. Marcus Lemonis publicly stated over a year ago that he did not want the business of anyone who voted for Donald Trump, nor did he even want them in his dealerships. I said OK. Of course he backtracked, but too little, too late. I’ll never spend another dime at CW.

      1. Yes I want be in there store also.
        Some Walmart have a good RV supplies and accessories for RV’s

  36. I’ve read and heard that there is a dramatic RV shortage this summer. I’m not sure how my personal experience supports this. I passed Gander RV in New York and their parking lot was absolutely full, even the aisles were blocked. The same with every Camping World I’ve passed. Yes, there were several ‘smaller’ sales places with less than a full inventory, but they were the exception, not the rule.
    I am a full-time RVer in a class A motorhome and, again, my experience suggests RV parks are not overbooked or full beyond years past. This past winter and spring I’ve travelled to 11 states in 12,000 miles and I continue to think the “news” continues to contrive crisis in order to increase viewership. I agree the industry is stressed, but ‘in crisis’, no, I don’t think so.

  37. So, the question was, “is there a shortage”.
    I don’t think so, at least not in Idaho. Lots are full with off site lots full as well.
    Manufactured shortage, just like the rental car shortage.

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