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How Much Will RV Dealers Come Down On Price?

Published on June 5th, 2023 by Peggy Dent
This post was updated on June 24th, 2023

airstream at RV dealers

How Much Will RV Dealers Discount A New RV?

If you are in the market to buy a new RV, one of the most pressing questions you may be considering is: How much will an RV dealer come down on the price? You may be thinking you need to wait for the next RV show to get a good price, but that’s not necessarily true. After all, RV dealers need to sell multiple RVs every month to stay in business, and many factors—including the macroeconomic environment, seasonality, and location—will all play a huge part in how much they will (or won’t) discount the price.

During the pandemic, the demand for RVs skyrocketed. Interest rates were low and financing was readily available. However, RV manufacturers were struggling with unreliable supply chains, so they couldn’t keep up with dealers’ demands. This created an environment where dealers didn’t need to discount RVs because there were more buyers than RVs. During the pandemic, buyers had a choice: pay whatever the dealers were asking or do without.

Buying an RV in 2023-2024

Now, dealers’ lots have ballooned with new RVs. Manufacturers are producing RVs at pre-pandemic levels, interest rates have risen significantly, and lenders are more cautious, making it harder to finance luxury purchases. These changes in the industry, as well as changes in the macroeconomic environment (of tighter money, higher interest rates, and uncertainty about a looming recession), are dragging down RV sales.

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Since dealers still need to sell multiple RVs every month, these factors favor buyers, but higher interest rates and tighter money policies are also discouraging buyers. Therefore, if you’re still shopping for an RV in spite of these negative economic conditions, you’ll be a welcome sight on any RV lot, and you should be able to convert that to an advantageous discount.

How much of a discount can you get on an RV?

But the question remains, how much of a discount can you reasonably expect? To research this subject, I considered calling RV dealers and asking them that question. But it’s counterproductive for them to publish a discount rate. They might be willing to offer a deep discount today, but they certainly don’t want potential buyers showing up on their lots (from now until forever) with written documentation about their pricing policies.

My personal experience

My personal experience may shed some light on this subject since I purchased two new motorhomes two decades apart. I purchased my first motorhome in 1999 from an Oregon dealer. The Oregon salesman worked with us for over a year to make the sale, and he discounted the price $10,000 after applying an additional $10,000 in manufacturer’s rebates. Those two discounts totaled approximately 18% off the selling price.

Our second RV was purchased in 2019 from a Florida dealer who had it listed in an online publication for 20% less than the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). We were looking for a specific motorhome and determined that there were only three of these RVs for sale in the whole country, and only two were in the colors we liked. One of these was at a dealership in Florida, the other was in San Diego. Both the Florida and San Diego dealers listed the RV in the online listing with their discount already applied to the selling price, and neither would negotiate beyond that discount.

Since the Florida RV was about $6,000 less than the San Diego RV, we decided we could easily drive across the country for less than $6,000, and it was a great excuse to see more of the country. In summary, our 1999 Oregon purchase was discounted about 18%, and our Florida RV was discounted 20%, two decades later.

Reported discounts on RVs

But my personal experience is just an idiosyncratic example and may not always reflect how much RV dealers will come down on price. To answer this question, I decided to conduct an unscientific survey. Instead of asking RV dealers how much they typically discount RVs (knowing their answer would probably not be accurate), I decided to ask RV owners how much of a discount they got on their new RV purchases.

To help me understand the relevance of their answers, I asked them when and where they bought their RV and what discount percentage they were able to negotiate with their dealer. I also searched online for answers to this question and found some very enlightening (albeit jaded and cynical) responses on Reddit and other RV forums.

Here were the results from my unscientific survey:

  • When               Where                         What                          Discount
  • 1999                Oregon                        Rexhall                        18%
  • 2005                New Jersey                  Dutch Star                   28%
  • 2006                Delaware                     Vectra                         27%
  • 2014                Massachusetts            Outback 5th Wheel      24%
  • 2019                Florida                         Newmar                      20%
  • 2020*              Oregon                        Tiffin                            28%
  • 2021                Michigan                     Winnebago Class A     8%

*This RV was ordered and built in 2019 and not part of the pandemic madness

The average discount on RVs

Some of the contributors to the Reddit thread suggested that you firmly demand the dealer start with a 20% discount before you even begin the negotiation process, and the price should continue to fall from that point.

From my informal survey, it looks like a discount of 20% is a reasonable starting point. Some of the people I talked with said the dealers were quick to advance a discount of 20% or more, and the RV we bought from the internet had a 20% discount pre-applied to the selling price.

When & where are you buying an RV?

RV dealers are currently flush with inventory, and there are fewer customers now due to higher interest rates, limited financing options, and uncertainty in the economy. Therefore, dealers are more likely to negotiate better prices now than they were when there was a surplus of customers.

The season and region where you purchase an RV may also impact your ability to negotiate a deal. During the start of the RVing season, dealers are optimistic about selling their inventory and may be less inclined to offer significant discounts. Additionally, the price may be affected by the region’s seasonality.

The best season to buy an RV

Buying an RV in early fall in the Sun Belt may restrict how much of a discount you’ll get on your purchase because snowbirds travel to the Sun Belt in flocks for the winter, and many of them are in the market to upgrade their RVs. Fall and winter are the peak seasons for dealerships in Sun Belt states. Conversely, buying an RV north of the Mason–Dixon line between October and May might result in larger discounts because it’s the off-season for RVing in the northern states.

Another factor that can influence the discount you receive on your RV purchase is when the new models are scheduled to arrive on the dealers’ lots. Like cars, dealers are often willing to offer larger discounts on old models to make room for the new inventory.

How to get a discount at the dealership

  • If possible, develop a relationship with a salesperson.
  • Find an RV that meets your needs but is not one of a kind. 
  • Be mindful of seasonality in your region of the country.
  • Check to see if the manufacturer is offering a discount.**
  • Know when the new models are scheduled to arrive.
  • Know beforehand how much you can afford (or finance).
  • Have a price and discount in mind.
  • Be firm, but fair, in your negotiations.
  • Be willing to walk away if the dealer won’t negotiate in earnest.

** Newmar is currently offering a $15000 manufacturer rebate

Get tips from other RVers

After you buy your new RV, please circle back to this blog on Camper Report and let us know in the comments what you bought and what percentage discount you received on your purchase.

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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1 thought on “How Much Will RV Dealers Come Down On Price?”

  1. We bought a new Cornerstone left over 2022 , late production date 10-22 in February of 23 and recieved a 32.8 % discount off msrp of 845,000.

    Reply

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