Your RV Was Likely Slapped Together in 7 Hours (Or Less)

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New quickly built RVs for sale at an RV dealership

Usually, rushing the process on any project usually doesn’t end well. Unfortunately, many RV manufacturers have yet to buy into this idea.

In fact, one representative from a major manufacturer bragged on camera about how quickly they churn out RVs.

RVers may not like hearing it, but there’s a good chance workers put their rig together way too fast. And many people wonder why new RVs often have so many problems. I think we’ve found the reason.

Today, we’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at the process for manufacturing most RVs.

A Look Inside a Fast-Paced RV Factory

We recently stumbled across an interesting video created by John MacDonald, a member of Jayco’s marketing department.

While we didn’t expect creating an RV to be easy, his footage reveals it’s no walk in the park.

MacDonald takes viewers through building an RV from start to finish. As he explains each of the steps in manufacturing, you can see hurried workers in the background.

While it may appear like the footage was sped up, it’s most definitely not. Workers must complete their job at incredible speeds.

Are All Types of RVs Built This Fast?

The build processes for towable and drivable RVs are very different. However, many industries rely on a fast-paced assembly line for production.

Workers move incredibly fast to complete their specific jobs and have very little time to ensure things get done right.

However, it’s important to note that our experiences have been entirely in the towable market. We’ve never considered motorhomes, so we’ve never toured these manufacturing facilities.

It wouldn’t be fair for us to assume that just because it happens in the towable market that it’s also the same in the driveable market segment.

Do Manufacturers Still Build RVs This Quickly?

One could hope the process might have changed since MacDonald uploaded his footage nearly a decade ago.

Unfortunately, that’s most definitely not the case. We’ve seen more recent footage from the YouTube channel Changing Lanes revealing that nothing has changed.

We’ve participated in and seen footage from multiple RV manufacturers over the last several years. Unfortunately, what we saw in the factories aligned with what you can see in MacDonald’s and the Changing Lanes videos.

Almost every manufacturer that builds RVs requires workers to move at breakneck speeds to get their jobs done. Workers run around their workstations like they’ve had too many cups of coffee.

If not, they fall behind, hold up production, and risk losing their job.

Why Are Towable RVs Made So Quickly?

When making towable RVs, manufacturers don’t make money until the rigs get sent to dealers. This means the faster they can crank out RVs, the faster they can sell them to dealerships. 

During the peak of the boom in the RV industry, dealers sold many trailers before production had even started. Let’s look at why towable RVs get made so quickly!

Pro Tip: If you’ve never towed an RV, it can take some getting used to! If you’re new to towing, take a look at our RV Towing Guide for Newbies

A new RV being towed by a truck on the highway

Manufacturers Follow the Same Industry Formula

Almost every towable RV manufacturer uses the same industry formula to create their rigs.

They break up the process into various stages and stations where workers have a set amount of time to complete their job. It’s become standard for RVs and many other industries.

Like a chain, the process is only as strong as the weakest link. If a single worker or station cannot keep up with production, it messes up the entire process.

Unfortunately, far too many manufacturers are more content with addressing issues after the sale than creating the most reliable product. 

Some Components Are Prefabricated

Workers can work so quickly because of prefabricated parts. These include walls, chassis, slide boxes, valances, front caps, and many other components. RV manufacturers often have entire departments dedicated to assembling components.

In addition, many RV manufacturers have incredibly close relationships with suppliers. Some of these suppliers assemble or prepare parts and deliver them to the facility ready for installation in RVs.

By doing so, a manufacturer can drastically reduce the time it takes to produce a fully-functional RV.

New quickly built RVs for sale at an RV dealership

Workers Paid by the Units Built Per Day

Another reason for the fast-paced environment is the pay structure for workers. Most assembly line workers in the industry get paid per piece.

This means they make more money by producing more RVs. Like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, workers scream, “Show me the money!” to the manufacturers.

While this may seem like a bad idea, it’s one of the most effective and efficient ways to avoid the process taking longer than necessary. 

Without an incentive to crank RVs out quickly, production costs would increase as a job that takes 20 to 30 minutes could take an hour or more from a distracted and slow-paced worker.

Additionally, RVs get assembled so much faster than standard automobiles due to the lack of quality standards.

Manufacturers don’t have any legal repercussions for creating an inferior product. If RV manufacturers followed the same standards, there’s no way they could produce rigs as quickly as they do.

In addition, after decades of less-than-stellar production, many consumers have adjusted their expectations. Despite paying premium prices, they settle for inferior products.

Many know that even though they’re buying a brand new rig, they’ll likely have to make repairs and do a bit of their own quality control.

Keep in Mind: Is It Legal to Ride in the Back of a Fifth Wheel? Let’s find out.

Should These RV Factory Videos Concern You?

The production methods used in RV factories are extremely concerning. Not only can they result in sub-par products, but they can increase the risks for workers. 

We would love for RVs to have more care and attention during production. However, consumers should adjust their expectations for manufacturers and get used to paying premium prices.

Consumers can’t have their cake and eat it, too — at least until something changes.

Have you seen any concerning RV factory videos?

  1. Your article is why we very much appreciate our Ultra Brougham motor home from Regency RV. We have toured the Ft Worth, Texas factory. We have met the craftsmen that put it together, one piece at a time. They use high quality components and take great pride in what they produce.

  2. No doubt you’re referring to the Jayco company video tour, where at the end the guy brags “we make 36 of these units every day!” or whatever. Sticks and staples wrapped in tin units like this are truly the bottom of the pile for RV assembly quality.

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