If you’re an RVer who’s been staring out the window looking for the delivery truck or sitting by the phone waiting for a call from the repair shop, you’re not alone these days. Various issues have introduced some serious jams in the supply chain for everything from machine parts to children’s toys. So what exactly is going on here?
Waiting on RV Repairs? Be Prepared to Wait Longer
The upshot for RV owners who need a hard-to-find part to repair their rig is that they better get comfortable—the wait could go on for quite a while. Even RV dealers are delivering this message.
Speaking to WJHL-TV, A & L RV Sales founder Larry Stove said, “It started off with air conditioning units. Nobody wants an RV without an air conditioning unit… it’s just mushroomed, from one thing to another that they can’t seem to get, or get it on time, in order to get us the inventory we need.”
Others told WJHL they expect demand to outpace supply for the next several years. It’s a trend without an end in sight at the moment.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Continue
These supply chain snags are linked to supply chain disruptions starting in early 2020. When businesses closed for a short period, they got seriously behind in production.
Many small businesses that supplied manufacturers with products had to close down because they had no work. Others have struggled to ramp up production due to a serious deficit in the workforce.
It’s not just a U.S. problem. As you might expect, many RV parts (as well as countless other items) come from overseas. Unfortunately, America’s ports–particularly on the West Coast–are struggling to fill positions with qualified workers, meaning cargo ships often have to wait to unload.
Even worse, there aren’t enough truckers and other personnel to transport the items once landed, leading to long waits in port facilities.
Overall, the supply chain disruptions are simply a long chain of events that are compounding on each other to create a bigger issue.
Keep in Mind: We’ve looked at it, and 2021 could be the worst time to buy an RV.
It’s Not Just RV Repair Times Being Affected
If you or anyone you know has shopped for an RV in the past year or so, you’ll likely have experienced the booming market for used rigs. Without parts to build new RVs, owners who want to upgrade will either have to find a used model or simply wait and hold onto their current RVs.
Many have made the latter decision, which has contributed to a far lower inventory of used RVs. And when new RVs ship out, someone has likely already purchased them, so the market remains tight.
As a result, you might have heard the advice to wait to buy a new RV. Prices are still high, so it might be a good idea.
Supply Chain Disruptions Keep RV Prices Sky High
While government organizations and businesses work to ease the backlog, it remains a major issue right now. Without necessary parts arriving from overseas, RV manufacturers can’t complete their builds of new models. And with far fewer new models hitting the market, simple supply and demand will dictate prices continuing to soar as interest in RVs climbs.
In part, these high prices reflect expectations about the future, with dealers and private sellers both expecting their products to remain popular and scarce both now and in the months to come.
How Long Are These Disruptions Expected to Last?
It’s hard to tell exactly how long it might take to solve these disruptions and clear the backlog. Many factors, including the labor market and demand, will impact how soon things return to normal.
Unfortunately, experts think it could be six months to a year or more before the supply chain crisis is over. This means delays will last well through the holiday season and into the spring and possibly summer 2022, when RV demand will once again peak.
However, the supply chain can be unpredictable, and businesses are doing their best to adapt. Innovative companies may be able to source their parts domestically or find alternative solutions before the traditional supply chain rights itself.
Keep In Mind: Everything has a ripple effect. Find out what else has been changing in the RV industry.
Will RV Sales and Prices Return to Normal in 2022?
Anyone holding out for lower RV prices next year may find themselves waiting longer than expected. Even once RV parts begin to arrive more regularly, manufacturers will need time to build new models, a process that can take from six weeks to a few months.
Only once this process becomes more regular will prices begin to stabilize as more supply meets with the surging demand. Of course, whether RV prices ever return to pre-2020 “normal” is another issue, with the pandemic dramatically expanding the world of RV owners, potentially for the long term.
Increase in RV Life Interest Coupled with Supply Chain Issues Doesn’t Look Great for Eager RVers
Getting started in RV life can be difficult even in the best of times. Unfortunately, it appears the supply chain snafus will continue for the near future, making things even more difficult.
Still, don’t get discouraged. With some flexibility, a solid budget, and the ability to act quickly, it’s still possible to secure the rig of your dreams, even during a supply chain nightmare.