As people filed in and out of campers and motorhomes at this past weekend’s Moncton RV Show in Moncton, New Brunswick, many made a common observation.
“It’s nicer than my house,” said one woman, clearly stunned by the luxury she had just seen inside a vehicle retailing for $259,000, the Moncton Times & Transcript reported.
Ron Adams, of Petitcodiac, has an older model Ford Econoline camper, but he was at the Moncton Coliseum on Saturday, checking out the more than 180 trailers on display.
“We’ve been inside a few of them and a lot of them are more expensive than my house. I saw some motorhomes down there worth $300,000,” said Adams. “We don’t have a dishwasher at home, but some of these have dishwashers.”
Dishwashers are just the start. For people who haven’t been inside a high-end motorhome, it’s an awe-inspiring experience. Some have bedrooms large enough to have a recliner next to the bed. Several have so much room they have living room spaces set apart from the kitchen/dining room space.
“If you really want to rough it, you have your fireplace, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with DVD, CD, liquid television ranging from 19 inches to 40 inches, microwaves, king-sized beds and Serta mattresses,” said Robert Farquharson, service manager with Sackville Auto and RV Ltd. “Everything has gone luxury, but you can step down. That’s $150,000 (for a high-end model), but you can step down to $6,995 with a popup. It’s a huge range of prices.”
This weekend’s show was the ninth year and show manager Scott Sprague of Master Promotions expected about 7,000 people to come look at the RVs, which were parked all over the Moncton Coliseum in every space available. People walked among them like mice looking for a piece of cheese in a giant maze.
RV sales are actually on the rise in Canada, according to Go RVing Canada, which reports an 18% increase in sales for 2010. Last year, $3.7 million worth of product was sold at the Moncton event, proving this trade show does big business.
“At this event, we’ll generally sell 120-130 trailers for the weekend,” said Sprague, adding that with an average price of $30,000, they could approach $4 million in sales for the three-day event.
He said every price point is represented, starting with a $7,500 basic hard top and topping out at a $349,000 diesel motorhome.
“Every price point, every family size, retired couple or family of four,” he said.
The key to the show is that people can compare every type of RV and all the features during a single walkabout, instead of having to drive to different dealerships all over the region. Farquharson said people aren’t just window shopping.
“We’re here to sell product and people come ready to buy,” he said. “Folks come shop on Friday evening, come back on Saturday and shop and come back on Sunday and finalize a deal.”
While some of the higher-end machines can be pricey, payment plans and financing are available. Also, with the RV eliminating the need for a hotel or flight, the start-up costs are recouped with every vacation.
Adams said he loves the freedom his vehicle provides.
“We got out six or seven times last year, had a great time, so we’re just hear checking it out,” he said. “I just like getting away on the weekends, going to different places. A lot of people park it at campgrounds, but we’re in the RV going everywhere. It’s a good way to get to see the Maritimes.”
Scott Gude, Puma RV regional sales manager for northeast U.S. and Canada, traveled from Elkhart, Ind., for the Moncton show. He said owning an RV is a good way to enjoy the outdoors.
“It’s very family oriented and a lot of couples and their kids will go out on the weekends, take an RV and a lot of retired people travel through Canada and the U.S. in them,” he said. “It’s a less expensive alternative to staying in hotels and it’s the freedom everybody looks for, to get out on the road.”
The annual show comes at a good time, when spring is approaching and people are thinking about a warmer time and getting a break from snow and cold.
“There are 30-foot snowbanks out there and this place is full,” said Farquharson, of the Coliseum crowd. “People are itching to get out, buy stuff, get it to the campgrounds and start enjoying the outdoors. It’s been a huge, long winter.”