Will there be a big market in China for RVs that are made in the U.S.? Time will tell, but the first sales are being made, trade delegations are making tours, and industry officials seem hopeful.
Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), told attendees at the recent National RV Trade Show that, “There is a very strong interest in the further development of the RV industry in China, where consumers with more disposable income and leisure time than ever before have shown an interest in RV ownership. That represents tremendous potential.”
Jayco has reportedly sold 50 RVs to China in the past two years, and Host RV in Bend, Oregon, recently sold a truck camper to a Chinese official. Host owner Dave Hogue said the buyer, who holds a post similar to mayor in China, already owned a Jayco fifth wheel, but thought a truck camper might be more maneuverable on Chinese roads. He spotted the Host Everest, a triple slide camper, on the Internet, and arranged for a cousin, a San Francisco flight attendant, to negotiate a deal.
Hogue said the buyer used cashier’s checks to pay $45,000 for the camper and $65,000 to buy a companion four-wheel-drive Ford F-450 truck from an Oregon Ford dealer. Hogue said he understands there is a 100 percent tariff to import the camper to China, so the total cost to the buyer, will be $90,00, plus shipping.
RVIA sent a delegation to China last year to explore interest in RVs. A trade mission from China attended the National RV Trade Show in Louisville at the end of November and then headed to Elkhart, Indiana, to visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame and other facilities. A few Chinese manufacturers have begun building RVs, but their products are considered inferior to RVs made in the U.S.