Quality: The RV Industry's Dirty Secret » Bowlus Blog

Quality: The RV Industry’s Dirty Secret

Quality: The RV Industry’s Dirty Secret

There’s a disturbingly prevalent trend in the RV industry. After new RV owners take delivery, they notice the shoddy craftsmanship. Sometimes it’s immediately visible: the corner of the roof peels up, cabinets hang from their hinges or the upholstery is ripped. Other times it’s more innocuous, like a roof leak. No matter the severity, dealers will be quick to tell you that these issues “meet industry standards.”

In recent years, countless RVers have been dissatisfied with their purchases. As a result, hundreds of forums and resources have sprung up across the internet regarding the “lemon plight” of the RV industry. It’s no surprise that in a poll conducted by RVTravel, over 20% of readers stated they were not satisfied with the workmanship that went into their RV. So, what’s contributing to the declining standards of the RV industry? It’s not as simple as pointing fingers. Suppliers create RV parts which are sent to the manufacturers, who assemble the parts. They sell the finished product to dealerships. Within that supply chain, a lot can go wrong.

First, RV manufacturers build as quickly as possible with the cheapest materials available. Not only are they attempting to turn out hundreds of units per day, but the effects of rushed production are exacerbated by the lack of skilled, qualified employees. The result of all this corner-cutting is low-quality product that does not endure the test of time. In fact, very few RVs outlast their payments (which can last 10-20 years).

Manufacturers push their subpar inventory onto dealers. When unhappy consumers return to the dealership for much-needed repairs, there’s a lot of back-and-forth between dealers and manufacturers as to who’s responsible. Manufacturers have to decide whether to deny a dealer’s claim or provide reimbursement for the repair work.

Yikes. We can’t help wondering: what if they just did it right the first time?


The Bowlus Revolution

Bowlus works towards a different type of relationship with our owners. We’re leading the charge toward a more honest, authentic way of engaging with consumers by opting for a direct-to-consumer model. This means you cannot find a Bowlus at a traditional RV dealership. All purchases are made directly from us, and in our many years of production, very few Bowlus have exchanged hands.

Although we do purchase the highest quality sub-components available (such as the fridge, microwave and other appliances), most of your Bowlus is handcrafted and fabricated by our highly skilled craftspeople. Since Bowlus is responsible for both the manufacturing and selling, you get the highest quality travel trailer possible (in contrast to the manufacturer-dealership dynamic that dominates the RV industry). We ensure a level of quality control unrivaled in our industry because individual parts are fabricated in-house and meticulously assembled here. In other words, it go directly from us to your front door.

We do this by opting for honest materials: real birch, teak, stainless steel and aircraft-grade aluminum. In fact, much of our design is inspired by a heritage of aircraft construction. In the 1930’s, Hawley Bowlus, took what he knew about creating lightweight flying vehicles and used that knowledge to craft the world’s first ultralight aluminum travel trailer. Today, Bowlus continues that tradition of innovation and excellence. Each of our travel trailers is individually handcrafted and executed to exacting standards by our expert craftworkers.