Can a Cheaper RV Actually be Higher Quality? Why Some RV Manufacturers are More Expensive Than Others

Written by: Becki Johnson

Why are RVs from some manufacturers more or less expensive than others
Find out Why Different Manufacturers RVs’ are Priced Differently

While shopping for RVs, you may have noticed that RVs from different manufacturers don’t cost the same – even for similar RVs. You may want to know, Why do some RV manufacturers or brands cost more? 

With years of experience in the RV industry, we’re here to help it make more sense and help you understand what different manufacturers provide so you can make an informed decision when you buy your next RV.


Why are RVs From Some Manufacturers More Expensive?

Every manufacturer has different quality control and inspections done. Each of these steps costs the manufacturer in time and labor, so some costs may show up in the price tag of your RV.

Only you can decide how important these different steps are to you and if you want to pay for them. 

Grand Design RV, for example, performs inspections throughout the manufacturing process and then another final inspection when the RV is complete.

Rather than shipping the camper to the dealer at this point, as some manufacturers do, Grand Design sends the RV to another pre-delivery inspection (known as PDI). Here they go over a 300+ point checklist to make sure the RV is road ready before it goes to a dealer.

Jayco has also started doing PDI for all it’s new RVs.

These PDI facilities and processes add expense, time, and labor costs to the manufacturing process. All this adds up and can raise the price of an RV.

Buying an RV with fewer inspections may cost less up front, but you may take more risk that you’ll pay more in service and lose time repairing your RV later.

But, it’s also important to ask:

Does Higher Price Always Equal Higher Quality? (Spoiler Alert: No!)

Buyer beware! There are times a pricier RV is the best quality, but you can’t always trust that higher price guarantees higher quality in an RV. 

The Go Play RV is one example of a well-built camper that will cost you thousands less than nearly identical campers. These RVs cost less because Bish’s has lowered overhead & labor costs and cut out any middlemen. Learn more about why you’ll pay less for more with a Go Play camper.

Jayco Jayflight travel trailers are another top-quality RV that is priced very reasonably.

Jayco builds so many of this top-selling campers that they can get bulk discounts on building materials. Bulk discounts make it less expensive to build the RV while keeping the build-quality high.

Asking about the “top selling” RVs for the class/tier you’re interested in can help you find a good deal on a quality trailer. See the top RVs in these categories:

Manufacturers also have something called a BOM (Bill of Materials). The BOM is every component, feature, and material used to build your RV. When the BOM is the same across enough units, the manufacturer can get bulk discounts that lower the price of your RV.

Possible Downside of Bulk-Built RVs

Bulk buying building materials decreases cost, but there can be a downside. When a manufacturer has bulk bought RV parts they’ll either need to use up extra supplies or they lose cash on the cost of products they can’t use.

Buying a lot of one RV part can sometimes limit the modernization of a manufacturers RVs. If a manufacturer purchases 10,000 couches and that couch quickly goes out of style, or can’t fit in a new floor plan, the manufacturer is left with the remaining couches – as an example. 

Factory Automation Lowers RV Building Costs

Some manufacturers have invested in automation at their factories. These dealers become more efficient and have fewer building errors.

All this can make your RV cost less – even as its quality improves!

Grand Design and Winnebago have been leaders in RV factory automation.

Thor Industries is also building the first automated, laminated RV side-wall factory. Be on the lookout for for better quality and lower prices from this manufacturer.

How Online RV List Prices Work

Manufacturers have different rules about the prices dealers can display for products advertised online.

Grand Design and Winnebago RVs must be advertised online for MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price).

Alliance, Jayco and Keystone RVs have a set MAP (minimum advertised price).

Other manufacturers like Forest River, that produces the Cherokee, Greywolf, Salem and Wildwood brands, have no pricing restrictions dealers need to follow.

Why Some RVs Don’t Have Their Real Price Online

Manufacturer rules about online prices mean RV dealers may have RVs that list the price as “too low to show” or “inquire for price.”

While this may seem like a sales gimmick, it means the manufacturer won’t allow the dealer to list a price below MSRP or MAP price.

Dealers would actually love to tell you their price, since the actual, lower, price helps them sell more RVs! Don’t be afraid to click the button or reach out to the dealer for a better deal. 

Clicking the too low to show button will connect you with an RV Outfitter who can provide an even lower price.

Want to get the lowest possible final price for your RV? Learn more about online RV list prices so you don’t fall for dealer tricks or how you can avoid surprise, hidden fees when you buy an RV.

Buying Your RV

There is a lot to consider when you buy an RV. Now that you know more about how and why prices can change between different RV manufacturers you will have a better idea if you’re getting a good deal for an RV you love.

If you have more questions or would like help finding the best RV for you, reach out anytime. The RV experts at Bish’s RV love to help out!

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At Bish’s we believe buying an RV should be the start of your adventure – not a stressful slog. You’ll find no hidden/surprise fees, free service benefits, and a one-of-a-kind 72-hour return guarantee to make sure you can feel confident you bought the right RV.

Read all about the difference of buying from Bish’s to decide for yourself if we’re a good fit for your next RV purchase.

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becki johnson at bish's rv

Becki Johnson

Bish’s RV Content Editor & Writer

20+ years in the RV industry and a lifetime around RVs has convinced me that nature is a lot better with a comfortable bed and working bathroom.

I love to use what I’ve learned to help RVers find the best RV for the best possible price.