Me in 2005: “Ideas for Building RVs in China”. I figured that the Chinese would be able to build competitive basic motorhomes at prices lower than what American firms charge because so much hand labor is involved.
(On the blog post associated with this, a reader was way ahead of the curve:
I think you are drawing the market too narrowly by saying that your product is “Intended for a married couple with two children to go camping.” What about shooting for a market that includes “a family of four to go camping”, which could include gay and lesbian couples and their kids? I would think they would be equally, if not more, likely to want to camp (a gay friend of mine recently spent a weekend at a “gay” campground in Texas) as straight folk. However, they would not fall within your “married” categtory because they are not married, due to homophobic folk in their home states who fear that to permit that would lead to the demise of the straight marriage. Please excuse the brief political rant, but my main point is, no need to target such a narrow market.
Today she would be considered a hater for not including the trans and other folks within the LGBTQIA+ rainbow?)
Instead of same-but-cheaper, it looks as though the Chinese are innovating in ways that Americans couldn’t have imagined, but the prices are actually higher. See “An Entire Second Floor Pops Out of this Tiny RV, Complete with a Working Elevator to Get Up There” (Gizmodo):
The SAIC Maxus Life Home V90 Villa Edition, designed and built in China, appears to offer the best of both mobile worlds. The vehicle has a relatively small footprint (it’s only slightly larger than what you see most van-lifers driving around in), but it employs slide-out walls to greatly increase the floor space to around 215 square feet inside while the RV is parked. There’s a fairly spacious sleeping berth located above the driver’s cab which leaves more room in the back for a large L-shaped couch and a respectably sized kitchen. … Where the V90 really wows, however, is the sunroom that automatically extends from the roof giving the RV an entire second floor of living space, including a walk-out balcony.
You can potentially convince SAIC Maxus to build one for you if you’re willing to cough up a little over $413,000, and whatever shipping costs are needed to export it outside of China, plus whatever additional upgrades are needed to legally drive it on US roads.
Here’s a photo:
(Should the gal above be a little more, um, robust in order to fit in with the typical American RV traveler?)
A similar-length U.S.-made Winnebago is about $172,000, i.e., less than half as much. So it seems that I have been proven wrong yet again.