Sunday, September 21, 2008

RV owners find ways to stay on the road

While it may look at a glance like people are turning away from RV usage, the industry says people are still high on the idea.

There are a number of options to forking over big money for a new motor home, people in the industry say.

Instead of buying new, recreational vehicle owners are fixing up their old models at places like V.I.P. Enterprises in San Bernardino.

The obvious one is the used motor home, said spokesman Phil Ingrassia, of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association.

A late-model used RV will cost significantly less than a comparable new model, he said. An advantage to buying one from an RV dealer, he added, is the dealer provides some assurance that the vehicle has been checked out, and many late-model purchases qualify for an extended service agreement, similar to a warranty.

Another alternative to buying a new RV is fixing up one's old RV, said Valerie Parmenter, owner of V.I.P. Enterprises in San Bernardino.

V.I.P. performs full-body repair and interior and exterior renovations, which Parmenter says turns an old unit into something as good as new.

Parmenter's noticed more customers coming in and getting their old RVs fixed up, many of whom say they were considering buying a new model. Some, particularly first-time buyers, are purchasing older RVs, then immediately bringing them to V.I.P. Enterprises, she said.

She said buying a used RV, then adding renovation costs -- usually less than $10,000 -- still gets drivers on the road having spent less than if they had made a new RV purchase.
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