Last week, the RV Industry Association Board of Directors approved a voluntary, recommended best practice on RV model year changeover in an effort to improve the RV buying experience by alleviating a common source of confusion that consumers currently experience when purchasing RVs. The approved best practice recommends that RV manufacturers make their annual model year and major product design changes between July 1 to August 31 each year.

Unlike the automobile industry, which traditionally starts new vehicle model years during the late summer to early fall timeframe, the RV industry had no similar practice. RV model year changes currently take place throughout the calendar year, variating from manufacturer to manufacturer and even from model to model by the same manufacturer, making it difficult for consumers to make clear “apples-to-apples” product comparisons when shopping. Adoption of the recommended model year changeover period will assist consumers in distinguishing between model years and help in determining the value of used RVs when consumers want to trade in a currently owned RV for a new unit.

In addition to improving the customer experience, the voluntary adoption of a model year changeover timeframe can also benefit RV industry businesses. RV dealerships can more efficiently manage their inventory and communicate model year information to shoppers. Component part suppliers can more efficiently produce and stock the changing part needs of manufacturers. RV manufacturers and suppliers will be better able to provide dealer service centers with current parts for consumer repairs, and the ability of finance institutions to establish RV valuations will be enhanced. 

The Board of Directors emphasized that adoption of this best practice is entirely voluntary and encouraged RV manufacturers to exercise their individual, independent discretion in deciding whether to adopt the recommendation. This board-approved practice will be implemented from 2021 to 2023 and will be reviewed on an annual basis during the suggested implementation period.