On The Shore On The shore — 11 July 2014
What’s driving the renewed interest in the RV?

By Robyn A. Friedman

Your next vacation home could have features such as Corian countertops, porcelain tile flooring, LED ceiling lights, a central vacuum, fireplace and a home theater system complete with CD/DVD player, iPhone dock, receiver, amplifier, five speakers and two subwoofers.

That particular model would also be equipped with a 450-horsepower, turbo-charged diesel engine. That’s because it’s a 2014 Winnebago Tour, a luxurious recreational vehicle (RV) with a sticker price between $380,000-$421,000.

The Tour is just one example of a new breed of RV – luxury models that offer all the comforts of home. That’s just one reason affluent Baby Boomers are attracted to the RV lifestyle.

“Our typical customer is 50 years old or older, particularly in the high-end, most luxurious models,” says Sheila Davis, investor-relations manager at Winnebago Industries, based in Forest City,  Iowa. “Baby Boomers have traditionally been free spirits who want to chart their own path. They can go where and when they want and enjoy the freedom of the open road.”

Low interest rates, a strengthening economy and an increase in the number of Baby Boomers retiring have led to a resurgence in overall RV sales, from 79,422 units sold in the first quarter of 2013 to 89,971 in the same period this year – a 13.3 percent increase, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Baby Boomers are the fastest growing segment of the RV market.

The most luxurious vehicles come with Jacuzzi tubs, wine cellars, convection ovens – and the comfort of sleeping in one’s own bed.


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