Trade Wars and RVs

From Bloomberg:

The Trump administration’s announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico and the European Union is the latest provocation in Washington’s assault on the global trade system. Canada’s foreign minister has described the policy as “frankly absurd,” and that sums it up well. The question now is how her government and the others should respond.

The policy is absurd because its official rationale is national security. U.S. military demand for steel and aluminum is small, representing only about 3 percent of domestic production. And Canada, the biggest foreign supplier of steel to the U.S., is (or was) a close friend and ally. The real threat to national security arises from a trade policy that undermines this and other alliances for no good reason.

In reality, national security has nothing to do with the new tariffs. The Trump administration is transparently risking the country’s alliances to extort concessions in separate negotiations over NAFTA and trade with Europe. It first announced the steel and aluminum tariffs weeks ago, but suspended them as talks went on; insufficient progress, it said on Thursday, meant the stay had to end.

Incidentally, this strategy willfully violates U.S. commitments as a member of the World Trade Organization — so it’s illegal as well as counterproductive. Unfortunately, knowing all this doesn’t tell Canada and the others how best to respond.

And what impact will this have on the RV industry?

Today, the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada highlighted how American tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will increase the cost of manufacturing RVs, ultimately hurting consumers on both sides of the border.

“About half of the materials for an American-made RV come from Canada, including steel and aluminum. These materials are imported into the United States from Canada, where RVs are manufactured,” said Jean-Francois Lussier, chair of RVDA. “This will inevitably mean increased costs for RVs, punishing consumers in the United States and in Canada.”

“Our industry, like most in North America, has benefitted from the integrated North American Market that NAFTA has created,” continued Lussier. “Major disruptions, such as will be brought by steel and aluminum tariffs, will have serious repercussions for our industry.”

A trade war doesn’t help anyone and impacts everyone.

Even those in the RV industry.

30 Days

Not until retirement. Although getting much closer now. Only 51 more days.

No. This 30 days refers to a bylaw that the Whistler RV Park will begin enforcing. Any long-term or seasonal stay will require a move to a new site every 30 days. Failure to comply will lead to expulsion from the park.

Can you imagine how crazy it would be on the 30th day of every month (to have) 40-plus people packing up their RVs and all switching sites?

This article provides all of the frightful details of people having to lift their jacks and play musical RVs to satisfy a desire by park management to enforce a bylaw that they have never enforced before.

Park management had initially claimed that the Resort Municipality of Whistler would charge the park a fine if trailers were not relocated every month although that story has changed. The current reason? Compliance with the bylaw.

Some motorcoach resorts limit stays to only 30 days. And it is clear on their website.

Not that I have any plans to stay at the Whistler RV Park but I could not find any reference to a 30-day maximum policy on site rentals on their website.

Just another customer focused Canadian RV park operator.

Double Decker RV

I’m not sure why, but I watched this one right through to the end.

An amazing and unique build. Not with some surprises though. Especially the engine.

Chronic RV Problems

I do worry about it. The overall reliability of our coach. I follow a number of forums online and every day I am reading about issues that people experience with their Newmar Class A motorcoaches. Silently, I hope that we don’t run into many of those issues. Issues that sideline travel plans, or, far worse, engulf a coach in flames.

This came through one of my news feeds about a Thor Tuscany coach:

So much for the lure of the road.

Bill and Jennie Mangan say their dream of spending the first 10 years of joint retirement traveling the country inside their luxury RV quickly faded beneath a cloud of diesel fumes pouring into their bedroom at night as leaking hydraulic fluid seeped into a basement drawer.

Then there was the sewage, which they say pooled daily in their bedroom and geysered from their shower drain like an off-color Old Faithful each time they flushed the toilet. The combination, the couple says, left their new Thor Tuscany 44MT smelling like a $270,000, rolling outhouse.

They have sued Thor Industries for a full refund on the coach plus $100,000 in damages for 160 separate defects.

They spent almost all of their time with the coach dealing with defects.

I hope our coach will fare better.

Swift Kon-Tiki

I am on numerous RV mailing lists and from all over the world. One of them, Caravan Guard, an insurance company in the UK, passed me some information on Swift caravans.

The Swift Kon-Tiki, pictured above, is a motorhome manufactured for the European market. The design of this motorhome, quite compact relative to the 40+ foot motorcoaches in North America, blends luxury with intelligent use of space. Interesting to see the differences in design.

Here is one of the floorplans for this model:

The coach is 28-feet in length and a bit over 7 and a half feet wide. There are no slideouts. They have managed to create a comfortable design, especially suited to a couple, which provides all of the essential elements of a motorhome.

The main living area:

Great use of colour and window layouts. And the main living area seems open especially given the tight constraint of space.

The bedroom:

The kitchen:

And the washroom:

The Swift Kon-Tiki is built on a Fiat Chassis, powered by a 150bhp, 2.3 litre engine. All of the technical details on the coach can be found here towards the bottom of the page.

Swift is the largest manufacturer of RVs in the UK and it has been in business for 50 years. Really love the European design touches.