Opponents outnumber the supporters on a proposal by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) to increase the size limit on fifth-wheels beyond 400 square feet, according to the latest RVBUSINESS.com Industry Poll.
The issue was brought to the table earlier this year by RVIA’s board, which contended that market demand warranted the move. It quickly spawned criticism – most notably from the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) – claiming that most campgrounds couldn’t accommodate larger units and the change would encourage more residential-style use, inviting government oversight.
Fully, 47% of respondents expressed concerns with raising the square footage cap, which has been in place since the early 1980s, while 35% were in favor of the change and 18% undecided.
Weighing in on the opposition:
Several other responses alluded to safety issues, including a manufacturer who said: “Units that are 400 square feet are too large for the general public to handle safely now. The industry is already pushing the limits on height, and going beyond the current limits for sake of more sales is just not safe. Will the insurance industry embrace larger units?”
Many poll participants supporting the increase noted that the added square footage would primarily be applied to sliderooms, and not affect the overall dimensions. Responses included:
Others maintained that upping the square footage would spark added creativity in floorplans while helping fuel the surge in the toy hauler sector.
“Eliminating the 400-square-foot limit expands the opportunities pertaining to design and function on conventional fifth-wheels, but especially the ‘toy hauler’ arrangements,” said a member of the manufacturing sector. “This is in no way, shape, or form a threat to the park trailer segment of the market. It also allows for proper codes and standards regulation on some products currently being built that don’t really fall into any current category. I don’t see any substantial perils with this change.”
RV Business is owned by Affinity Group Inc., which also publishes Woodall’s Campground Management.