Solar-generated electricity, plasma-screen televisions, a washing machine and a dryer, a covered patio. It sounds like an advertisement for any new home. But this home also has four wheels and, if you want, an engine that can go almost anywhere.

The Press Enterprise reported that the California RV Show, a fixture for road warriors in the region for 67 years, will fire up its collective motors Friday (Oct. 4) at a new location, the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

The annual event will run for 10 days and give recreational vehicle enthusiasts and potential buyers an opportunity to look at more than 1,000 new motorized and towable RV models. More than 100 models will be available for test drives, with 17 dealers and 45 manufacturers displaying products.

The annual show moved to Pomona in 1992, but Tom Gaither, director for the Western states for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), said it had run out of space at the  Fairplex. The larger property at Auto Club Speedway also has more parking, including lots that are close to the event site, he said.

New clientele

RVs are drawing more attention from a wider audience these days. The stereotype that paints an RV buyer as a retiree is a thing of the past, Gaither said.

“A lot of Millennials remember when their parents took them camping,” Gaither said. “Now they want their own experiences.”

Younger buyers appear to be using RVs differently, too, for extended hikes or weekend trips rather than just once a year for a marathon excursion. According to research from Gaither’s trade organization, the share of RV ownership among those between the ages of 35 to 44 increased to 20.75% in 2018 from 18.42% in 2015. In the 25 to 34 bracket, it rose to 8.1% from 5.03%. RVIA’s study is based on retail registrations.

Price points also vary widely. For a small towable RV, which accounts for 85% of the sale market, prices start as low as $6,000. The most expensive motor home at the Fontana show is priced at $750,000.

Gaither said of all the innovations that will be displayed, solar power is a crucial one. Newer units also have lithium batteries, so unused electricity can be stored. Other units will have improved Wi-Fi capacity and other high-tech features.

“The electricity and the Wi-Fi are the biggest new developments,” Gaither said. “Millennials still want to get their emails, and a lot of them would rather work out of an RV and not an office.”

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