11 August 2020
11 August 2020, Comments Comments Off on RV manufacturing in the Land of the Rising Sun
RV manufacturing in the Land of the Rising Sun

As covered in our March issue, the Japanese RV Market is experiencing favorable internal and external stimulus, and this can be seen in the continued growth of the skills and complexities of its manufacturers.

Words Antonio Mazzucchelli and Bartek Radzimski

Since our February visit to the Japan Camping Car Show 2020 and the March article, our world experienced the incredible impact of the COVID19 Pandemic. Also in Japan, our RVing Industry continues to be challenged by its effects and we try to deduct how our business and daily lives will change going forward. At the time of this writing, in a positive step to recovery, the government decided to lift the state of emergency for 39 of the country’s 47 prefectures, keeping the shutdown for Tokyo and Osaka till end of May. Although, the writers of this article will refrain from commenting about how the pandemic was handled in Japan; one thing can be said for sure; it was as typical, somehow uniquely Japanese. The same can be said about the RVing Sector in Japan. Although the last major show turned out to be the JCCS 2020, as the government never imposed mandatory shutdowns; only recommendations, much of the RVing Industry continued to partially function. For many the saving grace has been, again, uniquely Japanese. With the RV market working on “production to order,” most had anywhere from 8 to 12 months of firm orders when the crisis started. Additionally, 50% end user cash deposits helped with operational topics like cash flow. Base vehicle and material shortages have been felt, however, long material supply lead-times from abroad are an unexpected blessing. With governmental offices remaining partially open, vehicle registrations and deliveries, though challenging, have been possible. Thanks to this, having confirmed with several manufactures, order cancelations remain amazingly low, at about 1-2%. This is not to say that the sector is immune to COVID19. The lack of shows since March has hit the hardest and the effects may still manifest themselves in the near future. Many manufactures by imposing suggested safety precautions managed to keep dealerships open. Also, finding various innovative methods like remote sales via video kept customer interest up; but has not replaced the shows. With the Olympics delayed and vaccines in the distant future, like elsewhere, there are many questions as to how RVing will look “with” and “post” Corona. Most are keeping a positive outlook and with the main population centers scheduled to come out of the shutdown in June, preparations are ongoing to recover sales. Meanwhile, through it all, the manufacturing has stayed busy while being strained and challenged. With these next interviews we get a look into on how two key Japanese manufactures are handling design, production and the outlook towards the future.

Naoki Akimoto – Vantech

Interview at Vantech Co., Ltd. with Mr. Akimoto, Executive Sales Director at Yamagata Factory.

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Kenji Araki – Nuts RV

Interview with Mr. Araki, CEO of Nuts RV Co., Ltd. at Nuts RV’s Kita-Kyushu Factory.

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