Wildwood vs. Salem

Wildwood vs. Salem

Wildwood vs. Salem Are they really the same?

Wildwood or Salem? Wildwood and Salem have caused confusion and debate for decades among rv’ers. Are they sister campers? Are they really built in the same factory? Which one is better, which one is the better value, which one has the best resale value and finally, which one sells more campers? Forest River, the manufacturer of Wildwood and Salem is the same as General Motors and their Chevrolet and GMC truck lines. GM is the manufacturer and GMC and Chevy are both divisions under GM. Forest River is the manufacturer and Wildwood and Salem, are two brands in the same division.

You will find when shopping that most of the Salem and Wildwood floor plans are identical. There are a few floorplans that are unique to each. The major differences you will encounter will be interior colors, and exterior graphics. The tv’s, furniture, doors, tires, toilets, air conditioners, furnaces, microwaves, and all other appliances are normally identical to both brands. Quality of course is also identical as they are built in the same factory and by the same craftsmen. The important things are the same, the frames, wall construction, insulation, all appliances, roof construction, furniture and layouts. The differences again are very minor. They include, the units exterior graphics, exterior color, interior wall color, furniture, window treatments. To conclude, everything important is the same.

How are Wildwood and Salem built? Wildwood and Salem are of course built in the exact same manner. Wildwood and Salem are both stick and tin builds. Which is the same as you build your home. They have an incredibly strong steel frame, wood studding in the walls as well as fiberglass insulation. Then on the outside there is aluminum siding.

Wildwood has been around longer than Salem. Dealerships that are affiliated with Forest River have to choose Wildwood or Salem. There is a corporate rule that a dealer cannot represent both and we have found it very rare that a dealer does in fact have both. As a buyer, you should review all your options and find the dealer that can offer you the best price, service and options on the camper floor plan that you like. Remember if the units for Wildwood and Salem are identical the real only deciding factors are going to be:

  1. Exterior graphics
  2. Interior colors
  3. Re-sale value
  4. Dealer pricing/service.
    1. Go online to make sure you are getting a fair price from all the dealers you are considering. Google dealers who wholesale Wildwood or Salem.
    2. Get a price from them and then compare to what you are finding local.
    3. Use the internet price to negotiate with your dealer.
    4. If the dealer is much above the internet dealer consider saving the money and going with the internet dealer.

Here are some great questions to ask a dealer before doing business with them:

  1. If I am not in your area when camping and I have an issue, how does it get resolved?
    1. Example: It is 98 degrees and you’re a/c goes out, how is the dealer going to assist you so your camping trip is not ruined?
  2. Do you have any hidden fees at all? Will you put my price in writing and when I come to pick up if the price changes at all guarantee my deposit back?

How do I check out an internet dealer to see if I should do business with them:

  • Can I trust them:
    • Check them out with the BBB.
      • Do they have an A+ rating?
      • Are the accredited with the BBB?
    • Go to www.customerlobby.com and do a search for them. Customer lobby has reviews only from real customers. The customer has to prove they are a real customer before leaving a review. Why is this important? The reviews are sometimes fictitious on other sites and it will be a competing dealer trying to damage the dealer or a fired past employee.
  • How do they handle service/warranty in my area?
  • How do they handle service/warranty when I am on the road traveling and camping?
  • If the internet or local dealer cannot take care of you when on the road, find a dealer that can.
  • If the pricing is thousands better and they can take care of you while on the road and at home, why would you buy locally and spend thousands more for less service? Why reward bad behavior, (over charging) for less service. You vote with your dollars, support dealers who charge fair prices and have great service. Don’t support those that are price gouging and offer little to no service.

Why would Forest River build both Wildwood and Salem in the same factory and make them almost identical? Here are a few:

  • Simple, it enables them to put more of the units in the market. As a rule a town or a geographical area will only allow one Wildwood dealer for example. By introducing Salem as well, Forest River can now have two dealers in the same geographical area.
    • Often this is dictated by state laws. They vary from state to state. For example some states will dictate that you cannot have a dealer within another 50 miles of an existing dealer.
  • Keep dealers honest and improve competition. If you have two dealers in the same area selling essentially the same unit, it forces them to be and stay more competitive. After all, a dealer cannot charge a fortune for a Salem if there is a Wildwood dealer in the same geographical area. Every customer would simply go to the other dealer.
  • It enables the factory to increase buying power for the same line of units. They are purchasing more of the same thing, since they use almost all of the same components for both lines of units.
  • It makes the manufacturing process more efficient and productive: Since the factory is building the same units, most of the manufacturing is identical. The only differences are interior colors and outside graphics. So, everything else they are already doing. This makes double the units, so the factory team members are very quick and efficient at their manufacturing jobs.

Benefits to dealers who sell Wildwood or Salem:

  1. Dealers are able to compare product and if the customer is familiar with either Wildwood or Salem it is easier to close them on the one they have in stock.
  2. Pricing stays more stable and lower due to the increase in number of units sold and the buying power that creates for Wildwood and Salem.
  3. The warranty department is larger and able to help more customers in a more timely manner.
  4. The parts department is larger, carries more inventory and can ship parts in a more timely manner.

Negatives to Dealers who Sell Wildwood and Salem:

  1. More competition.
  2. Prices are lower due to increase in competition.
  3. Competition is often in the same town or geographical location.

Benefits to customers who purchase Wildwood and Salem:

  1. There are more dealers to shop product with.
    1. Which means you can pit dealers against dealers to get the best deal.
    2. The dealers are also normally more competitive as they have competition in your own town. It is hard to be way above your competitors pricing.
  2. Now that you know Wildwood and Salem are both the same, you can pit not only Wildwood dealers against each other, but also Salem dealers. More dealers to pit against each other.
  3. Both Wildwood and Salem have been around for decades. Everyone knows both lines, they are great quality and have a cult following.
    1. Since Wildwood and Salem have both been around for decades and are very well known, the resale value for both is very strong.
      1. Wildwood’s resale is the highest of the two lines as it outsells Salem about 4 to 1. Customers are just more familiar with it.
  4. Quality is amazing and the service behind both is very strong.

Highest customer satisfaction Wildwood/Salem Dealer:

RVWholesalers in Lakeview, Ohio and Dodd City, Texas is the has the highest satisfaction rating of any dealer in the US.

Reasons identified:

  • Nationwide Service Network-
    • Over 2,500 service centers across the US you can visit when you need service work done.
    • You simply call them and they make an appointment for you so you can quickly get in for repairs.
    • Service work no matter where you live camp or travel.
  • RVW Bill Pay
    • Often when traveling and getting warranty work done, service centers will ask you to pay the bill. Then you go get reimbursed from the factory. WE PAY THE BILL!
  • RVWholesalers Buckeye Service Guarantee: (Ohio Customers)
    • Free Delivery in Ohio.
    • Free Loaner rv if your rv is not usable, so you never miss a camping trip.
    • Expedited service at our Ohio location.
    • Dedicated service number.
    • 10% discount on parts and accessories.
    • 20% savings on winterization.
  • Service, Service and Service.

Negatives to customers who purchase Wildwood and Salem:

  1. You didn’t buy one sooner!