If you’re looking to spend some time in the wilderness, and want to bring more than a tent, a camper van is a great option. It’s possible to convert a stock van into a home away from home, but what if you don’t have the time, money, or skills? Outdoorsy hopes to make things easier with a new service that allows customers to buy fully equipped camper vans and RVs online.
Outdoorsy primarily functions as a rental platform, allowing both individual owners and rental fleets to list RVs online. Users can find RVs in their area and book them for trips. The setup lets owners make money off vehicles that would otherwise sit idle. But now Outdoorsy is adding more vehicles to the pool by letting customers buy new camper vans directly from the factory.
Outdoorsy’s straightforwardly named Vehicle Purchase Program streamlines a process that would normally require working with multiple entities to complete. Vehicle purchase, financing, and insurance are bundled together, as is the conversion work, which is done by an aftermarket upfitter. Once the vehicle is done and delivered, the owner can then turn around and rent it out through Outdoorsy’s online marketplace.
The program will launch with Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Metris vans, with financing provided by Mercedes parent Daimler’s financial-services arm. Conversion work will be done by Sportsmobile, a top name in the business, according to Outdoorsy. The company said it is “currently in conversations” with additional manufacturers, with the hope of adding more models in the future.
Buying a new Mercedes-Benz van this way comes with some perks, according to Outdoorsy. The company claims vans on its platform will be sold at discounted prices “unavailable through dealers,” although dealers will still get credit for sales, handle deliveries of the completed vehicles, and do warranty work and maintenance. That arrangement was likely designed to prevent any protests from dealers, which reacted aggressively to Tesla’s online-sales model.
Sportsmobile will also prioritize Outdoorsy purchases for conversion work. The normal wait time for a custom-built Sprinter van ranges from six months to a year and a half, according to Outdoorsy. Camper vans do get more extreme than a modified Sprinter, but this should get enthusiasts craving a little outdoor adventure on the road more quickly.
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