Who Manufactures Jayco?
Below is a brief company history:
In 1968, Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager started the company in Northern Indiana. The company had really humble beginnings, as Bontrager developed a trailer fold-down and a unique lifter system in 1967 and the business was operated from two chicken houses and a barn.
In the first year of operations the company sold 132 trailers, and by the end of 1968 it had 15 employees. Al Yoder joined the company in 1969 and the business really took off at that point.
Due to the fast growth, the company expanded into the travel trailer market and sold over 1,100 units in 1971. Next, Jayco expanded into the 5th wheel market by acquiring Three Cs in 1972. The energy crisis of 1974 forced the temporary shutdown of Canada and Kansas plants.
The dependency on gasoline price fluctuation caused issues for steady growth in the 1980s-90s; however, the company recovered to become the second largest U.S. manufacturer of towable products to the second largest by 1995.
Lloyd Bontrager was killed in 1985 during an airplane crash in the vicinity of Muncie, Indiana. His wife Bertha became chairman of the board at Jayco, and later her sons Wilbur and Derald assumed leadership roles within the company. Currently, Derald Bontrager is president and CEO.
In addition to the Jayco brand, Jayco acquired Entegra Coach in 2008, Starcraft RV in 1991 and Highland Ridge in 2014. Jayco currently manufactures about 50,000 RVs per year, and reached the 1 millionth manufactured RV milestone in April 2016.
Jayco was acquired by Thor Industries in July 2016 for $576 million.
Today, Jayco Headquarters is located in Middlebury, Indiana, where approximately 3,200 employees manufacture the entire line of Jayco RVs.
Top-Of-The-Line Jayco RVs
- 10 ft or 12 ft Jay Sport Pop Up Folddown Camper
- Jay 1006 (length 16’2”, dry weight 2,015 lbs, cargo 945 lbs, water 23 gals, sleeps 7);
- Jay 1007 (length 14’2”, dry weight 1,820 lbs, cargo 730 lbs, water 23 gals, sleeps 8);
- Jay 1206 (length 18’2”, dry weight 2,490 lbs, cargo 960 lbs, water 23+gals, sleeps 7, slide-out, optional folding hard-wall internal bath);
- Jay 1207 (length 16’2”, dry weight 2,005 lbs, cargo 945 lbs, water 23 gals, sleeps 8);
- Jay 1208 (length 18’2”, dry weight 2,530 lbs, cargo 960 lbs, water 23+gals, sleeps 6, slide-out, optional folding hard-wall internal bath);
- Jay 806 (length 11’9”, dry weight 1,465 lbs, cargo 785 lbs, water 17 gals, sleeps 5)
- Jay Feather Micro (length 20′ 2″ – 23′ 2″, weight 3,775 – 4,575 lbs., sleeps up to 8, starts at $35,993)
- Jay Feather (length 26′ 0″ – 36′ 11″, weight 5,185 – 7,265 lbs., sleeps up to 9, starts at $43,980)
- Jay Flight (length 28′ 10″ – 40′ 6″, weight 5,335 – 8,825 lbs., sleeps up to 14, starts at $41,264)
- White Hawk (length 32′ 10″ – 38′ 0″, weight 6,655 – 8,180 lbs., sleeps up to 9, starts at $52,497)
- Eagle HT (length 29′ 1″ – 37′ 4″, weight 8,060 – 10,465 lbs., sleeps up to 10, starts at $61,725)
- Eagle (length 29′ 1″ – 37′ 4″, weight 8,060 – 10,465 lbs., sleeps up to 10, starts at $84,185)
- North Point (length 36′ 1″ – 44′ 0″, weight 12,150 – 14,765 lbs., sleeps up to 11, starts at $107,400)
- Pinnacle (length 40′ 1″ – 40′ 11″, weight 13,670 – 14,300 lbs., sleeps up to 6, starts at $119,943)
- Seismic (length 41′ 5″ – 41′ 5″, weight 13,535 – 13,535 lbs., sleeps up to 9, starts at $105,105)
- Seismic Luxury (length 41′ 5″ – 41′ 5″, weight 13,535 – 13,535 lbs., sleeps up to 9, starts at $144,818)
Class B motorhomes:
- Swift (length 20′ 11″ – 20′ 11″, sleeps up to 4, starts at $145,050)
- Swift Li (length 20′ 11″ – 20′ 11″, sleeps up to 4, starts at $168,300)
- Terrain (length 19′ 7″ – 19′ 7″, sleeps up to 2, starts at $212,250)
Class C motorhomes:
- Redhawk SE (length 25′ 2″ – 30′ 3″, sleeps up to 5, starts at $110,768)
- Redhawk (length 26′ 8″ – 32′ 6″, sleeps up to 7, starts at $145,043)
- Grayhawk (length 29′ 11″ – 32′ 6″, sleeps up to 7, starts at $162,668)
- Melbourne (length 25′ 2″ – 25′ 2″, sleeps up to 5, starts at $152,543)
- Melbourne Prestige (length 25′ 2″ – 25′ 2″, sleeps up to 5, starts at $197,993)
- Seneca (length 39′ 4″ – 39′ 4″, sleeps up to 9, starts at $317,693)
- Prestige (length 39′ 4″ – 39′ 4″ sleeps up to 9, starts at $344,550)
Class A motorhomes:
- Alante (length 29′ 11″ – 32′ 2″ sleeps up to 8, starts at $167,168)
- Precept (length 33′ 0″ – 38′ 10″ sleeps up to 9, starts at $191,318)
- Precept Prestige (length 38′ 2″ – 38′ 8″ sleeps up to 9, starts at $221,725)
- Embark (length 37′ 10″ – 39′ 11″ sleeps up to 7, starts at $407,400)
How Much Do Jayco RVs Cost?
Price range per RV type:
- Pop-up Campers:
- Starting range $11,000$23,000+ (used)
- Travel Trailers:
- Starting range $35,993-$52,497+(new 2023 models)
- 5th Wheels:
- Starting range $61,725-$119,943+ (new 2023 models)
- Toy Haulers:
- Starting range $105,105-$144,818+ (new 2023 models)
- Class B motorhomes:
- Starting range $145,050-$212,250+ (new 2023 models)
- Class C motorhomes:
- Starting range $110,768-$344,550+ (new 2023 models)
- Class A motorhomes:
- Starting range $167,168-$407,400+ (new 2023 models)
The most popular Jayco RV is the Jay Flight travel trailer, due to its affordable family camper choice and “entry into the RV lifestyle”. It has different floorplan options that are a favorite pick of many families.
The manufacturer’s price for that RV starts at $41,264. According to the Jayco Website, this camper is only being sold as a 2022 model and is currently not listed under the 2023 options.
Jayco’s cheapest model is the pop-up camper (most of which one can only get used these days), while their most expensive model is the Class A Embark, closely followed by their Class C Prestige.
Can You Buy Directly From Jayco?
No, you cannot buy an RV directly from Jayco, although they offer annual wholesale price events in collaboration with specific dealerships.
There are dealerships US-wide that sell Jayco trailers. To locate a local dealer, go to: https://www.jayco.com/dealers/
When looking for a used Jayco, you can always check RVtrader.com, Camping World or https://www.rvt.com/.
You can contact Jayco via phone at (800)-283-8267 or email at [email protected].
Is Jayco A Quality RV?
Jayco has been the brand leader in the RV industry when it comes to innovation and creating an entry market for families to get into the RV lifestyle.
When it comes to the brand itself, Jayco has been recognized for being a quality manufacturer with many different floor plan choices and affordable prices for anyone who is shopping for their first RV. The strategy was to create a lifetime brand loyalty and by flooding the RV parks with the Jayco brand to be the market dominator and a widely recognized brand on US roads.
Jayco has also been the leader in implementing new technology and features on their RVs, such as TVs, surround sound in the past, and today, solar prep on every unit.
When it comes to quality, Jayco is intentional about the choice of materials and the build process. The resale value of a Jayco RV is 4% higher than the resale value of the competition.
Jayco takes safety and customer satisfaction seriously: their engineering department ensures the designs undergo thorough testing and the customer service stands behind Jayco’s 2-year limited warranty on all units.
As Jayco sums it up: “At Jayco, it’s about our high-grade materials, above-standard processes, long-standing value, integrity-driven culture, and customer-first service.” (Source: https://www.jayco.com/blog/five-things-that-make-for-a-better-quality-rv/)
Customer Reviews: Does Jayco Have Quality Issues?
On RVInsider.com, Jayco received a 4 out of 5 on livability, a 3.4 on overall quality, a 4/3 on the floor plan, a 4/2 on the towability/driveability and only a 2.9 on the factory warranty.
Overall, Jayco has loyal brand customers who love their RV and brag on their rig on their social media. Most reviews adore the floor plan and the features, as well as the ease of set-up and towing, on most units and years.
Some of the positive reviews sound like this:
“This floor plan gives any family tons of interior space to live in on those rainy or cold camping days. Take the chill out with the electric fireplace or step inside during those hot and humid days to an rv that is equally cool throughout due to the ducted AC system. The unit has slide toppers to keep debris and water off, as well as keeping those slides shaded which helps with keeping the interior cooler. This fifth wheel tows very well, like you’re pulling a much smaller trailer due to the fifth wheel’s pin and wheel placement.” (Glen)
However, there are also customers who have experienced hardships during their Jayco ownership, or even unnecessary issues that could have been resolved.
“Thinking about buying a Jayco 5th wheel. Think very carefully. I am on the edge of suing Jayco and making them buy back this $130,000.00 5th wheel. It has been a nightmare from day one when the Spartanburg SC dealer sold the unit I chose right out from under me after signing paperwork! This unit they found has been at the dealerships more than it has been in my driveway! Listed below are some of the issues we have discovered and are still dealing with… 1. Internet Router not working 2. Deck TV not working 3. Rear toy hauler seats have stripped out screws. 4. Rear toilet leaks 5. Water Pump for bottled water does not work. 6. Sawdust and wood chips coming out of all HVAC vents 7. Rear toy hauler doors leak rain water won’t stay shut when traveling 8. Loses 2/3 of fresh after while traveling just 50 miles 9. A/C not cooling sufficient 10. Main Refrigerator issues will not cool w/o unplugging inside the fridge. 11. Lock on shower door broken 12. Awning 2 not working. 13. Molding missing under ladder. 14. Deck fridge not working 15. Auto leveling does not work, crashes completely. 16. After 4 State trips, the LR tire is bald, has a bent axle. 17. Master bedroom slide works occasionally. I’m a reasonable man who knows with a new unit there may be some kinks to work out. However, this is outrageous and unacceptable. I would not recommend anyone to buy a Jayco product!” (Lin H.)
When it comes to Jayco warranty, the company has received many recent complaints on the Better Business Bureau, meaning that the company is not working with the customers to address any issues, especially when promised via warranty. An RV purchase is a big investment for many families and this kind of purchase is not made lightly. When companies do not deliver a quality product or do not work to make things right, the BBB complaints reflect this. https://www.bbb.org/us/in/middlebury/profile/wholesale-campers/jayco-inc-0352-8000160/complaints
Has Jayco Quality Gone Down?
There are many longtime Jayco customers who say that Jayco’s overall quality went downhill since the buyout by Thor, because Thor uses cheaper components and pushes only for the bottom-line short-term profits. This is a dangerous business strategy.
It should be noted, though, that the quality of RVs overall has gone downhill since 2020 due to component shortages, lack of quality control, fast through-puts, careless assemblies, additional recalls, hazardous dealership deliveries or cheap labor skills.
There was a major recall for several Jayco trailers:
“Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2017-2018 Jayco Designer, 2017-2021 Eagle HT, Eagle, Jay Feather, Jay Flight SLX, Jay Flight, North Point, Octane Superlite, Pinnacle, White Hawk, 2017-2020 Eagle HT, 2018-2021 Jay Flight Bungalow, 2017-2019 Octane, and 2019-2020 Eagle HTX travel trailers and fifth wheels equipped with a Winntec model 6020 two-stage propane regulator. The regulator may fail, causing an increase in propane pressure.” (Source: https://www.usatoday.com/recalls/automotive/NHTSA-21V425000/)
Recalls and post-sale repairs are much more expensive than proper quality protocol, especially because it hurts the brand reputation and future sales. As the saying goes: “cutting corners doesn’t pay well in the end”.
Are Jayco trailers made by the Amish?
Jayco employs about 3,200 employees and about 3/4 are from the Amish or Mennonite communities in Middleton, Indiana.
How long do Jayco trailers last?
The Jayco trailers can last up to 25 years, when given the proper care and maintenance.
Does Jayco make Class B?
Yes, Jayco just started offering Class B options, called Swift, Swift Li and Terrain. They start at $145,000-$212,000, respectively.
Does Jayco own Grand Design?
Jayco is owned by THOR, while Grand Design is owned by Winnebago (they were purchased at $500 million).
Did Jayco go out of business?
Jayco got bought out by THOR in 2016 for $576 million.
What are the worst RV brands?
There are several different expert blogs that have extensive lists on the worst RVs and list detailed reasons explaining the ranking.
For example, viatravelers.com came up with this list:
- Forest River
- Jayco Travel Trailer
- Skyline RV
- Columbia Northwest
- Gulf Stream
However, the best way to find out which brands have the worst reputation is by surveying customers of each brand (new owners, as well as used unit owners) 6, 12 and 24 months after purchase.
Metrics like amount of repairs during the first year vs. 2/5/10 years, overall time in the shop, manufacturer’s customer service response time, BBB rating, recalls, overall ease of use, overall unit cost-to-quality ratio, likelihood to refer the brand to a friend etc. are all good ways to find out more objectively which RV is a good investment and which brands one should avoid.
In general, most RV brands have gone downhill with customer service and quality since 2020. Some have had a bad batch of units/years or even specific models (where the company addresses a particular issue with an upgrade in the subsequent unit year).
In most extreme cases, the company issues lead to a spin-off (such as Alliance RV).