> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Shipments of all types of RVs are expected to increase in 2003 by 5% over 2002 levels, according to the forecast prepared by Dr. Richard Curtin and reported in roadsigns, a Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) publication.
Curtin, director of the University of Michigan Survey Research Center, believes shipments of all types of RVs this year will total 323,000 units, a 20% increase over the expected level of 307,400 units delivered in 2002.
During the first 10 months of 2002, the most current data available, RV shipments totaled 270,900 units, according to the RVIA.
If 323,000 RV units actually are delivered from manufacturers to dealers this year, then the 2003 total will slightly exceed the RV industry’s most recent peak volume of 321,000 units delivered during 1999.
Although the year-to-year increase in 2003-2002 is expected to be much smaller than it was during 2002-2001, Curtin describes a 5% gain as “respectable.”
A smaller increase is anticipated because of “rising apprehensions among consumers about prospects for war with Iraq as well as greater concerns about future job and income prospects,” Curtin wrote in roadsigns.
“Low interest rates will offset these concerns and act to bolster sales,” Curtin continued. “Interest rates can be expected to remain largely unchanged at the current lows through the spring of 2003.”
Meanwhile, a further analysis of RVIA data shows that shipments of travel trailers and fifth-wheels in 2002 most likely exceeded 1999 levels while the motorhome sector still has a ways to go to recover to 1999 levels.
During the first 10 months of 2002, there were 114,300 travel trailers shipped to dealers, compared with 102,900 units delivered during the first 10 months of 2000 and 102,800 delivered during the same portion of 1999.
In the case of fifth-wheels, there were 56,500 units shipped during the first 10 months of 2002, compared with 55,200 units delivered during the first 10 months of 2000 and 51,300 shipped during the same portion of 1999.
However, shipments of Class A motorhomes totaled 33,400 units during the first 10 months of 2002, compared with 52,800 units delivered during the first 10 months of 1999, the motorhome sector’s most recent cyclical peak.
In the case of Class C’s, there were 15,800 units shipped during the first 10 months of 2002 compared with 16,300 units delivered during the same portion of 1999, according to RVIA figures.