While noting that year-over-year dealer inventories are “drastically improved,” Brandon Rollé, a research analyst with Northcoast Research, Cleveland, Ohio, stated in a recent research report that “after attending the Hershey RV retail show and following up with RV dealer contacts, we remain optimistic on the setup for RV OEMs heading into Open House.”

Rollé also noted that Winnebago Industries and its Grand Design RV subsidiary had the “strongest retail performance at the Hershey RV show with positive retail sales growth in both towables and motorhomes.”

“Grand Design dealers we spoke with at the show indicated their Hershey retail performance was up significantly year over year, driven by strong demand for new model year 2020 Imagine travel trailers and Reflection fifth-wheels. We expect strong model year 2020 reception to drive increased WGO Open House orders,” he stated, adding that Rockwood travel trailers by Forest River Inc. and certain brands under the Thor Industries umbrella also fared well.

In addition, Rollé mentioned that product differentiation and upgrades were driving retail demand.

“In our ‘August RV Industry Checks,’ we noted that significant changes were expected from RV OEMs for their model year 2020 lineup, with product differentiation giving dealers and customers a reason to buy,” he said. “Dealers we spoke with indicated Winnebago and Grand Design’s model year 2020 lineup had superior product differentiation — new floorplans/interiors — versus the competition and previous model years, which likely drove their retail sales outperformance.”