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The wholesale market for RVs remained red hot in April with total RV shipments increasing 21.8%, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported today (June 2).
However, now that consumers, including RV owners, are complaining loudly about gas prices that average more than $2 a gallon nationally, will the high rate of factory-to-dealer deliveries in April result in excess dealer inventories this summer? At least one lending company executive believes it will not because the retail market apparently remained strong through April and May.
“Based upon the dealers we work with, by and large, the (dealer) inventory mix is very good and appropriate,” said Alan Zang, senior vice president of recreation finance at National City Bank, an important source of RV wholesale and retail finance. “The first quarter of ‘04 was very strong. There were a lot of shipments that came out of the manufacturers and a lot of that moved through the pipeline. Dealers are generally well positioned with the (inventory) levels they’ve got today.
“Through April, it seemed dealer sales off the lots were doing reasonably well,” Zang added. “I’ve not heard of dealers retrenching in May” because of worries over high gas prices.
Here are the details of the RVIA Report:
• Total shipments increased 21.8% in April to 38,000 units, versus 31,200 shipped in April 2003. During the first four months of this year, total RV shipments increased 19.6% to 128,600 units, versus 107,500 in the first four months of 2003.
• Shipments of all types of towable RVs increased 18.5% in April to 30,700 units, versus 25,900 a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, shipments of all types of towables were up 17.5% to 102,800 units, versus 87,500 in the same portion of last year.
• Travel-trailer shipments increased 20.6% in April to 16,400 units, compared with 13,600 a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, travel-trailer shipments were up 15.9% to 55,400 units, versus 47,800 a year earlier.
• Fifth-wheel shipments increased 25% in April to 9,000 units, compared with 7,200 a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, fifth-wheel deliveries were up 31.8% to 31,100 units, versus 23,600 a year earlier.
• Folding-camper deliveries increased 2.4% in April to 4,300 units, versus 4,200 a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, folding camper shipments were down 0.8% to 13,000 units, versus 13,100 a year earlier.
• Truck camper shipments increased 11.1% in April to 1,000 units, versus 900 a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, truck camper shipments were up 10% to 3,300 units, versus 3,000 a year earlier.
• Shipments of all types of motorhomes increased 37.7% in April to 7,300 units, compared with 5,300 a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, shipments of all types of motorhomes were up 29% to 25,800 units, versus 20,000 a year earlier.
• Class A motorhome shipments increased 34.4% in April to 4,300 units, compared with 3,200 a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, Class A motorhome shipments were up 25% to 16,500 units, versus 13,200 a year earlier.
• Class B motorhome shipments doubled in April to 200 units, compared with 100 units shipped a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, Class B motorhome deliveries were up 14.3% to 800 units, versus 700 a year earlier.
• Class C motorhome shipments increased 40% in April to 2,800 units, compared with 2,000 a year earlier. After the first four months of this year, Class C motorhome shipments were up 39.3% to 8,500 units, compared with 6,100 in the first four months of 2003.