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The recent fall of gas prices by more than a dollar a gallon certainly won’t hurt the RV industry, officials say.
But a far bigger boost will come when the seemingly frozen credit world thaws, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.
“We’ve been saying all year that the real issue is not fuel prices,” said Kevin Broom, director of media relations for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “It’s credit, and we believe that continues to be the case.
“It may help some and may offer some hope but fuel prices are not the driving factor in consumers buying an RV, it really is credit – where people can get loans for what they are buying.”
Broom added that declining home values and overall consumer confidence also greatly affect sales.
Sid Johnson, director of marketing for Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco Inc., said that all segments of the industry need the credit crunch solved – the sooner the better.
“The cost and availability of credit today, that is affecting the sale of most big-ticket items including RVs,” said Johnson, who also serves as chairman of RVIA’s market information committee. “Between 60% and 70% of all RV sales are financed. Readily available credit for qualified buyers is critical to sustained sales levels.”
Lowering of oil prices also might have greater impact if they stabilize at that low rate.
“If some sort of stability can come to the oil market, that will be a big plus for us,” Johnson said. “It should be a big help as we go forward in selling season, assuming some sort of equilibrium comes to the rest of the economy.”
Selling season in the RV world kicks off in January and hits full stride from February through early summer.
“The sooner we can get the credit market unfrozen, the better it is for the RV industry,” Johnson said.