Editor’s Note: Robert W. Baird & Co. issued a client newsletter to investors following the December motorhome sales report by Statistical Surveys Inc. The following offers a summary of the results.

U.S. motorhome retail grew again in December. Motorhome retail sales improved 13%, according to Statistical Surveys – the second straight month of double-digit growth. While retail sales have recovered in two seasonally less significant months, motorhome shipments have remained weak. We believe inventories are lean, and expect retail demand during the more significant spring season to determine the shipment outlook for 2012.

Motorhome retail registrations in the U.S. improved 13% in December. Class A registrations grew 8% (+2% for 2011), while Class C registrations grew 23% (+2% for 2011). Favorable weather and improving consumer confidence probably supported demand for the end of 2011. Recall that SSI data are frequently revised upward.

Retail SAAR. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of U.S. motorhome retail registrations for December before revisions, improved to 21.5K units, from 20.6K units in November. In 2011, U.S. dealers sold 19.8K motorhomes (before revisions).

Dealer inventory. Motorhome dealer inventory bottomed a year ago, inventory built in 2010, and in 2011 wholesale unit shipments roughly matched retail sales. Channel inventory increased modestly in December, as dealers stock units ahead of the spring season.

This summary of a Baird research report is not intended as investment advice. To participate in Baird surveys and receive research reports, contact Craig R. Kennison, CFA, at [email protected]