Editor’s Note: Robert W. Baird & Co. issued a client newsletter to investors following the March motorhome sales report from Statistical Surveys Inc. The following offers a summary of the results.
Motorhome retail down in March. Motorhome retail sales fell 3%, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., following a particularly strong February. We believe a large Thor Industries Inc. rental order shifted out of March and into February this year, likely driving the March decline. Motorhome shipments are moderating, and we believe inventories are lean. Demand during the more significant spring season should determine the shipment outlook for 2012.
• Motorhome retail registrations in the U.S. decreased 3% in March. Class A registrations improved 2%, while Class C registrations fell 8%. We believe a large rental order from Thor came earlier this year (February rather than March), supporting Class C numbers in February while hurting March retail. For the two month period (February-March), motorhome retail increased 9%.
• Retail SAAR. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of U.S. motorhome retail registrations for March before revisions, fell to 21.8K units, from 22.4K units in February. In 2011, U.S. dealers sold 19.8K motorhomes.
• 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 again in March, as dealers stock units ahead of the spring season.