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Before the recreational vehicle industry could enjoy rapidly falling fuel prices, the economy drove off a cliff. That scenario produced some dramatic discounting at the 15th annual Fall Atlantic City RV Show in New Jersey this past weekend.
According to a report in the Press of Altantic City, Crossroads Sales, Newfield, marked down its travel trailers and fifth wheels about 25% for the show.
“There are heavy discounts because of the economy,” Crossroads salesman Pat Devaney said Friday (Oct. 31). “If someone wants to buy, this is the place to be. At the show, dealers discount more heavily.”
A 26-foot Gulf Stream travel trailer was discounted about a third by Atlantic Cape RV, dropping its price from $30,539 to $19,995. Driftwood RV Center, with locations in Egg Harbor Township and Clermont, cut the price of a 40-foot Layton trailer from $39,777 to $24,799.
Even those discounts were considered a starting point for haggling by numerous shoppers already on the floor in the show’s first hour Friday.
Inside a Crossroads 40-foot Cedar Creek park trailer – marked down from $56,350 to $41,500 – the first words spoken by a female buyer were: “Is that the best you can do?” The slumping economy has taken a toll on the RV industry. In September, RV wholesale shipments were down 42.5% from the same period the year before, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Shipments for the nine months dropped 24.6% compared to this point last year.
Driftwood is bucking the industry trend, according to spokesman Scott Hayden. “We’re having a record year. Our sales are about 28% ahead of last year,” he said.
Hayden credited Driftwood’s locations near numerous RV destinations in southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and said the sales increase has lifted the dealer from fifth to first in the state.
The show itself has been slowed by the economy, too. James McLaughlin Sr., spokesman for show producer MAC Events, said the number of dealers is down about 30% this year.