The head of economic research at CIT Group Inc., a major lender to the RV industry, is going against the grain and is forecasting RV sales will end up higher this year than during the exceptionally strong 1999.

In his latest report, Michael Paslawskyj, vice president of economic research at CIT, is forecasting a 4% gain in total sales this year to 334,000 units, and another 1.8% increase in 2001 to 340,000 units.

Earlier, Paslawskyj forecasted “a slight slip in shipments,” but he now feels retail sales will increase because household incomes are “still growing very strongly despite the stock market tumble in April.”

Motorhome shipments should grow 7.5% this year to 77,000 units and could increase another 2.6% next year to 79,000 units, Paslawskyj believes.

Towables shipments should increase 3% this year, to 257,000 units, and another 1.6% in 2001, to 261,000 units, Paslawskyj said.