Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon said today (Dec. 1) that the RV industry is primed and ready for recovery, emphasizing the continued popularity of RVing among customers and potential buyers and the recent uptick in wholesale RV shipments as evidence that the worst of times may be over for the RV industry.
Coon delivered this industry forecast at the “Outlook 2010: Let the Sun Shine” market expansion showcase, kicking off the 47th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
“We have survived the Great Depression…numerous recessions and market downturns…fuel crises…acts of terrorism and wars. But we have endured,” Coon said. “Why? Because RVs are woven into the fabric of America. Americans love RVing, they love our products and how they enrich their lives, allowing them to spend time in the great outdoors with loved ones.”
According to a news release, Coon pointed to a strengthening stock market, slowing job loss, higher productivity, increasing home sales, and rising manufacturing hours as reasons for economic optimism; while noting that weak consumer confidence, continued high unemployment and anemic consumer spending still present challenges.
But the most telling sign that the RV industry is on the road to recovery can be found in wholesale shipment numbers, which have been trending upward for several months. Coon reported that, in October, total units were 16,600, an increase of 23% over October 2008 shipments. Seasonally adjusted, October shipments hit an annual rate of more than 216,000 units, marking the third consecutive month that annualized shipments topped 200,000 units.
Based on these positive developments, Coon reported that University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin now forecasts wholesale shipments to finish this year at 159,500 units.
Looking ahead to 2010, Curtin sees RV shipments climbing by 27% to 203,500 units, with increases spread across all vehicle types:
- Travel trailer shipments are expected to climb 31% to 130,400 units
- Fifth-wheels are expected to jump 25% to 42,800 units
- Folding camping trailers will increase by 11% to 13,900 units
- Truck campers will see an 11% rise to 2,000 units.
Motorized segments are also expected to see gains:
- Class A motorhome shipments are set to rise 20% to 6,100 units.
- Class B motorhomes will hit 1,400 units on 17% growth
- Class C motorhomes will increase by 30% to 6,900 units.
During his talk, Coon briefly outlined RVIA’s plans to lead celebrations of the RV industry’s 100th anniversary in 2010, and encouraged industry members to take part in noting the proud past and bright future of the industry. “As we head into a new year, we should all resolve to have the courage to believe in our industry’s recovery, and resolve to overcome these difficult times” he said.