Despite the RV industry’s current setbacks, new companies have been surfacing to replace some of those lost to the recession over the past two years, Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), told state campground association leaders during the recent National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) 2009 National Issues Conference in Washington, D.C.
“As bad as it looks for some of the traditional names (manufacturers),” Coon said, “there will be other stars two years from now. It’s hard to predict who, but this is how this country operates. Existing companies are not sitting still. Some of the guys are adding new product, and they are moving forward.”
Coon, in reviewing the industry’s current status with a Power Point presentation, said that in addition to tight retail and wholesale credit, shaky consumer confidence has rocked the industry.
“The consumer used to be rich and now he wonders if he’s going to have enough to survive,” Coon said. “People are worried about whether thy are going to have a job.”
Although the association still has 91 manufacturer members, he added, the entire RV industry is going through a shakeup with 17 RV companies dropped from the association in recent months.
Coon told the assembled state campground association leaders that they need to consider wider sites because of RVIA’s decision to allow members to build fifth-wheels up to 430 square feet in the setup mode, along with the advent of telescoping slideouts.
“Manufacturers are going to build what the consumers want,” he said. “I’m sure it’s become a pain for a lot of the older campgrounds, especially where you put your utilities. But that part’s not going to get better; it’s going to get worse.”
The industry’s Go RVing marketing expansion campaign’s media budget has been cut to $3.5 million this year — down from a high of about $15.5 million in 2007 — because of declining RVIA seal sales which finance the program, Coon reported.