Dr. Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan once again has lowered his RV shipments forecast and now believes total RV shipments will decline 2% this year over last year, according to the summer edition of RV Roadsigns, a Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) publication.
Curtin believes factory-to-dealer shipments of all types of RVs will total 304,500 units this year, compared with 311,000 shipped in 2002.
Earlier this year, Curtin had forecast a 2% increase in shipments this year, and, late last year, he had forecasted a 5% increase in shipments in 2003, versus 2002.
The war in Iraq and rising fuel prices held down RV shipments during the second quarter of this year, but total RV shipments were up 8% for the first three months of this year, when compared with the relatively weak first three months of 2002.
“While fears of rising gas prices and anxiety about the war have all but disappeared, consumers continue to express concerns about their future job and income prospects,” according to Curtin. “These concerns will have their greatest impact on younger buyers.”
Curtin believes travel-trailer shipments will increase 9% this year, but deliveries of all other product categories will decline. He believes shipments will “strengthen in the last half of 2003 and into 2004.”
And although Curtin believes total shipments this year will be down, he added that the 2003 figure still is expected to be the third highest total since 1978.
Here is Curtin’s updated forecast by product category:
• Travel-trailer shipments will increase 9% this year to 141,300 units, versus 129,700 units in 2002.
• Fifth-wheel shipments will decline 6% this year to 62,200 units, versus 66,100 units in 2002.
• Class A motorhome shipments will decline 2% this year to 38,800 units, versus 39,600 units a year earlier.
• Class C motorhome shipments will decline 6% this year to 16,900 units, versus 18,000 units in 2002.
• Folding-camper deliveries will decline 25% this year to 33,800 units, versus 44,800 units last year.
• Truck camper deliveries will decline 10% this year to 9,100 units, compared with 10,100 units last year.
• Class B motorhome shipments will decline 14% to 2,400 units, versus 2,800 units in 2002.