The University of Michigan’s Dr. Richard Curtin has revised his forecast upward for RV shipments in 2004, now estimating factory-to-dealer deliveries will increase 2.9% this year to 330,100 motorhomes and towable units.
If Curtin’s forecast proves accurate, the wholesale market will exceed its most recent peak of 321,100 units delivered to dealers in 1999.
The estimated 2.9% growth in 2004 would come on top of 3.2% growth in 2003, when there were 320,800 units shipped, compared with 311,000 in 2002, according to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported.
Curtin revised his forecast for 2004 because shipments during the fourth quarter of 2003 exceeded fourth-quarter 2002 levels by 8.3%. Wholesale market volume during the second half of last year even exceeded the robust pace set during the final six months of 1999 by 4.2%, according to the RVIA.
“The favorable outlook for RV shipments is due to continued growth in disposable incomes, low inflation, low interest rates and renewed growth in employment,” said Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center and an economic consultant to the RVIA.
Lower taxes, the improving stock market, population trends and concerns about the safety of international travel also are working in the RV industry’s favor, Curtin added.
“The RV industry is booming as increasingly confident, younger consumers recognize the advantages of RVing over other forms of vacation and leisure,” said Dave Humphreys, the RVIA’s president.