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Dealer inventories were larger in dollar terms at the end of August, which may be attributed to the cooling off of the retail market for Class A motorhomes that month.
According to consulting firm Spader Management Inc., new-RV-unit inventories were 2% to 8% larger in total dollars at the end of August compared with August 2003.
At large dealerships with more than $10 million in annual sales, new-RV-unit inventories were larger on average by 8.1%, with inventories valued at $4,254,685 compared with $3,934,451 in August 2003.
At dealerships with $5 million to $10 million in annual revenue, new-RV-unit inventories expanded by an average of 5.8% through August to $2,046,345 compared with $1,933,792 in 2003.
At dealerships with less than $5 million in annual sales, new-RV-unit inventories grew on average 2.1% larger to $1,041,638 compared with $1,019,860 last year.
Earlier this month, Statistical Surveys Inc., reported that Class A motorhome sales declined 18.3% in August in the number of units sold by dealers to retail buyers compared with August 2003.
Class A motorhome unit sales, however, were up 6.1% when the first eight months of this year are compared with the same portion of 2003.
Tom Stinnett, owner of Tom Stinnett RV Freedom Center in Clarksville, Ind., said he noticed the motorhome market starting to soften in July. Stinnett, a dealer since 1978, remains upbeat, however, because experience has shown that sales of big-ticket items such as motorhomes tend to cool off during the months immediately before a presidential election.
Consequently, motorhome sales can be expected to improve after the election, Stinnett predicted.
The increase in gasoline and diesel prices to near-record levels that started in August because of international events and hurricanes disrupting Gulf of Mexico crude-oil deliveries, also played a role in the softening of the Class A motorhome market in August, Stinnett noted.