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Dealers feel RV sales will rebound only slightly during the second half of 2001, according to a recently completed survey by the A.G. Edwards & Sons investment firm.

The Edwards firm surveyed 45 dealers from all regions of the country to compile its data.

The dealers surveyed believe the sales of new and used RVs will increase from 3.5% to 4% during the second half of this year, when compared with the second half of 2000.

Generally, the dealers surveyed by the Edwards firm felt the retail market remained weak during the second quarter of this year. They estimate sales declined 4.2% during the April-through-June period of this year, with towable RV sales declining 1.3% and motorhome sales falling 8.3%.

However, the Edwards firm points out that the second quarter of this year looks unfavorable only because the basis for comparison is the second quarter of 2000, when the RV retail market was exceptionally strong.

The RV retail market cooled off during the third quarter of 2000 and became rather cold during the fourth quarter of last year, according to most observers.

RV dealers now appear to be happy with their new and used unit inventory levels, according to the Edwards firm.
Only 16% of the dealers surveyed felt their new unit inventories were too large as of late June. In comparison, 27% of the dealers surveyed felt their new model inventories were too big during the first quarter of this year and 49% felt their new unit inventories were too large during the fourth quarter of last year.

“The majority of dealers reported that they will replace sold units one for one at this point,” according to Craig Clark, the analyst who follows the auto, truck and RV markets for the Edwards firm. “This indicates that wholesale shipments for RV manufacturers should closely track retail sales going forward.”