Economic consultant John DeWolf has made an upward revision to his forecast and now believes the number of RVs shipped from manufacturers to dealers this year will grow 14.6% to 294,400 units, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
The double-digit rates of growth for both the wholesale and retail markets for RVs so far this year led to DeWolf’s decision to revise his forecast upward, according to the RVIA.
During 2001, there were 256,800 RVs shipped from manufacturers to dealers, which represents the low-point of the RV industry’s current cycle.
The shipments figures include Class A, B and C motorhomes along with travel trailers, fifth-wheels, folding campers and truck campers.
A total of 294,400 units shipped this year still would be below the levels of 2000 and of 1999, the industry’s most recent cyclical peak.
In 2000, there were 300,100 units shipped, and in 1999, there were 321,200 units delivered to RV dealers.
The strong retail market has kept dealer inventories tight, and there is no sign of the retail demand weakening because of low interest rates, the Baby Boom Generation now is at the prime RV-buying age and the post-9/11 travel climate, according to DeWolf and several RV manufacturing company executives.
“Dealer inventories are currently at their lowest levels in several years,” said Sid Johnson, director of marketing at Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind. “Expect the first half of next year to be a continuation of the current strong trend.”
Many RV builders will be “operating at peak capacity throughout the winter (and) looking at expansion ideas to help meet sales demands this coming spring,” said Don Emahiser, vice president of sales and marketing at Starcraft RV, Topeka, Ind.
RV shipments can be expected to increase another 8% to 10% during the first half of 2003, added Bruce Hertzke, chairman, president and CEO of Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa.