The economic consultant to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) believes a wholesale market recovery could begin as early as the first quarter of 2002.

John DeWolf believes shipments of motorhomes and towable RVs from factories to dealers hit bottom during September. Now, he believes 258,700 motorhomes and towables will be shipped this year, a 13.8% decline when compared with 2000, but better than his earlier forecasts.

During 2002, DeWolf believes total shipments will rise to around 263,200 units and deliveries will climb to around 300,000 units in 2003. That would mark a recovery to the level of 2000, when 300,100 units were shipped.

The RV industry’s best year during the last two decades was 1999, when 321,200 units were shipped to dealers.

DeWolf believes towable shipments will decline to 210,400 units this year, from 239,200 units in 2000. The decline will occur across all towable categories and shipments of all towables, except folding campers, will begin to recover next year, he forecasts.

Towable shipments will rise to 215,400 units next year, according to DeWolf.

However, DeWolf also believes motorhome shipments will decline again in 2002. He believes 48,300 motorhomes will be shipped this year, down from 60,900 in 2000. In 2002, DeWolf forecasts that 47,800 motorhomes will be shipped.
Only Class C motorhome shipments will improve during 2002, DeWolf said.