John DeWolf, economic consultant to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), is forecasting a slow recovery in wholesale shipments this year.

DeWolf, in the current edition of RV ROADsigns, forecasts towable RV shipments this year will total 204,100 units, down 14.5% from the 239,200 units shipped from manufacturers to dealers in 2000.

Motorhome shipments in 2001 should total around 45,700 units, down 25% from the 60,900 units shipped during 2000.

If DeWolf’s forecasts are accurate, that means the monthly comparisons between 2001 and year 2000 shipments will show improvement the remainder of this year.

“It would appear the worst is behind us and shipment declines should end sometime early next year,” DeWolf wrote.

After the first four months of this year, towable RV shipments were down 19.5% to 75,300 units and motorhome deliveries were down 31.2% to 17,200 units, when compared with the same portion of 2000.

Also, if DeWolf’s forecast of 204,100 towable shipments proves accurate, then towables shipments volume will have fallen back to the levels of 1997-98. In 1997, there were 199,500 new towables shipped and 229,200 towable units were delivered during 1998, according to RVIA data.

In the motorhome sector, this year’s production forecast of 45,700 units would only equal that of the 1991-92 time frame, if DeWolf’s forecast proves accurate. There were 42,200 new motorhomes shipped in 1991 and 47,000 motorhomes delivered during 1992, according to RVIA records.