The recreational vehicle industry is growing again, and Virginia RV dealers are no exception.
“Definitely, business is up,” said Dennis Dalheim, general manager of Dixie RV Superstore. “The RV industry has always been a leading indicator in the economy. It truly tells people are spending money.”
The Daily Press reported that since the recession, RV manufacturers have had to improve amenities and technology, like flat-screen TVs, sound systems, decor, flooring and countertop materials and even electric fireplaces, according to Dodd RV President Jamie Dodd. Inventory also had to be right-sized for more affordable prices. On the Peninsula, less expensive travel trailers, or towables, are more popular than motorhomes, both dealers said.
While lower price points means less revenue, Dodd RV in Yorktown is back to pre-recession levels in the number of recreational vehicles sold, Dodd said. Sales of used RVs remained solid through the recession, he said.
So far this year, the number of RVs sold at Dodd RV, which also has a location in Portsmouth, is up about 13% compared to the same time last year, Dodd said. He said sales were up last year, too. Dixie RV reported a roughly 20% increase in the number of motor homes sold and a 60% increase in towables this year compared to last year, Dalheim said. Both businesses stock their lots with more than 200 vehicles and campers.
Both dealers said sales are about 80% new and 20% used.
RV owners aren’t just retirees anymore. Yes, Baby Boomers and empty nesters are buying, but the Peninsula dealers say they are seeing plenty of business from families, including so-called millennials.
“Most people that buy them get them to do fun things with their families or spouses,” Dodd said.
The majority of Dixie RV’s business coming from younger couples, Dalheim said. The difference with the millennial generation is they do their research online before coming to the dealer, know what they want and are looking for a deal on the price, Dalheim said.
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