The European RV market showed relative strength during the first quarter of this year, when compared with its U.S. counterpart, according to data collected by the European Caravan Federation.
The federation, based in Kriftel, Germany, gathered vehicle registration data from 15 European countries and found the number of motor caravans sold increased 0.9% in the first quarter to 12,682 units while touring caravan sales declined 5.4% to 23,773 units.
Motor caravans are equivalent to what North Americans call Class B and Class C motorhomes. Touring caravans describes towable units.
In comparison, retail sales of Class A and Class C motorhomes in the U.S. declined 25.1% during the first quarter to 9,953 units, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., and independent market research firm.
Statistical Surveys does not follow Class B motorhome retail sales.
Meanwhile, travel trailer and fifth-wheel retail sales declined 10.3% to 28,632 units and folding camper sales fell 12% to 6,679 units during the first quarter, Statistical Surveys reported.
The European federation gathered data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
In the largest European RV market, Germany, motor caravan sales increased 2.2% during the first quarter to 4,295 units and touring caravan sales declined 4.8% to 5,178 units.
The next largest European RV markets are France and Italy. In France, motor caravan sales increased 4.7% in the first quarter to 2,970 units although touring caravan sales declined 11.3% to 3,098 units.
In Italy, motor caravan sales declined 6.7% in the first quarter to an estimated 2,700 units and touring caravan sales plunged 28.3% to 370 units.
Meanwhile, in the UK, motor caravan sales increased 1.3% in the first quarter to 1,109 units and touring caravan sales declined 2.3% to 6,067 units.
Another big touring caravan market is the Netherlands, where sales were off 0.2% in the first quarter to an estimated 4,100 units, according to the federation.