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Retail sales of fifth-wheels were up 20.1% and travel-trailer retail sales increased by 15.1% when March of this year is compared with March 2003, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
Of course, March 2003 is when the initial invasion of Iraq occurred, so consumer confidence was lower then than March of this year. Consequently, double-digit growth rates in wholesale deliveries and retail sales will become more difficult to maintain for the remainder this year, particularly if high gas prices and the hostilities in Iraq eventually impact the RV market.
This past March, 7,690 fifth-wheels were sold by dealers in the 48 states from which Statistical Surveys was able to gather data, compared with 6,402 in March 2003.
Statistical Surveys was unable to collect New Hampshire’s sales figures in time for its report and the company does not collect Hawaii’s data.
During the first quarter of this year, fifth-wheel retail sales increased 24.2% to 16,698 units, compared with 13,441in the first three months of last year.
In the case of travel trailers, 14,079 units were sold in the 48 states in March, compared with 12,234 a year earlier. During the first quarter, travel-trailer retail sales increased 17.7% to 28,309 units, compared with 24,050 in the same portion of 2003.
Dealer-to-consumer sales of folding campers and park models both declined in March, Statistical Surveys reports.
Folding-camper retail sales declined 5.5% in March to 3,077 units, compared with 3,255 a year earlier. During the first quarter, folding-camper retail sales declined by 2.4% to 5,518 units, compared with 5,655 in the three months of last year.
Sales of park trailers by dealers to retail buyers declined 2.3% in March to 428 units, compared with 438 a year earlier. However, during the first quarter, retail sales of park models was up by 15.5% to 1,037 units, compared with 898 in the first three months of 2003.