More and more, recreational vehicles are topping hurricane checklists for Florida residents, according to a report in the Bradenton Herald.
“In two hours, they can be out of the way of a hurricane in perfect comfort,” said Mark Heyl, sales manager of Dream RV. If they own an RV, Floridians who flee hurricanes can have instant access to generators, refrigerators and air conditioners, he said.
Plus, RVs provide additional storage space for personal belongings and important papers, said Billie Turner, general sales manager of Conley RV Center. “How much can you pack in a car?”
Unpredictable hurricane seasons have brought a new segment of buyers to the RV industry in recent years, Turner said, and they don’t wait until the last minute to buy.
Industry experts, though, haven’t seen a nationwide trend of people evacuating ahead of hurricanes in RVs, says Rachel Parsons, public relations manager for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in Reston, Va.
“We’ve seen a high influx of sales in RVs, but it’s been due to people buying and vacationing in RVs,” Parsons said.
Phil Ingrassia, vice president of communications for the National Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), agreed, noting that people purchasing RVs aren’t just looking for emergency housing; they want to travel and enjoy themselves.
Unofficially, he’s heard about dealers, mostly along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast, experiencing an increase in sales due to hurricanes. “Some dealers are saying, ‘If you’re concerned about this, come in and get one while you can select what you want,’ ” Ingrassia said.
Impending hurricanes may nudge people who have thought about buying an RV for some time to make the decision to buy, he said. “Most are people interested in using RVs, and if there is an emergency situation, they can get to a safer environment,” Ingrassia added.
Sport Utility RVs (SURVs), or toy haulers, also are popular among people evacuating ahead of hurricanes, according to Turner. “It’s the strongest-selling product now, bringing a younger crowd into RVing,” he said.