There was “a wide divergence” in RV sales, depending upon the region of the country, during the fourth quarter of 2001, according to a survey of 45 RV dealers conducted by the A.G. Edwards & Sons investment firm.

Sales were strongest in the West, where total unit sales were up 6.7% in the fourth quarter of 2001, when compared with the final three months of 2000.

The Edwards firm surveyed 15 dealers in California, Oregon and Washington to gather that result.

In the South/Southeast region, which included 15 dealers in Florida, Texas and Georgia, sales were up 3% in the fourth quarter, according to the Edwards firm.

However, the 15 dealers surveyed by the Edwards firm in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan reported their fourth quarter sales were down 9.1%.

“Generally speaking, the West region survey participants were the most optimistic as they indicated that sales did not initially suffer very much at all due to the events of September 11 and that the strength continued throughout the fourth quarter,” according to Craig Clark, associate analyst at the Edwards firm. “On the flip side, the Midwest region (Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan) participants indicated that sales definitely suffered immediately following September 11 and never returned to more normal levels. It was as if their typically slow winter sales season began much earlier than normal.”

However, the dealers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, along with the dealers from other parts of the country who were surveyed, believe RV sales, in terms of unit volume, will rebound this year, Clark added.

The 45 dealers anticipate a 6.1% increase in RV unit sales in 2002, versus 2001, according to the Edwards frim.