Some dealers said the RV market has cooled down while others said it’s picking up, so executives at the Georgie Boy subsidiary of Coachmen Industries Inc. received a “mixed bag” of opinions from the company’s retailers during its national dealer meeting earlier this month.
The Georgie Boy meeting took place June 11-13 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Charleston, S.C.
“The general, overall, feeling (among Georgie Boy’s dealers) is one of guarded optimism,” said Pat Terveer, the company’s president. “Some said it (the market) slowed in May but picked up in June. Others who were steady said it has slowed down.
“Some California dealers are doing extremely well, while the Midwest is just OK,” Terveer continued. “Florida has picked-up after slowing in May.”
Bad weather in May apparently held-down sales in certain markets but Terveer added that Georgie Boy dealers, in general, believe consumer sentiment is rising.
However, there are dealers who are beginning to think that the sharp rise in gasoline and diesel fuel prices that occurred in May had a negative impact on sales. “Dealers are beginning to question whether availability (of gas and diesel fuel) is the only issue,” Terveer said.
But Georgie Boy, a Class A motorhome manufacturer, had a successful meeting, writing around $20 million worth of orders, Terveer said.
The Coachmen subsidiary, which currently is building nine units per day at its facilities in Edwardsburg, Mich., expects to generate $120 million to $125 million in sales revenue this year, which would represent a 20% to 23% increase over 2003, Terveer said.
Although Georgie Boy will begin shipping some model year 2005 units before June 30, Terveer said it now takes five weeks from when the company receives an order from a dealer before that unit can be shipped.
Georgie Boy’s assembly workers have been working “at least” 40 hours a week for the past year with occasional overtime to keep order backlogs from growing too large, Terveer added.