Despite the strong possibility of war against Iraq, the retail market for RVs has held up well, so Gulf Stream Coach Inc. executives are confident the company can achieve 30% to 40% rates growth in 2003.
“The industry has been quite resilient,” said Brian Shea co-president of Gulf Stream and president of the Nappanee, Ind.-based company’s Motorhome Division. “The initial retail shows at Tampa, Cleveland, Grand Rapids (Mich.) and Pleasanton (Calif.) have been quite good for us.”
Shea described the attitude of retail show attendees as, “Everyone knows we’re going to war and they believe it’ll be short.”
Gulf Stream’s forecasted growth in 2003 would come on top of robust growth rates in 2002, said Shea, whose brother, Dan, is the other Gulf Stream co-president and head of its Towables Division.
In 2002, wholesale deliveries of Gulf Stream’s travel trailers and fifth-wheels increased 49% to 5,800 units and its Class A and Class C shipments increased 86% to 3,400 units.
Class C’s accounted for a little more than half of Gulf Stream’s motorhome shipments last year, Shea added.
In the retail market, Gulf Stream ranked No. 9 among the manufacturers of travel trailers and fifth-wheels with a 2.3% market share in the first 11 months of 2002, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
In the motorhome sector, Gulf Stream ranked No. 10 among the builders of Class A’s with a 2.9% share of the retail market in the first 11 months of last year, Statistical Surveys reports.
Meanwhile, Gulf Stream ranked No. 4 in the Class C motorhome market with a 10.7% retail market share in the first 11 months of last year.
Gulf Stream is ramping up to build more midrange to highline gas-engine Class A’s, Shea said.
Additionally, sales of its new Atrium 40-foot, triple-slide diesel pusher with the midentry door floorplan “are taking off.” The new Prairie Schooner fifth-wheel with the “dual zone living” floorplan also is doing “extremely well” in the marketplace, Shea added.