Gasoline prices have climbed to more than $2 a gallon in many parts of the country, but dealers and manufacturers report the impact on RV sales, so far, is mixed.
“It hasn’t affected us yet,” said Bill Fenech, vice president and general manager of the Elkhart, Ind., division of Keystone RV Co., a manufacturer of towable units. “We’re at 100 percent of (factory production) capacity right now.”
Meanwhile, Pat Kennedy, principal of Alpine Recreation Sales, a full-line dealership in Morgan Hill, Calif., said it’s hard to separate the impact of rising gasoline prices from the volatile stock market and other economic events.
But Kennedy added, “Floor traffic is down. We are starting to hear people talk about fuel costs. The ones that come in now are higher income people.”
George Mustard, president of American Way RV Inc., a highline dealership in Boise, Idaho, that inventories Airstream, Newmar, and Chinook units, said his motorhome sales are down about 20%. However, he noticed a recent improvement, which makes him optimistic.
“Gas prices may affect people in the lower end of the Class A’s,” Mustard said, “But I’m looking for recovery in motorhomes in late summer or early fall.”
“When the economy goes (down) a little, the first thing people let go of is their toys. But it only slows people down for a little while,” said Bob Perron, a sales representative at Ancira Motorhomes in Donna, Texas, who specializes in Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.-built units.
“I think by this fall that gas prices will go down, the economy will get stronger and a banner year will follow starting in October,” added Perron, a 40-year RV industry veteran.