Keystone RV Co. and Forest River Inc. posted big retail market share gains in towable RVs during 2000, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.

To a significant degree, Keystone and Forest River, both based in Goshen, Ind., gained at the expense of long-time market share leader, Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., Riverside, Calif.

Fleetwood’s market share in travel trailers, fifth-wheels, folding campers and park models slid from 24.3% in 1999 to 23.4% in 2000.

Fleetwood lost market share in travel trailers, fifth-wheels and park models, although it gained market share in folding campers during 2000, Statistical Surveys reported.

In travel trailers, Fleetwood’s dealers retailed 22,283 units last year, a 3.8% increase from the 21,457 units sold during 1999, but Fleetwood’s market share declined to 20.5% in 2000, from 21.6% a year earlier.

Keystone recorded the largest gain in the travel trailer segment in 2000. Its dealers sold 7,564 units, a 31.8% increase over the 5,739 units sold a year earlier. The higher unit volume vaulted Keystone into the No. 5 position in retail market share at 7%, compared with 5.8% in 1999.

Forest River also recorded a strong gain in travel trailers. Its retail unit volume gained 21.1% to 13,329 units sold in 2000, and its market share increased to 12.3% in 2000, compared with 11.1% a year earlier.

The 12.3% market share placed Forest River a solid No. 3 among travel trailer builders.

Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind., remained No. 4 in travel trailers. Its retail sales gained 10.1% in 2000 to 7,778 units and its market share increased marginally to 7.2% last year, from 7.1% in 1999.

Thor Industries Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, remained No. 2 in travel trailers with a 1.9% increase in retail sales to 16,012 units, although its market share declined to 14.8% from 15.8% in 1999.

In fifth-wheels, Fleetwood’s retail volume declined 5.8% last year to 9,601 units, and its market share decreased to 17.1% in 2000, from 18.6% in 1999.

Meanwhile, Keystone’s retail volume in fifth-wheels rocketed 52.2% to 5,972 units and its market share climbed to 10.6% in 2000, from 7.2% in 1999.

The 10.6% market share placed Keystone No. 4 among fifth-wheel manufacturers during 2000.

Forest River’s retail sales of fifth-wheels also gained 18% in 2000 to 6,774 units and yielded a 12.1% market share, compared with 10.5% in 1999.

The increase allowed Forest River to climb past Thor into the No. 2 position among fifth-wheel manufacturers.

Thor’s retail sales of fifth-wheels declined 5% to 6,142 units in 2000, and its market share slipped to 11% from 11.8% in 1999.

In popups, Fleetwood’s retail market share increased to 39.7% last year, from 36.9% in 1999, despite the fact its volume declined 1.8% to 18,453 units, compared to 18,795 units retailed during 1999.

However, the other leading producers of folding campers saw their sales decline by larger amounts.

No. 2 Jayco saw its volume plunge 18.8% to 6,466 units sold last year, and its market share declined to 13.9%, from 15.6% in 1999.

Starcraft RV Inc., Topeka, Ind., the No. 3 producer of folding campers, saw its volume decline 12.9% to 4,782 units, and its market share decrease to 10.3%, from 10.8% in 1999.

No. 4 Coachmen saw its volume decline 7.1% to 4,605 units, although its market share increased to 9.9%, from 9.7% in 1999.

Forest River, the No. 5 producer of folding campers, saw its volume decline 7.5% to 4,584 units, which also yielded a 9.9% market share in 2000, compared with 9.7% in 1999.

For more details about the industry’s performance in 2000 and a look ahead at 2001, see the April edition of RV Business magazine.