National RV Holdings Inc. remained profitable during the fourth quarter of last year although its earnings were down 96% to $351,000.

The Perris, Calif.-based company’s sales also declined 21% during the three months ended Dec. 31 to $80.3 million.

During the full year 2000, National RV’s earnings declined 70% to $10 million and its sales were down 17% to $348.8 million.

“We saw a continued softness in the industry during the fourth quarter with a marked slowdown during November and December,” said Wayne Mertes, president and CEO. “In addition, consumer confidence levels declined significantly towards the end of the year. The resulting decline in retail sales of RVs from dealer lots adversely affects our dealers’ ability to obtain flooring for new units.”

As has been the case with many motorhome manufacturers, National RV saw “a continuing shift in product mix towards more diesel motorhomes (and) away from gas units,” Mertes continued. National RV’s gas motorhome shipments fell 50% during the fourth quarter to 256 units while its diesel shipments declined a more modest 14% to 323 units.

During all of 2000, National RV’s gas motorhome shipments plunged 40% to 1,508 units but its diesel shipments were down only 5% to 1,344 units.

National RV’s towable shipments increased 48% during the fourth quarter to 193 units and its towable shipments during all of last year increased 29% to 553 units.

The company believes sales during the first half of this year will be below what they were during the first half of 2000, but National RV also “is enjoying a backlog of orders comparable to that of a year ago, growing towables sales and some success at cutting costs to reduce overhead.”