Retail sales of Class A and Class C motorhomes was sluggish in November and Statistical Surveys Inc. President Tom Walworth believes California’s higher motor vehicle fees were to blame.
Class A motorhome retail sales increased an anemic 0.5% in November, when compared with November 2002.
Class C retail sales fell 9.6% in November to 966 units sold in the 48 states from which Statistical Surveys was able to gather data. That compares with 1,069 a year earlier.
A total of 2,846 gas and diesel engine Class A’s were sold in the 48 states in November, compared with 2,831 in November 2002.
Statistical Surveys was unable to gather New Hampshire’s retail sales data and the independent market research firm does not collect Hawaii’s data.
Walworth believes the tripling of California’s motor vehicle fees by former Gov. Gray Davis, which took effect Oct. 1, but which was repealed by the new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, on Nov. 17 resulted in California residents postponing purchases, particularly of higher-priced Class A’s.
Because many California residents assumed Davis would be defeated in the recall election and Schwartzenegger would roll back the fee to the pre-Oct. 1 level, they delayed their motorhome purchases, Walworth said.
Consequently, the December retail sales figure due out next month should show an improvement, he said.
The sluggish October and November retail sales performance ran counter to the robust motorhome retail market conditions experienced in the second and third quarters of 2003, according to Statistical Surveys data.
Retail sales of Class A’s were up 6.4% during the first 11 months of 2003 to 37,343 units, compared with 35,083 units sold by dealers in the first 11 months of 2002.
Class A retail sales were up 14% in the second quarter last year and 9.6% in the third quarter, after a listless first-quarter increase of 0.5% because of worries about the situation with Iraq, according to Statistical Surveys data.
Class C retail sales were up 6.1% in the first 11 months of 2003 to 16,329 units, compared with 15,389 in the first 11 months of 2002.
Pent-up demand seemed to be indicated by the 12% increase in retail sales of Class C’s in the second quarter of 2003. Class C retail sales were up 4.2% in the first quarter and 3.9% in the third quarter of 2003, Statistical Surveys reports.