Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Chairman of the Board Bob Parish offered a positive outlook for the RV market and the industry’s largest trade association during his remarks on March 2 at the organization’s Annual Membership Meeting at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Boca Raton, Fla.
Citing the most recent forecast prepared by RV industry analyst Dr. Richard Curtin, Parish said that the RV market will see further gains in 2017, continuing to build on the robust growth seen in 2016. RV wholesale shipments are expected to rise by 3.55% to 445,700 units by year-end. Towable RV shipments will be up over 3% to 388,000 units with motorhomes reaching 57,700 units on 5% growth.
“Last year saw the RV market reach new heights. Given current economic conditions, we project that the industry will continue to make gains this year,” said Parish. “As chairman of RVIA, it is my pleasure to tell you that our association is as healthy and robust as the industry it represents.”
Parish noted that RVIA works across a wide range of areas to achieve the association’s mission to “promote and protect the RV industry and its members” and shared a video reporting on key accomplishments within those areas in 2016.
He also said that early in 2017 RVIA is focusing on key areas to continue boosting the RV market.
“Go RVing is already in the market promoting RV ownership with a full-throttle national campaign that incorporates television, print, digital, promotional partnerships and experiential events,” Parish explained. “This comprehensive effort was developed with the direction of new research from Nielsen that identified diverse groups of potential new customer groups and key messages that resonate with those prospects.”
He also cited RVIA’s increased focus on government affairs advocacy at the federal level. “We have really ramped up our efforts in this area, from pushing for the passage of the Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act, to forming the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable, to participating in inaugural events,” Parish said. “All of this serves to raise our profile and effectiveness on Capitol Hill.”
Parish acknowledged that there will also be challenges to address in the coming months. “As industry shipments continue to climb, we must watch for stress points that impact the consumer’s experience,” he said. “We know that manufacturers and suppliers are working diligently on this issue. As an organization, RVIA is looking for ways that the industry as a whole can develop and share best practices that impact the customer experience.”
Parish said that a series of surveys and workshops pertaining to new and warrantied parts identification and availability will soon kickoff. “The lessons learned will provide membership with suggestions to help maintain and perhaps raise the bar in these areas,” he said.
Industry education is also an important subject of focus. “In the last two years we have laid the foundation for change in many areas but none more important than technician education and training. The Technician in Training (TnT) program is showing great promise, and we all must continue to work together in building and enhancing this effort.”