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Shipments of recreational park trailers in the U.S. and Canada fell 7.3%to 7,074 units in 2003, a net drop of 562 units from 7,636 units in 2002, according to the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
Most of the decline occurred in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Colorado, which collectively saw their shipments decline by 595 units.
Conversely, California, which has traditionally been a weak park trailer market, saw a nearly 10% increase in shipments, with 664 units shipped in 2003, while Delaware’s shipments increased 72% to 146 units. Wisconsin reported a 22% gain to 492 units.
Arizona, meanwhile, appears to have stabilized at around 670 units annually after several years of declines that industry officials attributed to competition with existing park trailer inventory and to the fact that many Arizona RV parks already have as many park trailers as they can accommodate.
“The biggest single area of weakness appears to be in the Southeast, but we’re not really sure why our shipments have declined so much there,” said William Garpow, RPTIA’s executive director. “Florida is, of course, a mature market and we may be getting to the point where sales of new units are competing against existing used park trailer inventory, as has been the case in Arizona. But that doesn’t explain why the numbers are down in Georgia and North Carolina.”
Garpow also noted that the Midwest, which has recently been one of the industry’s strongest markets, posted mixed results in 2003, despite the record production backlogs of many of the park trailer industry manufacturers in Northern Indiana that serve that market.
Most of New England, meanwhile, continues to post record park trailer sales growth, while Canada has emerged as an increasingly strong export market, Garpow said.
“I think we’re going to continue to see an ebb and flow of recreational park trailer sales in many areas, depending on their local market conditions, which could be affected by everything from the cost of real estate to the ability of their campgrounds and RV parks to accommodate park trailer units,” Garpow said. “The good news, of course, is that the 2003 figures are generally consistent with the performance the industry has seen in recent years.”
Recreational park trailer manufacturers have typically produced about 7,000 to 8,000 units per year.
Here are some shipment totals for recent years:
– 7,753 in 1998
– 8,161 in 1999
– 8,343 in 2000
– 7,398 in 2001
– 7,636 in 2002.