If the gasoline prices are a concern, you probably shouldn’t be in the market for a recreational vehicle, according to a report in the Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.
After all, said William MacKenzie, a floor manager at Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, which has California locations in Colton, Santa Fe Springs and Fountain Valley, “none of them have great fuel economy. That’s not what they are made for.”
At least that’s the sales pitch some recreational vehicle dealers and manufacturers at the 54th Annual California RV Show in Pomona are relying on this week to help shore up an industry that has bumped along rugged roads for a year or two.
Gas prices, rising interest rates and moody consumer confidence are the primary reasons some RV manufacturers have given for their problems, especially a decline in sales of Class A motorhomes, the largest and most expensive RVs.
At the same time, however, the industry is on pace to ship 384,100 units in 2006, which would be its third-best year in history, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) which hosts the Pomona show.
MacKenzie, who was working a display Wednesday (Oct. 18) for RVs made by Riverside-based Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., said the industry has responded to fuel price concerns by introducing lower-priced coaches with “high-end aesthetics and quality.”
And gas prices have fallen recently, anyway, he added.
Lower prices were the key for Corey and Rolanda Williams, of Yucaipa, who are hoping to buy a motorhome in the $100,000 range sometime next year.
“That’s really as high as we can go,” said Corey Williams, adding that he is concerned more about loan payments than gas prices.
Frank and Nancy Kraus, of Torrance, say they visit the show every other year or so. The retired couple, who were checking out a top-of-the-line Country Coach motorhome on Wednesday, travel quite a bit in their own RV, a fifth wheel trailer.
“We are looking at what is new,” said Frank Kraus.
The newest product this year was also the star, based on the number of people – including competitors – who stopped by Wednesday to look.
Perris, Calif.-based Weekend Warrior, which pioneered the trailers know as “toy boxes,” introduced its first-ever motorized products at the show. The 35-foot Road Warrior coach comes in three styles and is only sold by Claremont-based Giant RV.
“We’ve had more vendors over here than you can shake a stick at,” said Giant RV salesman Erik Hansen, who worked the show Wednesday.
The company has sold eight Road Warriors since the show began late last week, said Weekend Warrior Vice President of Marketing Gary Denton.
More than 4,000 consumers are expected to attend this year’s expo, where hundreds of exhibitors are showing off their latest products.
The largest retail RV show in the nation, the 10-day event – which ends Sunday – covers 20 acres and includes more than 2,000 vehicles, said Marsha McInnis, who produces the show for RVIA.