After taking a beating from the most recent recession, the recreational vehicle and boating industries are on the upswing.
The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle reported that associations representing manufacturers of RVs and boats expect 2015 to be a year of positive sales growth, as do area dealers.
Shipments of RVs, in fact, are expected in 2015 to reach their pre-recession level of 365,000 units.
That’s a figure that was last attained in 2006, officials from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) said. “That would be the sixth consecutive year of growth,” association spokesman Kevin Broom said.
The health of the economy and consumer sentiment are the primary drivers of new sales, dealers and industry officials said.
But there are other factors at play, including changing demographics and weather, that could improve or reverse those fortunes, they said.
Darren Ledgerwood, general manager of Flint Hills RV in Andover, Kan., said his family-owned company has seen a steady increase in business since 2013.
“The last two years, we’ve doubled our sales every year, and (this year) we’re 20 units up over last year,” Ledgerwood said, adding that RV sales include smaller camper trailers, larger fifth-wheel trailers and bus-sized motorized coaches.
Broom, of the Virginia-based RVIA, attributed improved business in the RV industry to a better economy and a stabilization of consumer confidence.
“And manufacturers have been putting out new, innovative products … lighter trailers with better fuel economy and can be pulled with smaller cars,” Broom said.
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