Retail sales of RVs have remained strong in the Southern California counties to the east of Los Angeles, despite the war in Iraq and gasoline prices averaging more than $2 a gallon, according to the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif.
At the Altman’s Winnebago location in the RV Expo sales mall in Colton, Calif., salesman John Parrish told the newspaper his location is “pretty much on a record pace.”
“What’s it cost to go to a hotel?” Parrish asked, to put the impact of higher gas prices in perspective. “It’s hard to get a hotel next to a creek or a lake or wherever you want to be.”
Low interest rates are continuing to encourage RV purchases, according to Don Morency, salesman at Canyon Coach and Trailer Inc. in Colton.
With retail loans extending as long as 15 or 20 years, Morency said, “Those interest rates are locked in for 15 or 20 years. The gas prices are not.”
At Country Time RV Center in Riverside, owner Tim Plummer said, “Our biggest problem now is getting enough inventory to keep up with the RVs that are being sold.”
Plummer sells primarily towables built by Forest River Inc. of Goshen, Ind., and he said Forest River is “at capacity now.”
Further east in the desert, where RV sales volume typically slows this time of year, Ken Oskey, owner of B&K Sales in Indio, Calif., said, “I’m busier than heck.”
However, Oskey is concerned that high gas prices will, eventually have a negative impact on RV sales.
“It hasn’t affected anybody yet, but I think it’s going to,” Oskey said. “If you start charging $2 for a gallon of gas, how can it not?”