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Gas prices may be on the rise in California, but that hasn’t translated into a decrease in RV sales.
According to the Modesto Bee, sales remain hot, supporting some optimistic shipment projections for 2004 from RVIA and continuing a trend in California over the past two years.
“I haven’t had one person comment on gas being a consideration,” said Stan Holway, sales manager at Brawley’s RV in Modesto. “Buyers seem to have concluded that the recreational vehicle is a good value for the entertainment dollar.”
Holway noted that taking a family of four to the movies costs $40 in California, which will buy the gas for a weekend of camping.
“This is a very family-oriented group of people. They like the camaraderie and friendship,” Holway said.
Sales were strong across the board, but dealers also were seeing consumers opting for SURV’s, particularly in the growing number of younger RVers.
“I do see a younger generation,” said Jack Anderson, owner of Escalon RV. “I never used to see 25- to 35-year-old people. Now you see kids turn around and buy a four-by, jack it up, and buy a toy hauler. They’ve just got more money for toys.”
Frank Denis of Denis RV said SURV’s – vehicles designed to haul off-road toys – have also helped even out some of the seasonality of RV sales.
“Normally, the December through February months are slow,” Denis said. “But the people who use ATVs and dirt motorcycles tend to head for sandy areas, and those areas are too hot in the summer months. Winter, though, is the ideal time to play in the desert.”
According to the article, the boom isn’t limited to toy haulers. RVers are also interested in comfort. Bruce Martin and his wife, Barbara, recently bought a 40-foot motorhome, their third, and are living in it full time.
Martin hopes to retire from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. next year. They put their house on the market, and it sold more quickly than they anticipated.
Martin said. “I think it’s the ability to travel, and when you get to your destination, you are still at home,” he said. “You get to stay in some places you would probably just fly over. You acquaint yourself with the countryside.”