Record across-the-board RV wholesale shipments in 2005 – led by conventional travel trailer deliveries – capped the RV industry’s best four-year stretch since the mid-1970s.
That is among the conclusions contained in the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 2005 Annual Review.
Manufacturers shipped a total of 384,000 units, an increase of 3.9% from 2004’s record total. Led by a nearly 25% increase in conventional travel trailer shipments, towables accounted for 323,000 units – up 8.3% from the previous year – while motorhome shipments of 61,400 slipped 14.5%.
This reflects an ongoing and significant shift in the recreational vehicle business, according to RVIA.
“While this year was an unusually strong year for towables, the percentage of towables as they relate to motorized has been climbing for a half-dozen years,” said Robert M. “Mac” Bryan, RVIA vice president of administration. “This year was a jump in that. That has a lot to do with the fact that there is a truck in the family inventory that will tow an RV and it is the value equation that consumers are applying to their purchase that makes towables more attractive at this time.”
Also factored into the equation, Bryan said, were sales of travel trailers and fifth-wheels to individuals and businesses in the Gulf Coast region as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Travel trailers designated as Emergency Living Units (ELU’s) ordered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are not included in the shipment totals.
Other report findings include:
• In the towable sector, conventional travel trailer shipments increased 23.3% to 186,000 units while fifth-wheel deliveries decreased 6.8% to 84,800 units and hybrid trailers dropped 17.2% to 10,600 units.
• The motorized shipments decline was led by Class A motorhomes, which fell 18.1% to 37,900 units. Class Bs were up 4% to 2,600 units and minimotorhomes were down 9.1% to 20,900 units.
• Hurricane-stricken Louisiana received 3.5% of total shipments – more than double the state’s traditional 1.5% – which ranked it fourth behind California, Texas and Michigan as a shipment destination.
• Because of the towable shift, the overall value of shipments declined 2.6% to $11.5 billion.
• Indiana manufacturers built 66% of the RVs produced in the U.S. last year. California manufacturers were second with 10.4% of total RV production followed by Oregon, Pennsylvania and Iowa.
• Folding camping trailers continued their precipitous retreat, with 32,800 units shipped in 2005, down 3.8% from 2004.
• Truck camper deliveries dipped 3.8% for the year on total shipment of 8,800 units.
• Shipments of conversion vehicles declined 16.4% to 35,100. Van conversions were off 23.1% while pickup truck conversions slipped 7.9%
• A total of 64.4% of all RVs shipped last year had at least one slideout room. As recently as 2000, that figures was 51%.