Total RV shipments to retailers were reported at 16,600 units in the October survey of manufacturers, up 23% from this month one year earlier, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Associaiton (RVIA).

On a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis, October shipments reached 216,000 units, topping 200,000 units for the third consecutive month. Year-to-date totals have now reached 138,000 units, off 38.8% from this same period one year ago but slowly erasing larger loses earlier this year.

The good news comes as the RV industry prepares for its most important week of the year: the 47th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., which runs Dec. 1-3.

Here’s a closer look at the ongoing surge in RV shipments.

Most product segments, except for folding camping trailers and Class A motorhomes, showed shipment increases or held steady from October 2008, RVIA noted.

Towable shipments totaled 15,100, up 26.9% from October 2008, while all motorized shipments totaled 1,500 units, off just 6.2% from a year ago.

By segment, shipment totals in October were as follows, followed by comparison to October 2008:

  • Travel trailers, 9,800 units, up 31.4%.
  • Fifth-wheels, 4,200 units, up 35.5%.
  • Folding camping trailers, 900 units, down 25%.
  • Truck campers, 200 units, no change.
  • Class A motorhomes, 800 units, down 20%.
  • Class B motorhomes, 100 units, no change.
  • Class C motorhomes, 600 units, up 20%.

Meanwhile, total RV shipments for the first 10 months of 2009 total 225,400, off 38.8% from 2008.

Towable shipments totaled 198,500, down 35.7%, while motorized shipments totaled 10,400 units, off 61.3%.