RV shipments from factories to dealers grew by a surprisingly strong 6.3% in January, showing the industry was able to successfully work around the shortage of ovens and ranges, according to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) data.
The growth this January also is contrasted against a relatively weak January 2003, when manufacturers and dealers were worried about the impact on consumer confidence of the possibility of war with Iraq.
Manufacturers were able to work around the oven shortage by substituting three-burner cooktops and microwaves or shipping units to dealers without ovens. The ovens will be installed in the units at dealerships once they arrive in greater numbers from the oven manufacturers, according to many RV builders.
January was a particularly strong month for motorhomes, with shipments increasing 15.2%, the RVIA reports.
Meanwhile, towable RVs, which account for about four out of every five RVs built, increased 4.4% in January, according to the RVIA.
Here is how the various product categories fared:
• Travel-trailer shipments increased 8.5% in January to 12,700 units, compared with 11,700 units delivered in January 2003.
• Fifth-wheel shipments increased 10% in January to 5,500 units, compared with 5,000 a year earlier.
• Folding-camper deliveries declined 15.6% in January to 2,700 units, compared with 3,200 a year earlier.
• Truck camper shipments declined 14.3% in January to 600 units, compared with 700 a year earlier.
• Class A motorhome shipments increased 16.1% in January to 3,600 units, compared with 3,100 a year earlier.
• A total of 200 Class B motorhomes were shipped in January, the same number relivered in January 2003.
• Class C motorhome shipments increased 15.4% in January to 1,500 units, compared with 1,300 a year earlier.