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Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Chairman Claire Skinner predicts a solid future for the RV industry, despite a soft economy and the threat of war in Iraq.
“There are some significant factors that indicate our industry will endure whatever comes into play in the near term,” stated Skinner, chairman of Coachmen Industries Inc., Elkhart, Ind., during RVIA’s 2003 Annual Meeting, March 6-10 at the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort, Maui, Hawaii.
“First, our industry is the only travel industry segment that offers the answer to Americans’ fears about other modes of vacation travel. Second, low interest rates will continue to propel our industry, and indications are we will not see a significant rise in the near future. And third, reports from early 2003 RV consumer shows indicate heavy traffic, signaling continued strong interest in our products.”
Skinner said part of what led to a 21% increase in wholesale sales in 2002 was that the American public has a different mindset than before 9/11.
“There is a prevailing emphasis on having greater control over travel, spending more time with family and enjoying the great outdoors that America has to offer,” she said. “This is the trend that carried our industry through 2002 and is one that will sustain us into the future.”
Skinner also reported that RVIA in 2003 will:
– Seek to have other states adopt Florida’s pilot lemon law, which last year was renewed for four years. The law uses specially trained mediators and arbitrators to resolve RV industry disputes.
– Continue to oppose “unreasonable” increases in CAFE standards, which set the miles-per-gallon levels for automobiles and trucks.
– Release the Go RVing Committee on Excellence’s consumer satisfaction report during Committee Week in June in Washington, D.C. Twenty-one manufacturers took part in the study.
– Publish a fully updated 15-volume RV Service Technicians manual by the end of the year.
– Seek legislation in Delaware, New York, West Virginia and Wisconsin to allow motorhomes up to 45 feet in length on their highways. Five states – Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Carolina – approved length laws in 2002 bringing the national total of states to 43.