The new unit inventories of smaller RV dealers were 11.5% larger during January 2001 than during January 2000, but bigger dealers saw very little inventory change year-to-year, according to dealer consultant firm The Spader Companies.

New unit inventories at smaller dealerships – those with less than $5 million in annual revenue – was 11.5% higher, averaging $1,059,431, the Spader firm reported. Used unit inventories at the smaller dealerships was down 1.1% last January to an average of $224,349. Consequently, the average smaller dealer’s total RV inventory was 9% higher, at $1,283,780, in January.

Meanwhile, new unit inventories at larger dealerships – those with more than $5 million in annual sales – were up only 0.5% in January to $2,844,876. Used unit inventories at larger dealerships were up 2.2% in January to $670,380. As a result, the total RV inventory at the average larger dealerships was up 0.8% in January at $3,515,256.

An explanation for why new unit inventories were bigger at the smaller dealerships can be found in the 20.2% decline in new RV sales revenue, to an average of $81,415 during January, according to the Spader firm. But despite the decline in new unit sales at smaller dealerships, their total sales were up 12.9% in January to $128,278.

At the bigger dealerships, new unit sale revenue was up 1.8% to an average of $433,561 and total sales were up 0.1% to $687,544 in January.

Average RV dealerships, both big and small, lost about the same amounts of money in January, according to the Spader firm. Smaller dealerships lost an average of $23,017 in January 2001, compared with average losses of $23,086 during January 2000. Larger dealerships lost an average of $27,410 last January, compared with average losses $27,570 during January 2000.

Typically, January accounts for only 5% of an RV dealer’s annual business, so it is unwise to draw conclusions from the January data, said Noel Lais, vice president of the Spader firm.