The impact of travel trailer sales for temporary housing in hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast areas bolstered towable retail registrations for December and the fourth quarter of 2005, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
Data from the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based independent firm showed overall towable sales totaled 12,254 units in December, up 4.6% from 11,713 a year ago. Fourth-quarter registrations improved 9% from 2004 while sales for the full year were relatively flat, up 0.8% to 263,962 units versus 261,978.
For the month, travel trailer sales gained 11.7% from 2004, with 7,069 units sold compared with 6,327. Sales in the fourth quarter increased 14.8% and year-end registrations totaled 154,723 units, a 5.9% rise from 146,047 sold the previous year.
Wholesale shipments recently reported by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) also reflected emergency housing needs in the Gulf Coast, as travel trailer deliveries surged 44.7% in December and 20.2% for the full year. RVIA noted those figures did not include stripped-down Emergency Living Units (ELUs) built without holding tanks for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Other highlights from the Statistical Surveys retail report include:
• The December fifth-wheel retail market declined 1.8% to 4,307 units from 4,387 in 2004. For the full year, fifth-wheel retail registrations slid 1.4% to 79,488 units from 80,597, but were up 3% for the fourth quarter with 14,821 units sold.
• Camping trailer sales declined 3.6% in December with 538 units sold versus 558 the previous year. Sales of fold-downs dropped 0.6% for the fourth quarter and were 16.8% behind 2004 for the full year with 24,493 units sold compared to 29,433.