November towable sales continued to reflect the effects of a soft market and a tightened credit environment, showing a 45.9% decline in retail registrations.
“Retail lenders continue to pull back on their lending activities, tighten credit terms, and require larger down-payments,” said analyst Kathryn Thompson of Avondale Partners LLC. “It is our sense that whatever retail level demand that exists is being largely held back by the tough finance environment. As we are now firmly in the slow season for the RV market, we continue to expect additional RV market weakness and potential dealer and manufacturer failures.
According to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., overall November towable sales fell to 7,289 units from 13,475 in 2007 while year-to-date totals dropped 22.6% to 195,432 units compared with 252,426.
Other retail highlights include:
• October travel trailer sales retreated 44.6% to 4,454 units from 8,041 in the previous year. For the 11 months, trailer registrations were down 23.8% to 120,432 units compared with 158,053 in 2007.
• October fifth-wheel sales declined 49.4% to 2,252 units from 4,447 a year ago while the sector was down 21% year-to-date with 54,730 units sold compared with 69,249.
• Sales of folding camping trailers dropped 43.3% in November to 384 units from 667 the year prior and declined 19.2% for the 11 months with 16,819 units sold compared with 20,809.
• Recreational park trailer registrations fell 35.8% for the month with 199 units sold versus 310 in 2007 while year-to-date sales declined 20% to 3,451 units from 4,315.