The industry’s strong performance in 2004, reflected in a 25-year benchmark for recreational vehicle shipments, also translated into robust retail sales.
According to Statistical Surveys Inc., motorhome sales grew 7.6% in 2004, bolstered by a healthy 14.6% jump in the Class C sector.
Towable sales also increased, up 10.3% over 2003 with 259,632 units sold, as all sectors registered gains except for folding camping trailers. Year-end retail numbers showed: fifth-wheel sales rose 16.3% to 80,141 units; travel trailer sales increased 11.5% to 144,917 units; recreational park trailer sales gained 14.6% to 5,878 units; and fold-down sales declined 8.3% to 28,696 units.
The following is a rundown of the “Top Ten” manufacturers’ market share rankings for all motorhomes and all towable RVs sold in the U.S. in 2004 compared to 2003, according to the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based repository for state retail registration information for the recreational vehicle, marine and manufactured housing industries.
Also featured are leading manufacturers of recreational park trailers, as well as the nation’s top-selling RV models for 2004.
While Winnebago Industries Inc. retained its position as the industry’s No. 1 manufacturer of Class A and C motorhomes combined, the only significant change in the rankings for the year involved Forest River Inc. and Newmar Corp. trading places, with Forest River moving up from 9th to 7th and Newmar slipping from 7th to 9th.
Winnebago posted a 19% market share, up .28% from 2003, followed by: Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., 17.9%, +.18%; Monaco Coach Corp., 11.7%, – 8.6%; Thor Industries Inc., 11.3%, +9.5%; Coachmen Industries Inc., 8.7%, +4.7%; Gulf Stream Coach Inc., 5.7%, +7.1%; Forest River Inc., 4.6%, +29.2%; National RV Inc., 4.5%, +6.1%, Newmar Corp., 4.0%, -9.3%; and Tiffin Motorhomes Inc., 3.4%, +4.0%.
The big news in terms of towable RV manufacturers’ market share rankings for 2004 is the fact that Forest River, the high-volume RV builder based in Elkhart, Ind., has moved ahead of Fleetwood into second place among American recreational trailer manufacturers.
Thor was the towable leader with a 26.4% market share, down 0.6% from 2003, followed by: Forest River, 15.1%, +1.4%; Fleetwood, 14.4%, -11.7%; Jayco, 8.2%, +19.7%; Coachmen, 4.5%, -14.9%; Skyline Corp., 3.1%, -8.3%; R-Vision Inc., 3.0%, -9.1%; Starcraft RV Inc., 2.5%, -5.3%; K-Z Inc., 2.3%, +6.5%; and Weekend Warriors Trailers Inc., 2.3%, -0.4%.
In a robust year for park model sales during which the builders in this niche market generated record sales, two companies in particular posted market share gains, with Cavco Industries Inc. bypassing Forest River to move from 5th to 4th and DNA Enterprises Inc. leapfrogging from 8th to 6th over Kropf Mfg. Co. Inc. and Woodland Inc.
Thor led the sector with a 24.6% market share, down 7.1% from 2003, followed by: Skyline, 20.0%, -3.6%; Chariot Eagle Inc., 13.3%, +9.4%; Cavco, 8.0%, +80.1%; Forest River, 6.3%, +5.2%; DNA, 4.0%, +1.0%; Kropf, 3.9%, -8.7%; Woodland Park Inc., 3.5%, -17.3%; Trophy Traveler, 3.3%, -12.6%; and Dutch Park Homes Inc., 2.5%, -13.4%.
The top-selling RV models by category were:
* Class A Diesel Motorhome: Winnebago by Winnebago Industries Inc.
* Class A Gas Motorhome: Winnebago by Winnebago Industries Inc.
* Class C Motorhome: Winnebago by Winnebago Industries Inc.
* Travel Trailer: R-Vision Inc.’s Trail Lite
* Fifth-Wheel: Thor Industries Inc.’s Keystone Montana
* Folding Camping Trailer: Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s Grand Tour
* Recreational Park Trailer: Thor Industries Inc.’s Breckenridge