TRG logoThe Thompson Research Group remains bullish on the RV industry in its latest client newsletter.

Founder and research director Kathryn Thompson stated, following this week’s release of the September towable sales figures from Statistical Surveys Inc., that “recent survey work suggests a positive dealer buying sentiment going into the most important industry event of the year,” the National RV Trade Show Dec. 1-3 in Louisvile, Ky.

The Wall Street investment firm maintains its “buy” rating for the stocks of Thor Industries Inc., Winnebago Industries Inc. and Drew Industries Inc.

Following are key points from her newsletter.

  • Travel trailer retail sales fell 22.6% to 7,510 units in September. Thor maintained top market share with 28.7% share (up 71 basis points year-over-year).
  • Fifth-wheel retail sales fell 28.5% in September vs. a 27.1% decrease in August. Thor currently occupies the No. 1 position in the category with 37.6% market share.

TRG opinion

“We surveyed 62 dealers this week, and 78% will be participating in next month’s show. Out of those dealers, 60%-plus indicated that they will be purchasing towable products. An improvement in wholesale shipments is two-fold with dealers restocking depleted inventory and a presence of improved retail demand. Fall retail show orders were above expectations, and that has translated to increased manufacturer orders. Thor, Jayco, and Heartland RV (all towable manufacturers) recently announced additions to their workforce because of increased demand. Because of improved order outlooks, we are hearing manufacturers are taking only a week or two of production off at the end of December versus three weeks to two months time off last year.

“In planning for the Louisville show in a week, we had at least one private RV manufacturer contend that they may be unable to meet us because of the overwhelming dealer request for meetings to place orders. This is all before the show even starts, which can generate up to 20%-30% of annual orders. Overall, we expect the news out of the Louisville show to be very encouraging. We would be buyers of THO, DW, and WGO going into the RVIA show.”




Kathryn I. Thompson

Founder/Director of Research

TRG|Thompson Research Group