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Retail sales of travel trailers and fifth-wheels exceeded wholesale shipments during March, reveals a comparison of retail sales data from Statistical Surveys Inc. and wholesale shipments figures from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
According to the March retail sales data released by Statistical Surveys Tuesday (May 21), there were 11,486 travel trailers sold by dealers in 48 states, which exceeds by 586 units the 10,900 travel trailers shipped from factories to dealers during March, according to RVIA data issued earlier this month. (The RVIA rounds its figures to the nearest hundredth.)
And the difference, most likely, is greater than 586 because Statistical Surveys was unable to get retail sales figures from New Hampshire in time for its report.
Otherwise, Statistical Surveys gathers retail sales data from the vehicle licensing bureaus of all states except Hawaii, while the RVIA gathers shipments data from its members.
Meanwhile, there were 5,773 fifth-wheels sold retail during March, according to Statistical Surveys, while around 5,500 fifth-wheels were shipped wholesale in March, the RVIA reported. Consequently, there were at least 273 more fifth-wheels retailed in March than were delivered from the factories to dealerships around the country.
There was some dealer inventory accumulation during the January and and February of this year, as indicated by the fact 4,961 more travel trailers were shipped wholesale during the first quarter than were sold retail.
Also, there were at least 2,718 more fifth-wheels shipped wholesale than were sold retail during the first quarter.
It is unclear whether, as of March, production bottlenecks were preventing the manufacturers from shipping more travel trailers and fifth-wheels to dealers, or whether dealers are remaining conservative in terms of inventory management.
Shipments of fifth-wheels actually declined 1.8% in March, when compared with March 2001, while travel trailer shipments increased a modest 2.8% when last March is compared with the same month a year-ago, the RVIA reported.
At least one towables manufacturer, the Keystone subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc., will add around 10,000 units in annual capacity in the third or fourth quarter because of the strong demand it is experiencing.