Although generally everyone agrees the RV industry is in a downturn, retail sales of travel trailers and fifth-wheels increased during 2000, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.

However, retail sales of folding campers declined last year, but most observers believe that occurred because of the popularity of expandable, also called hybrid trailers, which are classified as travel trailers.

Travel trailer retail sales increased 9% in 2000 to 108,540 units, Statistical Surveys reported.

The full year 2000 retail sales totals for all towable RVs did not include the December sales from North Dakota and South Carolina because those states have not completed their tabulations, according to Statistical Surveys.

Meanwhile, fifth-wheel sales increased almost 3% to 56,091 units retailed during 2000.

Folding camper retail sales declined 9% in 2000 to 46,521 units, Statistical Surveys reported.

Retail sales of the three types of towable RVs did decline during the fourth quarter of last year, Statistical Surveys reported.

Travel trailer sales were down 4% during the fourth quarter to 16,541 units and fifth-wheel retail sales were down 3% during the three months ended Dec. 31 to 10,339 units.

Folding camper sales declined 14% during the fourth quarter to 4,293 units retailed, Statistical Surveys reported.

For more details about the industry’s performance during 2000, and an outlook for 2001, see the April edition of RV Business magazine.