Factory to dealer shipments of travel trailers and fifth-wheels set RV industry records during 2002, according to data collected by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
The number of travel trailers and fifth-wheels shipped wholesale in 2002 exceeded every year since 1991, and, in most cases, by a wide margin, the RVIA data shows.
There may have been more travel trailers shipped during certain years in the 1970s, but that comparison probably is not meaningful because the industry was just beginning to grow into a major recreational products business, and the used-unit market was not as developed as it is today.
Now, used-units sales, which mostly occur between individuals, account for about two-thirds of all RV sales.
There were 129,700 travel trailers shipped during 2002, which exceeds the 117,500 units delivered to dealers in 1999, the industry’s most recent cyclical peak.
Meanwhile, 66,100 fifth-wheels were shipped in 2002, surpassing the 62,300 units delivered in 2000, the most recent peak year for fifth-wheels.
Although folding camper and truck camper shipments did not set records last year, the strong dealer demand for travel trailers and fifth-wheels lifted the combined towables category to a record level, according to the RVIA. There were 250,600 towables in all four categories shipped in 2002, exceeding every year since 1991, including the most recent cyclical peak of 249,600 units delivered in 1999.
However, the motorhome sector still has a ways to go to break the records set in 1999. There were 39,600 Class A motorhomes delivered to dealers in 2002, but that is less than the peak number of 49,400.
Also, there were more Class A’s shipped in both 1998, 42,900, and 2000, 41,000 units, than last year, the RVIA reports.
In the case of Class C’s there were 18,000 shipped in 2002, compared with 18,600 1999, the RVIA reports.