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Industry data strongly suggests that the travel trailer/fifth-wheel sector fully recovered this year because shipments most likely will exceed the most recent peak levels of 1999-2000, according to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) data.
But the motorhome segment still has a way to go to reach its previous peak set in 1999, a review of RVIA data reveals.
The product category experiencing the most robust recovery is conventional travel trailers of which 114,300 units were shipped from manufacturers to dealers during the first 10 months of this year. The shipments total of 114,300 units exceeds by 11% the 102,900 units delivered to dealers in the first 10 months of 2000 and the 102,800 units shipped in the same portion of 1999, according to the RVIA.
In the first 10 months of 2001, a recession year for the RV industry, a relatively small number of travel trailers, 90,800 units, were shipped to dealers, the RVIA reports.
Fifth-wheel shipments followed the same pattern as travel trailers. There were 56,500 fifth-wheels shipped in the first 10 months of this year, compared with 55,200 units delivered in the first 10 months of 2000 and 51,300 units shipped in the same portion of 1999.
Folding campers did not follow the same pattern as travel trailers and fifth-wheels because expandables, a relatively new subcategory that is counted with travel trailers, have drawn buyers away from folding campers.
There were 39,700 folding campers shipped to dealers in the first 10 months of this year, compared with 52,800 units delivered in the same portion of 1999, according to the RVIA.
In the case of Class A and Class C motorhomes, 1999 was the most recent peak shipments year. But in their first 10 months of this year, there were 33,400 Class A’s delivered to dealers, compared with 42,000 Class A’s shipped in the same portion of 1999.
Meanwhile, there were 15,800 Class C’s delivered in the first 10 months of this year, compared with 16,300 units shipped in the same portion of 1999.