Tim Hyland

Shipments and retail registrations of recreational vehicles are both up double digits, according to data from the Recreational Vehicle Association (RVIA) and Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI). 

These metrics are clearly positive for the RV industry, noted Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF), a major provider of financing to the industry, in a press release.

According to CDF, the RV industry is maintaining a good balance, with shipments up 13.6% year-to-date and retail registrations up 13% through July. 

“The parity between shipments and registrations is supported by our portfolio information,” said Tim Hyland, president of Wells Fargo CDF’s RV Group. “Our data shows that dealer inventory turnover remains at a strong annual rate of over twice as much, and aging is staying well below 10%. These numbers are very positive and have been extremely consistent over the last several years while the industry continues to grow.”

As the industry approaches next week’s Elkhart RV Open House, manufacturers and dealers maintain an air of optimism. “With the U.S. economy continuing to experience slow and consistent growth, growing consumer confidence and expanding interest in the RV lifestyle is spurring retail sales of RVs,” said Hyland.

Supporting positive dealer sentiment is portfolio data showing that as dealer revenue has increased, operating expense has remained stable as a percentage of sales helping to drive overall profitability. 

RVIA is estimating shipment growth to end the year at 11.4%, with an additional 2.4% in 2018. 

“While the economy got off to a slow start in Q1, it came back in Q2 and we will likely end the year with GDP growth of slightly over 2%,” said Hyland. “Estimates for next year see growth in the mid-twos, so absent any surprises and with continued discipline, the RV industry should feel good about their prospects in 2018.”