Despite the third straight double-digit monthly decline in December, 2006 wholesale shipments gained 1.6% over year-prior totals with 390,500 units delivered representing the industry’s best performance since 1978.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the travel trailer sector was down 32.1% for the month, again saddled with unfavorable year-over-year comparisons due to hurricane-related units shipped during the fourth quarter of 2005. The situation was further aggravated by a slowdown in the market during the latter part of last year.
But riding robust demand during the majority of 2006, the travel trailer market was up 3.6% for the year with 203,600 units shipped versus 196,600 in 2005. During December, 11,200 units were delivered compared with 16,500 the previous year.
Towables ended the year up 3.6% with 334,600 units delivered while motorized shipments fell 9% to 55,900 units, pulled down by continued weakness in the Class A market. In November the ‘A’ sector showed its first increase in nearly two years.
Other highlights from the report showed:
• Overall December shipments declined 20.3% to 23,200 units from 29,100 the previous year.
• Motorized shipments fell 4.7% to 4,100 units in December compared to 4,300 in 2005.
• Towable shipments dropped 23% in December to 19,100 units from 24,800 in 2004.
• Shipments of Class A motorhomes totaled 2,700 units in December, down 6.9% from 2,900 in 2005. For the year, 32,700 Class A units were shipped, down 13.7% from 37,900 the previous year.
• For the month, fifth-wheel shipments dropped 3.7% to 5,200 units from 5,400 in 2005, while year-end totals showed a 4.7% improvement with 88,800 units shipped versus 84,800.
• Shipments of Class C motorhomes fell 8.3% in December to 1,100 units from 1,200 the previous year. For the 12 months, the sector was down 3.3% to 20,200 units from 20,900 the previous year.
• December folding camping trailers shipments decreased 12.5% to 2,100 units compared with 2,400 in 2005 while the sector was up 3.7% for the year with 34,000 units shipped versus 32,800.
• December truck camper shipments were up by 100 units to 600 compared to a year ago, but decreased 6.8% for the full year with 8,200 units shipped compared to 8,800.
• Class B motorhome shipments gained 100 units in December to 300 and showed a 15.4% gain for the year to 3,000 units from 2,600.
• Shipments of conversion vehicle declined 26.1% in December to 1,700 units from 2,300 in 2005 while year-end totals were down 25.1% to 26,300 units versus 35,100 the previous year.