The Northeast and Mid-Altantic states experienced an old-fashioned cold, snowy winter, and that was a factor in the RV retail market’s apparent sluggishness during the first quarter, according to Andy Heck, co-owner of three-location Upstate New York dealership Alpin Haus.
The fact snow was on the ground in many parts of the country until about 10 days ago might also explain why the beginning of the War with Iraq on March 19 did not appear to have much impact on RV dealership lot traffic or sales.
For example, Heck said, Alpin Haus had more lot traffic last week (March 17-22) than it had during any week so far this year. However, he attributes the higher volume to the first hint of spring weather in the Northeast, which endured one of its most severe winters in years.
Alpin Haus’ market area is south of the Adirondack Mountains and west of Albany, New York’s state capitol.
In general, Heck said, “Sales are pretty decent but they’re lagging a little from last year. People don’t feel that urgency (to buy) yet. Now that the war has started, maybe people will start to feel better, it’s the unknown that’s worse.
“We’re a little higher overall (in inventory) so we didn’t order as much (from the manufacturers) as we thought we would,” Heck continued. “But we feel the summer should be as good or better than last year.”
Low interest rates offset the impact of record-high gasoline and diesel fuel prices earlier this month, added Heck, whose company has dealership locations in Amsterdam, Clifton Park and Wilton, N.Y.