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Recreational vehicle dealers in the Madison, Wisc., area have seen a drop in sales this spring, but most feel that gas prices have nothing to do with the slump, according to a report in The Capital Times.
“It’s different reasons than gas,” said Nic Spitzer, owner of Spitzer’s RV. “It’s the same reasons certain segments of the market do something and another segment does not.”
Spitzer said he thought employee-pricing deals from the automakers may have motivated some potential RV buyers to purchase new vehicles instead. And he theorized that the booming housing market may have prompted people to buy a bigger home rather than keep their current house and add an RV.
Nancy Carlson, of Camperland RV, said she’s only heard a few comments on gas prices. She noted that a rise in gas prices from $2 to $2.40 is just $40 on a 100-gallon tank.
“The majority of people are still going to go,” Carlson said. “It’s leisure. This year is down a little bit – we’re probably just having a normal year. But that (price of gas) hasn’t been the biggest issue.”
Kelly Rygh, co-owner with husband Randy Rygh of Camper Corral of Fitchburg, agreed that gas prices were not the cause of sales being down this year.
“Everybody wants to blame it on something,” she said. “But you can’t just sit home and do nothing. I think the economy may have something to do with it. And when you have a good year things cycle. I don’t think it’s just us. I’ve talked to many businesses who say they’re down this year.”
Rygh noted that there are only so many people in the market for RVs, travel trailers and fifth-wheels, and sales tend to go in cycles as people have to pay off their purchases.
“We all have this thing called debt,” she said with a chuckle.
Spitzer maintained that the slow spring was just part of being in a traditionally cyclical industry.
“If you look at every month and every week you go crazy but if you look at the end of the year I think it will be OK,” Spitzer said.
Is there a point at which gas prices will hurt sales?
“Not after I saw the soundbite on $3 a gallon gas in L.A.,” Spitzer said. “It hasn’t stopped anybody from doing anything. So I don’t think gas is a factor, period. It kind of bothers me that they talk about it.”