If you’re seeing a lot of travel trailers and motorhomes on the highway these days, it’s more than a sign of summer. For the first time in a decade, the recreational vehicle industry is poised to break production records.
That’s good news for Wisconsin dealerships and some manufacturers, as the state ranks 13th in the nation for receiving shipments of travel trailers and motorhomes.
“This has been a good season. The industry, as a whole, is up quite a bit,” said Tim Wegge, president of Burlington RV Superstore in Sturtevant.
Some of the top sellers have been “toy haulers,” which are RVs that combine living space with cargo area for things like motorcycles, all-terrain-vehicles and golf carts.
Pushing a couple of buttons converts one of these mobile garages into a living room on wheels. Bunk beds lift flat against the ceiling to make room for storage, and carpet can be rolled out over the grease-resistant flooring.
The toy haulers have a screened porch to keep the bugs away from evening gatherings and outdoor speakers for party music.
“Oddly enough, we are not seeing big families buying them and hauling dirt bikes and four wheelers to races, although that’s been done. We are seeing retirees buying them to haul their Harleys and golf carts. It kind of took us by surprise,” Wegge said.
Some of the new motorhomes are smaller and less expensive than those sold before the recession. Travel trailers selling for about $25,000 are popular with retirees and younger buyers alike, said Kim DeHaan, owner of DeHaan RV Center in Elkhorn.
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