Following strong growth in 2013, sales of travel trailers and motorhomes continue to gain momentum early this year.

The Milwaukee Journal reported that a survey of recreational vehicle manufacturers noted that RV wholesale shipments totaled 25,467 units in January, making it the best January since 2007, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Wholesale shipments are expected to total 339,600 units by the end of the year, a healthy 5.7% increase over last year, the association noted in a news release.

Sales of motorhomes and travel trailers generate millions of dollars in Wisconsin. People come here from the Chicago suburbs to shop for units, partly because of large nearby dealerships.

In the worst of the recession, sales ran out of gas. Manufacturers filed for bankruptcy, some dealerships closed, and banks repossessed units costing up to several hundred thousand dollars.

As the economy has improved, the RV industry has regained its footing, and enthusiasts are returning to the dealership showrooms.

“Even on the coldest days, people are coming to look, which is really surprising,” said Kim DeHaan, owner of DeHaan RV Center in Elkhorn.

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