Market is showing modest improvement, according to dealer survey

The Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association conducted a survey of its members in early August and although the results are not emphatic, there is some optimism. Regarding sales logged this summer, 44% of the respondents said the market is better than a year ago, while just 27% said it’s about the same. 29% said they thought is was worse than last summer.

More than half of those who responded said sales of towable RVs is better than last year. Motorhome sales were better this year for 18% of dealers. 82% of the respondents said there’s enough credit available for floor planning and 62% said there’s enough credit available for retail financing of RV purchases. Look for more survey results in the September issue of RV Executive Today.
RV Dealers having to adjust inventory for downsizing trend
In a similar trend to neighborhood homeowners, the RVer is looking for smaller options these days. Where many RVers were looking for the big motorhomes for comfort and luxury five or six years ago, more and more are now considering fifth wheels and travel trailers. Dealers are having to respond to this shift.

Wayne Barnes, owner of B&B RV Center in Anderson, CA reports, “The mix for big dealers used to be 70% of sales would be motorhomes. Now it’s 30% motorhomes and 70% fifth wheels and travel trailers.”

The savings is not just in the lower cost of the smaller RV, but also in the cost of the gas to power or tow it.

Sales have shown improvement, although the market is still not at the high point it was in the middle of the ’90s. Phil Ingrassia, VP of communications for the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Assoc. said, “It has become more of a motorized towable industry. It used to be that between 20 and 25% of RV shipments were motorhomes. Now it’s less than 10%.”

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