The RV industry is primed and ready for recovery, according to RVIA president Richard Coon.
Coon delivered an industry forecast in December to kick off the 47th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. He emphasized that the continued popularity of RVing among customers and potential buyers and the recent uptick in wholesale RV shipments show that the worst of times may be over.
“We have survived the Great Depression … numerous recessions and market downturns … fuel crises … acts of terrorism and wars. But we have endured,” Coon said. “Why? Because RVs are woven into the fabric of America. Americans love RVing, they love our products and how they enrich their lives, allowing them to spend time in the great outdoors with loved ones.”
Coon pointed to a strengthening stock market, slowing job loss, higher productivity, increasing home sales, and rising manufacturing hours as reasons for economic optimism; while noting that weak consumer confidence, continued high unemployment, and anemic consumer spending still present challenges.
But the most telling sign that the RV industry is on the road to recovery can be found in wholesale shipment numbers, which have been trending upward for several months. Coon reported that, in October, total units were 16,600, an increase of 23 percent over October 2008 shipments. Seasonally adjusted, October shipments hit an annual rate of more than 216,000 units, marking the third consecutive month that annualized shipments topped 200,000 units.
Based on these positive developments, Coon reported that University of Michigan economist Dr. Richard Curtin now forecasts wholesale shipments to finish this year at 159,500 units.
Looking ahead to 2010, Dr. Curtin sees RV shipments climbing by 27 percent to 203,500 units, with increases spread across all vehicle types, including motorhomes:
- Type A motorhome shipments are set to rise 20 percent to 6,100 units.
- Type B motorhomes will hit 1,400 units on 17 percent growth
- Type C motorhomes will increase by 30 percent to 6,900 units.