RVDA: Rentals to Grow 20%-30% in ’04
Although shipments of new RVs from factories to dealerships are expected to grow at a moderate 2.9% rate this year, the RV rental sector is expected to grow somewhere between 20% and 30% this year, an amount that is consistent with rental sector growth the last few years, according to Phil Ingrassia, vice president of the national Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
“The growth should be seen all year long, not just during the traditional summer season,” Ingrassia said in an interview with the San Bernardino Sun in California.
The Recreational Vehicle Rental Association (RVRA), a unit of the national RVDA, will conduct its annual survey of RV rental agencies in April. The findings will be released in early May, Ingrassia said.
Most likely, the survey will find the RV rental market will grow between 20% and 30% this year. “RV rental activity continues to grow by at least 20% each year, according to annual surveys of RVRA members,” Ingrassia said. “Rental agencies are adding capacity and it should be a big spring, summer and fall for RV rentals.”
Ingrassia’s forecast was echoed by two of the largest RV rental firms, Cruise America and El Monte RV.
Bob Caldarone, assistant vice president of marketing at Cruise America, said the company anticipates 20% growth in overall volume this year. About 30% of Cruise America’s business this year is expected to come from foreign tourists, he added.
Meanwhile, El Monte RV anticipates a 50% increase in international rental business because of the strength of the euro against the U.S. dollar, which makes visiting the U.S. appear less expensive to residents of the 12 euro-zone countries – Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Finland, Austria, Luxembourg and Greece.
When the euro was created at the beginning of 1999, it was worth a few pennies less than $1 U.S. dollar. Its value fell to less than 90 U.S. cents after a few years but now is worth $1.26 because of low interest rates and the growing government budget deficit in the U.S.
El Monte RV works with a few hundred wholesale travel companies in Europe to attract tourists to the U.S., Marketing Director Joe Laing told the Sun.
“They (Europeans) rent six months in advance, so it’s usually at the lowest price,” Laing told the newspaper. Consequently, El Monte is urging its domestic customers to also book early, he said.
At El Monte RV, a motorhome rents, on average, for $129 a day, which now is around 100 euro.
At RV retail dealerships that also rent units, in general, folding campers and travel trailers rent for $28 to $85 a day while motorhomes rent for $90 to $200 a day, the Sun reported.
El Monte RV rents diesel pusher Class A’s for as much as $400 a day during the summer, or $275 a day during the off-season. Most of El Monte RV’s diesel-pusher rentals are to movie studios for use on location, said Tucker Schork, senior vice president.