After Dismal Year, RV Sales and Production Are Up
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AAA says holiday weekend travel will increase this year. You can expect to see more RVs on the road, which industry leaders say is because more banks are lending money and gas prices are lower, according to WSBT-TV, South Bend, Ind.
Ron and Judy Ruff travel about six months each year. Their RV is their home away from home. The Ruff’s have been all over the United States and Canada.
“We were traveling when the gas prices were $4 a gallon and it didn’t stop us,” Ron said.
What they have seen recently on the roadways is the biggest surprise of all.
“It’s amazing how many people still RV,” Ron said.
This isn’t something they’re just seeing locally. Frank and Marty Leland’s RV stopped at the KOA campground in Granger, Ind. They’ve traveled the country since April. In that time, they found they were in good company.
“Fifth wheels, motor homes are very, very common,” Leland said.
AAA projects an increase in Memorial Day weekend travel — despite gas prices being 80 cents higher this year compared to last year. It appears the local RV industry is on the road to recovery, following its share of bumps in the road.
“Employment is up, numbers are up and we’re increasing more as we go,” said Bill Fenech, president and CEO of Damon Motor Coach.
Fenech said production of vehicles on the assembly line has increased 85% to 135%.
“Last year was awful,” Fenech said. “We’re up significantly.”
While sales are up, Fenech is careful to sketch a pretty picture.
“Retail is doing good, not great. We need to make sure retail supports the number of units we’re shipping. We need retail to kick in and continue to be strong,” Fenech said.
The economic downturn was long thought to be the industry’s “nail” in the coffin. Now, it appears those fears may be easing as more and more camp and ride on the road in style, in their RV.