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Baird: Gas Prices the RV Shipments ‘Wild Card’

Baird logoEditor’s Note: Robert W. Baird & Co. ┬áissued a client newsletter following release of the wholesale RV shipments report by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Excerpts of the Baird newsletter follow.


March shipments up 17%. Total RV shipments increased 17% in March, as motorhome shipments increased 29%, while towable shipments increased 16%. Growth improved from February, as dealers continue to stock inventory through the beginning of the spring retail selling season. Dealer inventory remains in good shape and as replenishment rates stabilize, we expect shipment growth to closely track retail demand in 2011 – with gas prices the wild card.


Total RV shipment growth improves in March. Overall shipments grew 17% in March following flat shipments last month. Dealers tell us inventories are appropriate, having built normal seasonal inventory ahead of the stronger spring selling months. For the remainder of the year we expect wholesale shipments to track relatively in line with retail demand.

Motorhome shipments increased 29%. Class A shipments increased 17% while Class C shipments increased 44%. We continue to expect modest motorhome shipment growth into spring against difficult comps, with possible upside from better retail.

Towable shipments up 16%. Travel trailer shipments increased 18% while fifth-wheel shipments grew 12%. Year-to-date towable shipments are up 10%.

SAAR. We calculate a seasonally adjusted annual rate of shipments. The SAAR of motorhome shipments increased to 26.4K units in March, from 24.1K units in February — 23.6K units were shipped in 2010. The SAAR of towable shipments increased to 231.8K units in March, from 207.5K units in March — 199.2K units were shipped in 2010.

This summary of a Baird research report is not intended as investment advice. To participate in Baird surveys and receive research reports, contact Craig R. Kennison, CFA, at ckennison@rwbaird.com.

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