Baird: Class C Shipments Fuel April Upswing

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May 31, 2011 by   Comments Off on Baird: Class C Shipments Fuel April Upswing

Editor’s Note: Robert W. Baird & Co. issued a client newsletter following the report on RV shipments for April by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Excerpts from the Baird newsletter follow.


April shipments up 2%. Total RV shipments increased 2% in April, as motorhome shipments increased 8%, while towable shipments increased just 1%. Growth weakened from March, as dealers slowed restocking rates into the beginning of the 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.


We regularly compile and report monthly RV data as they are released. This research note, based on data released by RVIA, is part of that series.

•Total RV shipment growth slows in April. Overall shipments grew just 2% in April following strong shipments in March (+17%). 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 8%. Class A shipments were unchanged while Class C shipments increased 15%. We continue to expect modest motorhome shipment growth into spring against difficult comps, with retail results determining shipment growth during the season.

•Towable shipments up 1%. Travel trailer shipments increased 1% while fifth wheel shipments were flat. Year-to-date towable shipments are up 7%.

•SAAR. We calculate a seasonally adjusted annual rate of shipments. The SAAR of motorhome shipments increased to 26.6K units in April, from 26.4K units in March (23.6K units were shipped in 2010). The SAAR of towable shipments dropped to 198.8K units in April, from 231.8K units in March (199.2K units were shipped in 2010).

We caution against attaching undue significance to data from a single month. The data tend to fluctuate from month to month.

When referring to motorhomes, we generally mean Class A and Class C motorhomes (excluding Class B). When referring to towables, we generally mean fifth wheels and travel trailers (excluding truck campers and folding campers). When referring to RVs, we generally mean Class A, Class C, fifth wheels, and travel trailers. These refined classifications provide better comparisons to the companies we cover.

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

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