The RV industry’s recovery from the recession has picked up speed in northern Indiana as dealers are reporting sales gains this year.
According to the Post-Tribune, Merrillville, sales at Camp-Land in Burns Harbor, Ind., are up 16% through October compared to last year, according to Pam Argostino, vice president and part owner.
“We had a phenomenal first quarter. I think the good weather helped,” Argostino said.
She didn’t know what to attribute the uptick in sales to, but guessed it might be pent-up demand and the fact that people didn’t want to wait any longer to purchase a motorhome, towable or camper.
At Pete’s RV Center in Schererville, Ind., salesman Scott Ourednik said business has been picking up every year following the big downturn in 2007 and 2008. He said buyers at the 18-acre lot range from young families wanting the camping experience to senior citizens.
Ourednik said the newer campers and motorhomes get better gas mileage than the older ones, but added mileage isn’t too big of a factor for many of the customers as buyers tend to camp nearby.
Both Ourednik and Argostino said towable RVs, especially fifth wheels, are driving the jump in sales. “The towable market is definitely growing. We sell more travel trailers than the big ones. Fifth-wheels are very popular,” Ourednik said.
He said Pete’s RV Center has more than 700 RVs available at its two locations, in Schererville and Burlington, Vt.
Argostino said fifth-wheel sales have doubled at Camp-Land, while motorhome sales have stayed about the same. The one area that is not picking up, according to Argostino, is pop-up campers.
“It’s the only thing that was down this year and I expect sales to be down again next year,” said Argostino, who believes part of the reason may be that people are opting for smaller trailers that are fairly new to the market.
Both Pete’s RV Center and Camp-Land do financing, working with several banks, and say loans are more available and affordable.
“Unlike cars, RV payments can be stretched out over 12 to 20 years, making payments affordable,” said Argostino, who is a second-generation owner of the dealership.