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RVB/Blue Ox Poll: Elections Dim ’13 Outlook?

When all the survey responses were tallied in the latest round of the RVB/Blue Ox survey, a solid majority of recreational vehicle industry respondents were taking a relatively conservative stance with regard to business growth prospects for 2013.

In fact, the RVB/Blue Ox survey feedback was certainly less upbeat than those of RVIA forecaster Richard Curtin (4.5% growth in 2013) or the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (47% of responding dealers predict gains in 2013) or the survey report released this week (Dec. 10) by GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) business unit based on Louisville Show surveys (in which 43% expect sales to increase 5% to 10% in 2013).

Based on comments that clearly reflect post-electoral disappointment among a host of GOP-leaning industry people, fully 38.5% of the RVB/Blue Ox respondents feel next year may deliver “no growth and perhaps a decline in shipments in 2013,” while another 24.2% foresee “growth of 1% or less.” A total of 28.4% look for “a resurgent increase in shipments of as much as 2% to 5%” and 11.6% are anticipating “even more robust growth that could well exceed 5%.”

In other words, 62.7% of the RVB/Blue Ox respondents are looking for no more than 1% growth next year, if not a flat year or a year in which shipment levels could decline.

Here are a few highlights of the responses we received:

Election not favorable for business, not favorable for “Family RVing.”

I worry that Obamanomics will have a detrimental effect on our industry during his second term.

Improving economy will lead to sales from pent up demand.

Lacking any devastating news (i.e. more war, fiscal cliff), business should prosper.

Now that Obama has won re-election, the next four years will be unbearable.

Obama’s reelection will negatively affect our country and economy and our industry will follow.

I think there is momentum in the market – and even a little in the economy. Unemployment’s slowly coming down. Consumer confidence is on the rise. But our elected leaders need to negotiate through this “financial cliff” and come up with an “in the middle” solution. If they don’t, they could curb our momentum.

The election results will throw us into a terrible economic downturn as the doom and gloom of ObamaCare (real or perceived) is going to cause panic.

With elections over, we now know what we have and (we can) get on with business. Our older customers are determined to play out their retirement plans. There are just too many buyers to hold off the demand.

Growth is moving to smaller, better designed units – towable with smaller vehicles/trucks and going more often on shorter trips, closer full service campgrounds like Europe. Park on the grass with low rental costs and 30 amp service.

There will be modest growth in 2013, only because interest rates and fuel is in check. In addition, the industry will have another reliable gas chassis supplier coming to the market that will not allocate supply to the body OEM’s and (will) offer consumers an innovative platform filled with features, options and ride benefits found in the automotive sector.

Our economy is strong in Alberta and sales have increased the last three years. Our dealers have done a great job of controlling and turning over their inventory in the last year, which gives them more money to purchase inventory for the spring season sale.

With the Democrats, Obamacare and the rest of the world in recession, we are heading the same way Germany did in the period after WW I. Watch for it — higher taxes and a general downturn in business.

The election/campaigns have kept all that is negative in the spotlight for 18 months. Yet, according to many economists, 2012-16 is going to see growth and increased stability. Preventing Obama from being re-elected at all costs no longer applies to Congress. There will be public pressure to move the country forward. Failure to do so will result in huge Republican losses in the 2014 mid-term elections.

The industry still seems to follow the concept that bigger and glitzier are better, but the experienced RVers are looking for more value with less size but more useable space. It’s time for real innovation, not just lip service. This is the first time in years that we have gone for three years without updating our rig, but we just haven’ seen anything to rival our ’09.

I believe there’s an uptick in consumer confidence. The election’s over. Win or lose, we know what we have for the next four years. Most of the old inventory is gone. Show season should be good with gas prices being lower (hopefully).


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