When Tom Walworth and his wife planned a weekend getaway to Traverse City, Mich., earlier this year with friends, they didn’t book a hotel. Instead, they rented an RV.
Bloomberg reported that in addition to saving about $100 on food and lodging, Walworth got a taste of an activity he’s analyzed for more than 30 years as president of Statistical Surveys Inc., a research company based in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“We were hooked; we had an absolute ball and would do it again,” he said.
More Americans are taking to the road in recreational vehicles as sales of towable RVs approach pre-recession levels and shipments of motorized models gain speed. The total for RV wholesale shipments is projected to rise about 11% from last year to 316,300, Walworth said. Meanwhile, 2014 looks like “another good year,” as shipments could top 335,000, the most in six years.
“All things are a go for the RV industry again,” he said.
That’s good news for manufacturers Thor Industries Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc. It’s also encouraging for the U.S. economy because RV demand has a “strong relationship” with household confidence, and these vehicles are “very discretionary” purchases, said Richard Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who has analyzed the industry for more than 30 years.
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