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Curtin: RV Shipments Will Rise in ’14 and ’15

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June 2, 2014 by   Leave a Comment

Richard Curtin

Richard Curtin

Recreational vehicle shipments are projected to total 349,400 units in 2014, an 8.8% increase above the 2013 total of 321,127, according to a new forecast by RV industry analyst Richard Curtin released today (June 2) at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Joint Committee Luncheon.

RV shipments are also expected to rise for a sixth consecutive year in 2015 with wholesale production forecasted to reach 360,100 units, a gain of 3.1% over the projected 2014 total, and the industry’s highest total since 2006.

The estimated total for 2014 is up 111% from the industry’s 2009 recession low. Because of a strong consumer response to the versatility, affordability and innovative designs of new models, RV shipments through the first four months of 2014 were up 11% over the same period in 2013. RVIA shipment data reflects double-digit increases in conventional travel trailers, fifth-wheels, Class A motorhomes, Class B motorhomes and Class C motorhomes.

“The RV industry’s promising future is based on gains in jobs, incomes and household wealth,” said Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, during his presentation to RVIA members at the association’s annual Committee Week.  “Rising home values will continue to strengthen home equity, and along with higher stock prices, will bolster the willingness and ability of new RV buyers.”

The revival of the RV industry following the Great Recession is due to the creation of new products that are valued by consumers, Curtin told the audience. “Innovative products result from a company’s culture that encourages active participation of all employees in the design, production and marketing of RVs,” Curtin said.

Great concepts do not guarantee great products, Curtin cautioned attendees. “Great products are made by how the countless details are executed to meet the diverse needs of consumers,” he said.

RV makers continue to benefit from people’s strong attachment to the RV lifestyle, Curtin said. Consumers have adjusted their RV preferences to meet their new economic realities, and RV manufacturers have adjusted their product lines to reflect those changes. Both RVers and RV manufacturers must be recognized as early adapters to changing economic conditions, Curtin told the gathering.

“The RV marketplace has confirmed the perfect match between the continuous innovative process used by RV manufacturers and suppliers and the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle among consumers,” Curtin said.

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