RVDA Survey: Dealers Upbeat on 2014 Outlook
The following article, authored by Jeff Kurowski, director of industry relations for the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), appeared in the June issue of RV Executive Today offering a rundown of a dealer survey conducted in May.
RV dealers continue to be upbeat about the retail market, although they’re not as upbeat as they were a year ago, according to an RVDA survey conducted in May.
Forty-eight percent of respondents said the RV market was better this May than it was last year, and 41% said it was about the same as a year ago. Ten percent felt it was worse than it was during spring of 2013. In comparison, during May 2013, 59% of dealers responding believed the retail market was better than during the spring of 2012, 41% felt it was the same, and no one said it was worse.
A third of this year’s respondents also said the towables market was better, compared with last year, when 59% said it was better. Another third said this year’s towables market was worse, compared with last year, when only 9% said the market was worse than during the spring of 2012.
With motorhomes, half of dealers said their spring 2014 sales were better than their spring 2013 sales, 35% said they were worse, and 15% said they were about the same. Last spring, 33% said the motorhome market was better, 50% said it was about the same, and 17% said it was worse.
Some 61% of this May’s respondents believed their inventory levels were just right, 25% felt they were too high, and 14% believed they were too low. A year earlier, 77% said inventories were just right, 18% said they were too high, and 5% said they were too low.
Due to severe winter weather in northern Indiana, where most RVs are built, and a shortage of delivery drivers, many dealers complained they couldn’t get units delivered from the factories to their dealerships in a timely manner. This sentiment was reflected in the survey results. Some 55% of respondents said they couldn’t get new product delivered in a reasonable amount of time. Another 21% said timely delivery “depends on the manufacturer,” and 14% said they went to factories themselves to hall back RVs they ordered.
“It is a bit of a hassle, but it increased our sales by being able to get what we wanted when we wanted it, instead of being at the mercy of the manufacturer,” one dealer wrote.
Only 10% of respondents said they got product delivered in a timely manner.
May retail shows occur during the first quarter of the year, and 30% of survey participants said sales at their show were better this year than in 2013. Twenty-five percent felt this year’s show didn’t go as well as last year’s, and 45% said sales were about the same.
Dealers unanimously believe there is an adequate amount of credit available for inventory financing and 78% said there is enough retail credit available for their customers.”