Despite the tough Michigan economy, those close to the camping and RV industry say it continues to thrive, WZZM-TV, Grand Rapids, Mich, reported.
“It was two years ago when the industry hit the skids,” says Mike Wilbraham, producer of the 2011 Camping, Travel and RV Show, which concluded Sunday (Jan. 16) at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. “But last year RV sales picked up.”
Consumers can buy RVs for as low as $5,000, or they can go big and drop $400,000 on one; whatever their budget allows.
“The priorities of folks today have changed,” says Dennis Anderson from General RV Center. “What actually drove the industry down for a while is that people who actually owned RVs weren’t upgrading.”
Anderson says now that the economy is starting to rebound, there has been a huge influx of people trading in and trading up their recreational vehicles.
Michigan Association of Recreational Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) has compiled some statistics to show how RV sales have increased despite the struggling economy.
“2010 was up 33% in motor home sales over 2009,” says Beth Monicatti-Blank, who is a spokesperson for MARVAC. “We sold 10,000 more recreational vehicles in the state of Michigan in 2010 than we did in 2009.”
Monicatti-Blank believes the renewed interest in recreational vehicles can be directly related to more banks willing to finance with low interest rates.
“More banks are getting involved in the recreational vehicle business,” says Monicatti-Blank. “It’s a great time to buy a recreational vehicle.”
Meanwhile, Andy Cripe, general manager of a Keystone RV Co. division, told RVBUSINESS.com that the show “had great traffic.”
“People were upbeat,” Cripe said. “There are people who want to get into an RV or upgrade the one they have. I think we all wish we might have sold a few more but it wasn’t a bad show. Early buyers are out there to look before they buy.”