Comfort and relative affordability are two reasons why some travelers and RV renters say rentals are up this year over last year, while RV sales are down in the sluggish economy.
About 5 percent of the nation’s 3,100 dealerships nationwide have closed in recent months and about 10 of 105 U.S. RV manufacturers have stopped production, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Sales are expected to be down 40% from 2008, the RVIA said.
But rental activity will be up about 12% this year, according to the Fairfax, Va.-based RV Rental Association (RVRA).
Businesses that sell and rent RVs in the Reno, Nev., area say they are seeing more rentals, especially around holidays such as the Fourth of July and next month’s Burning Man counterculture arts festival, for which local dealers have been booked for months, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
“Yes, the economy has slowed down, but people still take vacations,” said Veera On Ta, owner of El Monte RV in Reno. “Our rentals are up 10% from last year.”
Cruise America in Reno has seen a 10% drop in business from last year, manager Wes Johnson said, but he expects things to turn around with a mid-season surge through September.
“The last few weeks have been great,” Johnson said. “We have eight units here, and just one has canceled, so its not doing too bad.”
And Classic Adventures RV Rentals is seeing brisk business, general manager Erik Schultz said.