Editor’s Note: Robert W. Baird & Co. issued a client newsletter following last weeks release of Statistical Survey Inc.’s report on February towable RV sales. Excerpts of the Baird newsletter follow.
U.S. retail up 5%. Dealer sales of towables increased for the 12th consecutive month in February. Total U.S. towable retail increased 5% (travel trailers up 6%; fifth-wheels up 3%). We expect retail growth to continue through the 2011 selling season on a stronger consumer (wealth effect, easing credit), recognizing the risk from volatile gas prices.
Towable retail up 5%. Towable demand improved again in February. Travel trailer registrations grew 6%, while fifth-wheel demand increased 3%. Towable sales continue to outpace motorhome sales, which fell 15% in February.
Leaders gaining share. Thor retail growth was more in line with the overall industry in February, having outpaced the industry significantly in past quarters. Altogether, the top five manufacturers saw retail grow 7% in February versus 5% industry growth, as the strong manufacturers continue to take share.
Inventory. Dealers have increased towable inventory throughout the winter as shipments have exceeded retail sales each of the last five months. Dealers in our recent survey indicated that channel inventory is fairly balanced at current levels and we expect future shipments to track in line with retail demand, excluding seasonal fluctuations.
Retail U.S. SAAR. We calculate a seasonally adjusted rate of retail registrations. The SAAR of U.S. towable demand remained stable at 142K units in February. Just over 150K units were sold in the U.S. in 2010.
The following chart from the Baird report shows seasonally adjusted retail demand for travel trailers and fifth-wheels over the past four years:
This summary of a Baird research report is not intended as investment advice. To participate in Baird surveys and receive research reports, contact Craig R. Kennison, CFA, at firstname.lastname@example.org.