Shipment reports released by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) show that after a steady 2012, park model shipments were up sharply to start 2013.
According to a press release, this follows a trend seen across the entire RV industry. RVIA is reporting that 2,770 units were shipped in 2012, a small improvement over the 2,761 units that the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) reported were shipped by manufacturers in 2011.
According to RVIA Executive Director of Recreational Park Trailers Matt Wald, “Park trailer shipments began surging in October of 2012 and that has continued into 2013. In fact, shipments in January of 2013 were an incredible 138% higher than shipments reported in January 2012. Through February 2013, park model shipments are about 75% higher compared to the first two months of 2012.”
He added, “The bottom line is that the park model industry has been red hot for the past five months.”
Wald points to a number of factors for the surge in shipments, including growing interest in seasonal camping as Baby Boomers continue to retire in droves as well as a push by many campgrounds to reap the benefits of making deluxe camping accommodation rentals available to their customers.
The owner of Robin Hood Village Resort in Union, Wash., has decided to remove four permanent recreational park trailers, or park models, and resume renting spaces for traditional RVs while his legal appeal moves forward, the Kitsap Sun reported.
Darin Barry is opting to remove the units after the state Shorelines Hearings Board ruled that he must obtain a shorelines permit for the trailers, according to his attorney, Jack Hanemann. The board also upheld a $12,000 fine issued by the Washington Department of Ecology.
Robin Hood Village Resort leased RV spaces near the edge of Hood Canal before the existence of the state’s Shorelines Management Act, so the development was “grandfathered in” and could continue operations. In May 2011, Barry brought in four recreational park trailers, which are structures built on an RV chassis with usable wheels, but they appear more like a small house.
Because the trailers are considered RVs by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, they should not be considered a change in use or intensity, Barry said. In fact, leaving the trailers in place all the time would have less impact on the environment than the comings and goings of RVs, he argued.
But the shorelines board did not agree. The permanent placement of the units constituted a more intensive use, the board ruled, and the addition of landscaping, skirting and permanent stairs constituted an expansion of the development. Those changes triggered the need for a permit, the board said.
Hanemann said Barry discontinued use of the trailers while the matter was pending before the shorelines board, and now he will remove the units. But he still believes the trailers should be allowed on the site without a permit, his attorney added, and Barry will appeal the case to Mason County Superior Court.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) newly formed Recreation Park Trailer (RPT) Technical Subcommittee will hold its inaugural meeting on April 16 in South Bend, Ind.
The new group has the responsibility of monitoring and updating all chapters within the ANSI A119.5 and NEC Article 552 standards for recreation park trailers, also known as park models. It will also review and approve necessary RPT Handbook Updates that will be forwarded to RVIA’s Standards Steering Committee and the RPT Committee for final review and approval, according to a news release.
The RPT Technical Subcommittee is chaired by Jon Walters of Cavco Industries Inc. Committee members include Gary Duncan, Forest River Inc., Park Model Division; Jerry Glenn, Kropf Manufacturing Co.; Jerry Miller, Woodland Park Inc.; Bob Phillips, Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.; Jimmy Sellers, Chariot Eagle Inc.; and John Soard, Fairmont Homes Inc.
At their first meeting, the subcommittee will discuss the scope of the group, review the status of code cycles for the ANSI A119.5 and NEC 552 standards and review various code change proposals and technical updates.
Editor’s Note: The following story is excerpted from the February issue of Woodall’s Campground Management examining park models, cabins and yurts.
A survey the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) commissioned last summer through Precision Research, an Arizona-based firm that has done previous work for RVIA, revealed some broad misunderstandings or confusion about some aspects of the park trailer industry.
The firm surveyed 400 RVers and 400 non-RVers. Results showed consumers in general don’t recognize the phrases “recreational park trailer” or “destination camping” but have a far better understanding of phrases such as “park models” and “seasonal camping,” Matt Wald, the RVIA’s recreational park trailer executive director, told WCM.
To help clear up the confusion, the RVIA’s ad hoc Destination Camping Committee that commissioned the study has recommended to the RVIA board that it adopt the phrases park model and seasonal camping and drop the other terms. The board will take up the recommendations at its March meeting, Wald said.
In the meantime, the Destination Camping Committee and the Recreational Park Trailer committees, whose names may be changed pending the RVIA board action, won’t be meeting again until Committee Week in June, Wald said.
Trough Not As Deep As Commonly Thought
The decline that the park model industry has sustained since reaching an all-time high of 10,143 wholesale shipments in 2006 is not as deep as it is often portrayed, Wald pointed out to WCM. Shipments have tailed off each year since then and have not topped 4,000 in either of the last two years.
However, what was counted as a park model in previous years creates a proverbial “apples and oranges” dilemma.
Up until 2007, not only was the economy stronger than it is today, but also until then all trailer-type units that measured between 320 and 400 square feet were counted as a park model. Starting in 2008, RVIA allowed travel trailers to be built up to 400 square feet rather than limiting them to 320 square feet. Since then, many units that would have been counted as 8 ½-foot-wide park models are now rightfully counted as travel trailers.
“Overall, it looks like a desperate fall,” Wald said. “But if you look just at the over-8½-foot-wide-park models, it still is down but not nearly as much as the overall number would seem to indicate. In fact, it is right in line with other RV types.”
And Wald and the RVIA report some success in tackling the task of accurate record keeping to track wholesale shipments of park models. Until July 2012, shipments were tracked by the RPTIA. Figures for the first half of 2012 were spotty and incomplete and, according to Wald, understate actual production figures. For that reason, monthly RVIA wholesale shipment reports do not provide a year-over-year tabulation for park models for the entire year.
But Wald has coaxed park model manufacturers to go back in their 2012 records to try to recreate a better accounting of their production for the first half of the year. Once better accounting is complete, Wald hopes RVIA will be able soon to report a more complete picture for comparison purposes.
Editor’s Note: The following story is excerpted from the February issue of Woodall’s Campground Management reporting on trends in the park model, cabin and yurt industry.
This year might be the year that the recreational park trailer industry snaps out of its multi-year slump.
At least that’s what the major manufacturers are hoping for and telling Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM) for its annual park model, cabins and yurts issue. And to what extent the nation’s campgrounds bolster their covered shelter inventory will go far in determining the success these OEMs experience in 2013.
The major campground chains, Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), each reported a hearty demand for covered shelter in their parks in 2012, which encouraged the park model OEMs as they begin to fill the pipeline for 2013. KOA said deluxe cabin rentals, a key point of emphasis right now, was up more than 20% in 2012 with registration revenues growing 19.5% higher than in 2011.
LSI reported that rental unit revenue rose 17% in 2012 from 2011. Double-digit growth has been recorded the past three years.
“Some people (parks) are not really taking advantage of this,” LSI President Robert Schutter said late in the year. “This is an area that we can exploit for many years. We have not maxed out.”
Builders are taking a variety of steps to grow their market share in both the campground and retail marketplace.
Industry leader Breckenridge, a division of Thor Industries Inc., the RV industry’s No. 1 manufacturer, is stepping up its production of rental units for the campground industry.
The company, which captured more than 25% of the retail park model market in 2012, has taken many steps to broaden the appeal of its 12-wide Extendable and Perfect Cottage series, explained Bob Phillips, general manager of Nappanee, Ind.-based manufacturer, which is a preferred provider for KOA and LSI, two of its two largest customers.
“What we’re trying to do is anchor the market we’re in,” said Phillips. “Breckenridge has always been a leader in the 12-wide market. I don’t think we’re going to venture much outside that.”
Forest River Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, the nation’s No. 2 RV builder and among the five largest park model makers, has done a total overhaul of its park model offerings for 2013 in its high line Quail Ridge and entry-level Summit product line.
The company has introduced four new floorplans so far and revamped its interior decors for these 12-wide models. Many formerly optional features are now standard on the Quail Ridge line and may be available on Summit products.
Interior doors are now stained to match the cabinets. New cabinet designs and styles, new kitchen backsplashes and hidden hinges for cabinets were introduced. Cabinets now have pulls instead of handles and ball-bearing glides. Kitchen cabinet and pantry shelves are now adjustable. Countertop choices were expanded. Pullout trash cans are now inside the pantries.
New window treatments feature hard valances and give a more upscale look. Accent furniture was updated.
On the outside, new vinyl siding colors were added. Shutters have been added to entry doors and loft windows.
Click here to read the entire article, offering profiles on other OEMs along with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) inclusion of park models.
Forest River Inc. announced the appointment of Gary Duncan as general manager of the company’s park model division, effective Feb. 1.
According to a press release, former General Manager Jim Foltz will continue with the division, assuming other responsibilities.
Duncan joined Forest River’s park model sales team in November of 2011 and has been instrumental in the redesign of the entire product line, as well as executing new initiatives for product enhancements and the marketing of park models.
Duncan has a bachelor’s in engineering from the University of Michigan, with 15 years of varied experiences in the RV industry. Prior to the RV Industry, he served in a variety of sales and engineering capacities with Tier 1 automotive suppliers.
Duncan can be reached at (574) 264-2513 (office), or via e-mail at email@example.com .
A perceptible change was afoot Nov. 27-29 at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th Annual National RV Trade Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville: The prevalence of park models set up among the sprawling 730,000 square feet of traditional motorized and towable RVs.
Not since the mid-1990s when they parted company with RVIA had the park trailer manufacturers been such a serious factor as Louisville Show exhibitors. Now that their Georgia-based Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) has been shelved and they’ve been welcomed back as RVIA members, a total of 10 park trailer builders were displaying 2013 product at the Louisville Show.
Among them were Skyline Corp., Forest River Inc.’s Park Model Division, Athens Park Homes/Champion, Breckenridge, Chariot Eagle, DNA Enterprises (Canterbury), Dutch Park Homes, Fairmont Homes, Kropf Industries Inc. and Woodland Park.
“The feeling was very positive. It goes to the whole notion they are part of the overall RVIA family again,” said Matt Wald, RVIA’s recreational park trailer executive director. “Both psychologically and from the traffic flow, they felt it was a good deal for them.”
RVIA created a new membership category in July for park trailer builders, and, by year’s end, 18 manufacturers representing about 95% of annual park trailer production had joined the Reston, Va.-based trade association. Two other applications are currently pending. “We had anticipated having 15 members,” said Wald. “We have exceeded our expectations. Everybody is happy about that.”
All but two of the new members were affiliated with RPTIA, which still exists in name only. “A couple of OEMs are still not in the RVIA family, but we would love to have them aboard,” said Wald, noting that there’s a new page on the association’s website pertaining to park trailers with a link to annual shipment figures and other information. “Some are waiting to see if this ‘marriage’ works before investing in it. We think it is a value proposition they can’t stay away from.”
Skyline’s display was as prominent as any at the Louisville Show. In fact, Skyline, headquartered in Elkhart, Ind., has opted to resume park model production at its manufactured housing plants in Wisconsin and Oregon based on the dealer response to its Louisville Show park model exhibit, reports Mike Scheid, division general manager of Skyline’s Leola, Pa., plant.
Skyline showed a Shore Park-brand unit built in a manufactured housing plant and using a host of manufactured housing componentry like residential-style drywall, said Scheid, adding that his plant picked up eight to 10 new dealers at Louisville and business looks to be up 25% to 35% again this year. Skyline’s Canadian business also is growing.
Forest River Park Model Division, also based in Elkhart, showed three new park model floorplans at Louisville. Even though the company’s display was in “an obscure corner of the northwest wing,” dealers came to buy. “Our product changes were well received,” reports account representative Gary Duncan. “Dealers came with a purpose.”
Forest River has targeted its marketing toward campgrounds, a hospitality arena that Wald calls “one of the hottest growth areas” for park models because of the fact that so many campgrounds are buying and leasing these units – many of them with rustic aesthetics — to first-time campers and others without RVs in what amounts to a burgeoning “cabin” style of accommodation.
Cavco Industries Inc. today (Nov. 1) announced financial results for the second quarter and first six months ended Sept. 30, of its fiscal year 2013.
Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 totaled $110 million, down 15.3% from $130 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012. Net income for the fiscal 2013 second quarter was $2.7 million compared to $3.2 million reported in the same quarter one year ago.
Net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding for the quarter was 18 cents, versus basic and diluted net income per share the previous year of 24 cents.
For the first six months of fiscal 2013, net sales totaled $228.8 million versus $229 million for the comparable prior year period. Net income for the first half of fiscal 2013 was $2.1 million compared to $11.9 million last year. Net income for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2011, included one-half (or approximately $11 million) of the bargain purchase gain recognized from the Palm Harbor transaction, which closed on April 23, 2011. This bargain purchase gain allocation was consistent with Cavco’s ownership percentage of Palm Harbor.
For the six months ended Sept. 30, 2012, net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding was 30 cents versus basic and diluted net income per share of $1.73 and $1.72, respectively, for the prior year period.
Referring to the fiscal 2013 second quarter results, Joseph Stegmayer, chairman, president and CEO, said, “Net sales were lower for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 compared to the same quarter in the prior year for various reasons. These include fewer homes sold this quarter, lower average sales prices from a product mix skewed toward lower price-point homes, and competitive pricing pressures. Adversely impacting the number of homes sold was a larger proportion of internally financed wholesale sales, up 49.8% this quarter versus the second quarter last year, resulting in delayed recognition of the related revenue, consistent with applicable accounting principles. The company also modestly grew the proportion of factory sales to company-owned stores, which defers revenue recognition until the home sale process to the consumer is complete.”
Park model builder Pinnacle Park Homes Inc. reports increased sales for 2012, according to a press release.
“We are proud to say that our year-to-date unit volume is up 15% over 2011,” said Andy Davis, sales manager for the Ochlocknee, Ga.-based company. “But what is even better is that our sales dollars are up 30%. With new floors and more choices available, consumers are buying. Combine that with the fact that financing has been easier to obtain, it is not surprising that our numbers show an increase.”
Owner Randy Stewart Jr. added, “We are predicting that our third quarter numbers will show a net growth of 20% in unit sales and 33% in dollar volume states. This is based on current activity, but we would not be surprised to pass both levels when the quarter ends in two weeks.”
For more information visit www.pinnacleparkhomes.com.
Responding to dealer input and growing consumer demand, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC announced the launch of its all-new Fairfield destination trailer during the Sept. 18-21 Elkhart County RV Open House.
“Our team is very excited for the Fairfield launch,” said General Manager Nick Eppert. “This new product will combine the floorplans, features and price points that dealers have been asking for.”
Chris Hermon, president of the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder, noted, “Many of our dealers have urged Heartland to become a strong player in the destination trailer business. Nick and his product team have focused on making Fairfield the ultimate destination trailer. We are thrilled with the results and are anticipating a successful debut at the Open House.”
Initially, the Fairfield will be available in seven 40-plus-foot floorplans, all featuring wide-body construction and a standard atrium design fiberglass cap. Units will also be equipped with double and triple sliderooms.
Heartland stressed a residential feel and functionality in Fairfield’s interior décor, set off by upscale cabinetry, upholsteries and accents. The kitchen area is appointed with a free standing range, 18-cubic-foot residential refrigerator and a residential microwave.
“Price points will be key with the Fairfield,” Eppert said. “A host of available options will allow dealers to order Fairfield destination trailers to fit their markets’ needs.”
Heartland will be showing product at the Open House as part of parent Thor Industries Inc.’s massive display area at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. For more information on the Fairfield destination trailer contact Eppert at (574) 266-8726 or firstname.lastname@example.org.