The recreation vehicle industry is on the mend with a wholesale shipment forecast that indicates growth of 39% to 230,300 units in 2010. Shipments, according to a new estimate, are expected to grow to 249,700 units in 2011.
Robert M. ”Mac” Bryan, vice president of administration for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), delivered the new forecast to those attending RVIA’s Annual Membership Luncheon today (June (9) during RVIA Committee Week at the Century Center in South Bend, Ind.
University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin, who prepares shipment estimates for RVIA, had to cancel his keynote speach for personal reasons.
Bryan said the RV industry has recovered from the low 2009 shipment totals of 165,700 units as he presented Curtin’s methodology for measuring and forecasting within the RV market. Many factors are considered including major influences such as consumer confidence, buying conditions, wages and employment, credit availability and wealth effect.
Consumer confidence and buying conditions are improving, while wages and employment will be a slow to improve and credit standards continue to be more strict, Bryan explained.
On the positive side, he said, consumer demand remains strong. “Nothing can diminish this,” he said. “There is a very positive outlook demographically.”
Bryan contended Curtin’s forecasts, initally made 15 months into the future, are fairly accurate. Curtin also looks at RV shipments compared to new private housing starts, car and light-truck sales, and retail consumer sales — all of which have shown an increase in 2010.
“These are good indicators,” Bryan said.
Bryan pointed out that the initial surge in this year’s shipments indicates the need for dealers to ramp up low inventory levels to meet demand.
The forecast for a smaller increase in 2011 reflects the lingering effects of the recession, Bryan said.
“While the RV market has quickly recovered in past recessions, the current journey will be longer and the road will not be as smooth or as straight as in the past,” Bryan said.
According to Curtin’s forecast, three main areas are expected to affect the pace of recovery in RV sales — the financial health of consumers, changes in fiscal and monetary policies, and continued volatility in financial markets.
Here’s a breakdown of Curtin’s most recent estimate:
- Total RV shipments — A 39% increase to 230,300 units and, in 2011, an 8% increase totaling 249,700 units.
- Travel trailers — 140,600 units in 2010 and 151,900 in 2011.
- Fifth-wheels — A 36% increase in 2010 and a 9% increase in 2011.
- Folding camping trailers — A 20% increase in 2010 and a 9% increase in 2011.
- Truck campers — A 26% hike in 2010 and a 17% increase in 2011.
- Class A motorhomes — A 90% spike in 2010 and an 11% increase in 2011.
- Class B motorhomes — A 33% increase in 2010 and a 13% increase in 2011.
- Class C motorhomes — A 61% hike in 2010 and a 6% increase in 2011.