Curtin to Present ’15 Forecast at Committee Week

April 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Richard Curtin

Richard Curtin will deliver 2015 forecast at Committee Week

Economist Richard Curtin, director of the Consumer Research Center at the University of Michigan, will provide his first projections for 2015 RV wholesale shipments in remarks at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week during the Joint Committee Luncheon, taking place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on June 2.

His presentation will also include the latest projections for year-end 2014 totals as well as an examination of the current economic environment and how it is impacting the RV industry.

Curtin authors RVIA’s RV Roadsigns, the association’s quarterly forecasting newsletter and has directed RVIA’s RV consumer demographic research since 1980.

RVIA’s Committee Week 2014 will take place from June 1-5 at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington in Washington, D.C. Over the course of the five-day event, the association’s standing committees, the Executive Committee and the board will meet to set the association’s plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The Go RVing Coalition will also meet on June 2. The event concludes with the board meeting on June 5 where committee recommendations are reviewed.

For more information about Committee Week, contact Doreen Cashion in the meetings and shows department at (703) 620-6003 (ext. 324) or

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RVIA: February Shipments Post Eight-Year High

March 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

RV wholesale shipments to retailers zoomed higher in February, climbing 18% to 30,826 units, the largest February total in eight years. Improvements were greatest for motorhomes which grew 31.7% over February last year to 3,737 units while towable RVs expanded 16.4% to 27,089 units. In spite of continued horrid weather across most of the country, February’s wholesale deliveries to retailers brought year to date totals to 56,293 units, an 11.5% gain over the first two months last year.  On a seasonally adjusted basis, February shipments were at an annual rate of more than 380,000 units.

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Motorized RV Sales to Set Growth Pace for 2014

March 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Richard Curtin

Timed with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) upbeat Annual Meeting last week (Mar. 4-8) in Southern California was the release of an equally optimistic spring forecast from veteran RVIA prognosticator Richard Curtin, who predicts that RV shipments will total 339,600 units in 2014, a “healthy gain” of 5.7% over the 321,100 units shipped last year.

While total 2013 shipments were 12.4% ahead of 2012 in an industry finding its way back to pre-recessionary production levels, Curtin expects conventional and fifth-wheel travel trailers to post 4.7% gains in 2014 with motorized RVs experiencing an accelerated hike of as much as 14.3% in the year ahead.

As a result, the share of total shipments represented by all types of motorhomes is expected to rise another percentage point to 12.9% this year, according to Curtin, an economist with the University of Michigan Consumer Survey Research Center.

“The exceptional 2013 gains in motorhome sales have been due to large gains in home and stock values, which are expected to slow but still be positive in 2014,” reports Curtin. “Importantly, the dollar volume of RV sales will grow much more rapidly than units due to a growing share of motorhomes. Strong GDP gains will strengthen job and income growth in 2014. While the availability of credit is expected to improve, there will be growing concerns about when and how fast interest rates will rise.

At the same time, Curtin, in his spring Roadsigns forecast, recognized the obstacles presented by the winter of 2013/2014, one of the toughest in modern memory.

“Winter weather has rarely had such a large impact on the economy,” Curtin observed. “Work hours were curtailed, shipments delayed and shoppers stayed home. Huddled indoors, RVers experienced cabin fever that they knew would be soon relieved by exploring the great outdoors. Far from crimping RV growth prospects, the cure they sought only reinforced their strong preferences for the RV lifestyle.

“The pace of sales has been temporarily slowed by the frigid weather, and larger bills for home heating will initially slow the pace of the rebound for some models,” he added. “Cabin fever also affected RV manufacturers. Many voiced concerns that other industries would like to have: How and when would they make up the lost production to satisfy growing RV demand. Rather than fret about the weather, forward-looking manufacturers focused on communicating with their customers about how the new features of their RVs could promote comfort and enjoyment — no matter the weather. Pacing production to evolving consumer preferences remains critical. Otherwise, today’s cabin fever will morph into discount fever in the fall.”


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Shipments up 14.3% in Dec., 12.4% for Full Year

January 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

RV wholesale shipments tracked by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reached 321,127 units in 2013, a gain of 12.4% over the previous year. This was nearly twice the annual total of 2009 and marked the fourth consecutive annual increase since the end of the last recession for the RV industry. Monthly totals saw wholesale deliveries climb 14.3% in December, rising to 21,676 units in the latest survey of manufacturers.  This was the largest December total in six years and marked the 24th consecutive monthly increase dating back to December 2011. Seasonally adjusted, the December 2013 total was at an annualized rate of nearly 350,000 units.  Towable shipments were at 18,776 units, up 11.6% over this same month last year while motorhome totals surged 35.3% to 2,900 units in the final month of 2013.

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RVIA: November Shipments Post 5.8% Increase

December 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Wholesale shipments to retailers of all RVs were reported at 21,748 units in the November survey of manufacturers, an increase of 5.8% over November one year earlier.  Towable RVs improved 2.4% to 18,711 units with motorhomes climbing 32.3% to 3,037 units.  Seasonally adjusted, November’s totals reached an annualized rate of more than 366,500 units, second only to last month’s 390,000 unit performance so far in 2013. Year to date, total shipments have grown 12.2% to 299,451 units through November 2013, the largest total in six years.  Shipments of all towable RVs have risen 9.7% to 264,019 units while motorhome shipments have shoot up 36% to 35,432 units, both were six-year bests.

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Coon: Shipments Projected to Hit 335,500 in ’14

December 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RVIA President Richard Coon

The strong performance of the RV market will continue in 2014, RVIA President Richard Coon told attendees at “Outlook 2014: Everywhere,” the launch event of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 51st Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. RV shipments in 2014 are expected to reach 335,500 units representing a 6.1% increase from the projected total for 2013.

Speaking to more than 1,000 RV manufacturers, dealers and industry representatives this morning (Dec. 3), Coon provided an optimistic look at the industry’s future, based on a new projection from Richard Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, in RVIA’s quarterly forecasting newsletter RV Roadsigns.

The rise in shipments to 316,300 units by year-end 2013 would be a 10.7% gain over the 2012 total of 285,749 and include double digit gains in conventional travel trailers and Class A motorhomes. The industry is poised to surpass 300,000 shipments for the first time since the recession. The expected increase in 2014 would mean five consecutive years of RV market growth.

“RV shipments are growing,” Coon said. “Consumer confidence is growing, credit is available, and RVs are visible, popular and even cool. This is a good time to be in the RV business.”

Shipments are expected to rise in each product category, according to the new forecast, and motorhome growth is anticipated to be particularly strong. In 2013 and 2014, motorhomes are predicted to reach 12% of all shipments – up from 10% in 2012.

The growing strength in RV shipments is due to rising consumer confidence and improved economic conditions; however, lingering uncertainty about government policies and programs could affect the economic outlook, Coon cautioned.

“Our forecasts are affected by the economy,” Coon said. “The economy is improving, but that progress could be undone if our political leaders fail to behave responsibly.”

During his presentation, Coon walked the audience through RVIA’s 2014 projection for each of the major RV product types, which included: travel trailers, 206,100 units; fifth-wheels, 73,000 units; folding camping trailers, 11,000 units; truck campers, 3,500 units; combined towable, 293,600 units; Class A motorhomes, 21,000 units; Class B motorhomes, 2,600 units; Class C motorhomes, 18,300; all motorized, 41,900 units; all RVs, 335,500.

“This has been a good year for sales and for promoting RVs to our core audiences,” Coon said. “There is strong demand for RVs, and I am excited about our industry’s future.”

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RVIA: October’s Shipments Best in 8-Plus Years

November 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RV shipments to retailers raced ahead in October this year, climbing 29.3% ahead of the previous month and 16.6% greater than the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, October shipments were at an annualized rate near 380,000 units. Double-digit gains were reported in all but one vehicle category allowing totals to reach levels not seen in more than eight years. Year to date, total shipments have now reached 277,703 units through October, 12.8% ahead of the same 10-month period last year. This latest surge in shipments all but assures totals for the year will be the best in six years and provides an optimistic view of further gains in 2014.

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Growth in Shipments Spurs Hiring in Elkhart Co.

October 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: To watch an accompanying video from WNDU click here.

The RV industry is seeing a rise in shipments yet again and businesses in Indiana’s Elkhart County – and their thousands of employees – aren’t minding one bit.

WNDU, South Bend, reported that according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), wholesale shipments to retailers rose more than 18% last month, making it the best September in six years.

“Since 2008, obviously it’s been a slow recovery,” said Jeff Runels, vice president of sales at Keystone RV Co. in Goshen. “But we’ve seen consistently things get a little bit better and so again that has to do with consumer confidence. Every year that you see the industry rise and get better, people are getting confident.”

It could also be a good sign for job seekers in the area, according to the Goshen Chamber of Commerce.

“Many [companies] are looking for employees and personnel, and companies in the Goshen area are hiring hundreds of more people to build RVs,” said Rod Rowe. “It affects the whole community, the whole county and the whole region. Employees are coming from several counties into Elkhart County to work.”

There were more than 3,000 units sold last month than in September 2012, and shipments are up 12% for the first nine months, according to the RVIA.

“We had anticipated this year would be up slightly, but we didn’t anticipate it was going to be as up as it has been,” Runels said.

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September RV Shipments Record Six-Year High

October 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RV wholesale shipments to retailers remained strong in September, rising 18.6% above this same month last year to 22,498 units in the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) monthly survey of manufacturers. This was the best September total for RV shipments in six years, with solid growth in towables as well as motorhomes.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, RV shipments continued ahead in September where the annualized rate was more than 310,000 units, approximately 7% higher than last month and nearly 19% ahead of this same month last year. All towable RVs rose nearly 2,500 units or 14% above September’s total in 2012 while motorhome shipments were up 46.3% on deliveries to retailers of 3,317 units.

Comparing the first nine months of 2013 to the same period last year, overall RV shipments were up 12.4% through September finishing at 248,623 total units. Travel trailer remained the largest vehicle category gaining 12.1% with fifth wheel trailers up 6.5% so far this year. In the motorhome category, Class A shipments have grown 32.9% while Class C motorhomes are up 46.1%.

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Curtin: YOY Shipments Will Gain 11.7% in 2013

September 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Richard Curtin

Wholesale RV shipments are expected to reach 319,300 units by the end of 2013, a gain of 11.7% above the 2012 total of 285,800, according to a new projection by RV industry analyst Richard Curtin in the Fall 2013 issue of RV Roadsigns.

According to an article in the latest issue of RVIA Today, shipments will continue to edge higher in 2014 to 334,300 units, a 4.7% rise over the projected 2013 year-end total.

The promising outlook for the next two years comes on the heels of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) July 2013 RV Market Reports that shows the industry has been on a torrid pace through the first seven months of this year. Year-to-date shipments have reached 201,130 units, a 13.1% gain over the 177,845 units shipped through the same time period in 2012.

Motorhome shipments have shown the largest percentage gain, rising 35% to 22,322 units through July 2013 compared to 16,531 units though July 2012. Class C motorhomes have increased 42.5% to 10,399 units; Class A motorhomes grew by 33.3% to 10,647 units; and Class B motorhomes have edged up by 2.6% to 1,276 units.

Towable RV shipments are up 13.1% to 201,130 units through July. Conventional travel trailers are up 13% to 124,799 units; fifth-wheel travel trailers have risen by 8% to 3,964 units; and truck campers jumped 5.1% to 2,196 units. Folding camping trailers are off slightly, down 2.8%, to 7,849 units.

“The strong performance of the RV market is due to restored consumer confidence, rising home and stock values, the improved availability of credit, and continued, although slow, gains in job and income prospects,” said Curtin. “Consumers anticipate steady but moderate economic growth in the year ahead accompanied by rising interest rates. Borrowing in advance of those expected increases in rates may accelerate the pace of demand for RVs.”

For more information on RV market statistics and research, visit the “Market Data and Trends” section of

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