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Industry Optimism, Innovative New Products On Display at

Primary Contact:
Kevin Broom
Director of Media Relations
703-620-6003 ext. 304
kbroom@rvia.org

  Secondary Contact:
Courtney Robey
Public Relations Manager
703-620-6003 ext. 306
crobey@rvia.org

Reston, Va. — The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s upbeat trade-only National RV Show, held in Louisville December 1-3, is one more sign of the industry’s recovery from reduced shipments due to the recession, tight credit markets and historically low consumer confidence.

 

While 2009 RV shipments through October were down 38.8% from 2008, attendance at the Louisville show was virtually unchanged.  A total of 8,323 RV dealers, warehouse distributors, accessory store owners, campground operators and exhibitors attended this year’s event — down just 1.2% from 2008.  There were 2,864 dealer representatives in attendance, a decline of 2.4% from 2008.  A total of 1,294 dealerships attended — down only 6.7% from 2008.

 

Despite tough economic conditions, show attendees noted a palpable optimism as a result of an array of industry factors including rising shipments in recent months, strong consumer interest in a future purchase, robust travel intentions among current RVers, and manufacturers rehiring workers and returning to a full production schedule.

 

“We wrote more orders in the morning of the first day that we did in three days last year,” said Ned Collins, CEO of A-Liner.

 

“Last year, dealers were in a financial meltdown,” said Ron Fenech, president of Keystone RV.  “This year’s a lot different.  Dealers are feeling very optimistic.”

 

“This year, dealers are getting more retail financing, and their customers are more upbeat,” said Bob Tiffin, president of Tiffin Motorhomes.

 

An RV industry recovery is potentially a good sign for the broader economy — in the past four economic downturns, RV shipments were a leading indicator of both recession and recovery. 

 

After reaching their lowest point in the first quarter of 2009, RV shipments have steadily grown, reaching their highest point in September.  RV shipments in October were 23 % higher than the previous October.  On a seasonally-adjusted annual rate, October shipments reached 216,000 units — topping 200,000 for the third consecutive month.  RV shipments are projected to grow 27.6 % in 2010.

 

In Louisville, many manufacturers unveiled RVs that were smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic, more environmentally friendly, and more fuel-efficient than previous models.  Cutting edge 2010 models included fuel-efficient motorhomes, fully-recyclable travel trailers, and units that incorporate “green” technologies such as fuel cells, solar panels, wind turbines and lightweight composite construction.

 

“Traffic was very good at the show this year,” said Chad Reece, Director of Marketing at Winnebago Industries.  “Dealers have been very receptive and positive about our products.”

 

“Manufacturers and dealers are very optimistic,” said RV dealer Jim McAlpin, president of Grand Am RV in New York.  “We’ve added two new product lines.  Everyone feels we’ve hit bottom and we’re on our way up.”

 

In addition, the RV industry will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2010; a demonstration of the industry’s strength and resilience through the years.

“The positive energy we saw at Louisville is what has carried this industry through one hundred years of tumultuous history, and it’s what will launch us into the next hundred,” said RVIA President Richard Coon.  “We’re a resilient industry that has been through a lot.  History shows that when we go down, we come back better and stronger.  That’s what we’ll celebrate in 2010.”

 

Next year’s show — the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show — will take place November 30 through December 2 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

 

RVIA (www.rvia.org) is the national association representing approximately 400 manufacturers and component suppliers producing 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.

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