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RV Shipments Rise through First Quarter of 2011

The RV market is continuing to strengthen with total wholesale shipments reaching 65,100 units through the first quarter of the year, an increase of nearly nine percent over the 59,900 units shipped in the same time period last year.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, shipments in March were at an annualized rate of more than 258,000 units, a 13% improvement over the February rate. This also tracks closely with the year-end projection of 263,100 units forecasted by Dr. Richard Curtin, director of the Survey of Consumers at the University of Michigan, in the Spring issue of RVIA’s RV Roadsigns quarterly forecasting newsletter.

The 27,500 units reported in RVIA’s March 2011 survey of manufacturers was 39% higher than February 2011 shipments of 19,800 units and 15% greater than March 2010 shipments of 24,000 units. The 27,500 number also marked the highest monthly total since the 27,100 units reported in June 2010.

“These shipment figures illustrate the strong passion that consumers have for RV ownership and travel and reflect the level of confidence that RV dealers have in the retail market,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We will face some headwinds such as gas prices and uncertain economic factors, but overall we have momentum now that will help us continue the recovery that began last year.”

RVIA’s survey shows that the motorhome market continues to recover lost ground with shipments totaling 6,900 units through March 2011, a 21% increase over the 5,700 units reported in March 2010.

Type C motorhomes rose by 32% from 2,200 units in March 2010 to 2,900 units in March 2011. Type A motorhomes saw a healthy 16% jump, rising to 3,600 units from 3,100 units. Type B motorhomes remained even with 400 units shipped through the first quarters of both 2010 and 2011.

Deliveries to retailers of towable RVs were reported at 24,700 units through March 2011, a 7.4% gain over the 21,800 units shipped through March 2010. Travel trailer shipments led the way with a 12% increase from 13,300 to 14,900. Conventional travel trailers grew from 36,000 units to 39,300 units, a nine percent gain.  Truck campers remained level at 700 units shipped through both March 2010 and March 2011.  Meanwhile, folding camping trailer shipments slipped 21% from 4,200 units in March 2010 to 3,300 units in March 2011.

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