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RV Shipments to Stabilize in 2009

Primary Contact:
Kevin Broom
Director of Media Relations
703-620-6003, ext. 304
  Secondary Contact:
Bill Baker
Sr. Director Communications
703-620-6003, ext. 331

The recreation vehicle (RV) industry’s shipments will total approximately 303,100 units in 2009 — nearly identical to the projected total for 2008 — according to a new forecast announced at “Forecast 2009,” a June 10 event sponsored by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

Seasonally adjusted shipments are expected to reach a low point in the first quarter of 2009, but are then expected to grow throughout the remainder of 2009, concentrated first in conventional travel trailers and closely followed by motorhomes.

Dr. Richard Curtin, Director of Surveys at the Universityof Michigan, presented his projections about the RV industry’s future at the industry’s second annual forecast luncheon, held at RVIA’s annual Committee Week.  In addition, RVIA President Richard Coon addressed some of key challenges to the industry’s long-term profitability, including vehicle fuel economy standards, and the growing Green movement.

“Like many other producers of discretionary products, the RV market is facing obstacles,” said Coon.  “However, RVIA’s forecast for year-end 2008 shows shipments reaching nearly 304,000 units — a respectable total considering our nation’s difficult economic climate.”

For the $14.5 billion RV industry, Dr. Curtin said that shipments for the remainder of 2008 will be lower than they were during five years of consecutive growth, capped in 2006 by a 30-year high in shipments.  Dr. Curtin predicts that shipments will remain flat in 2009 due to continuing fallout from declining house values, the credit crisis, rising prices for food and fuel, higher unemployment, smaller income gains, and sluggish economic growth.

“Consumers are now more concerned about the adequacy of their savings and reserve funds,” said Dr. Curtin. “As a result, they are more cautious spenders.”

The industry’s long-term growth prospects remain excellent, according to Dr. Curtin, who projects that RV ownership will rise from 7.9 million households in 2005 to 8.5 million in 2010.

“The basic demand for RVs is deeply rooted in family values, the enduring appeal of the natural environment, and people’s desire to instill in the next generation their cherished traditions,” said Dr. Curtin.  “These preferences remain unchanged despite the constantly changing economy.”

Dr. Curtin predicts that the baby-boom generation will continue to drive growth in the RV market.  He also anticipates that RV of the future will incorporate advanced technologies to offer consumers more varied features suitable for diverse uses.


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