Saturday, March 15, 2008

RV industry may improve in '09

Some dreams of buying motor homes and travel trailers have been dashed by declining home equity and nervousness about the economy, even as dealerships offer low prices to stimulate sales.

Nationwide, motor home sales are down roughly 40% from their peak in 2004.

"We expect the RV industry to worsen in 2008 before improving in 2009," said analyst Craig Kennison with Robert W. Baird & Co.

Motor home and travel trailer sales are strongest early in an economic growth cycle when interest rates are low and consumer confidence is improving. Sales languish when the economy sputters.

Many consumers are waiting to trade in their recreational vehicle for a new model, hoping the cost of borrowing money edges down a little more. It's not unusual to have a 10-year loan for a travel trailer or motor home.

Some dealerships have cut prices to stimulate sales of the most expensive motor homes and travel trailers that cost them thousands of dollars in finance charges. Without too much difficulty, buyers should be able to get 20% off the manufacturers suggested retail price, said Mike Prosser, owner of Prosser RV and Cruise America Motor Home Rental & Sales in Milwaukee.
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