Sunday, January 10, 2010

RV dealers looking for a rebound

Today, dealers are hopeful that the sales slump is nearing its end. Attendance at this year's Pittsburgh RV Show -- which started yesterday and runs through Jan. 17 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center -- should be a barometer, as it's one of the first American RV shows of 2010.

"Last year at this time was probably at the bottom of the industry," said Rob Young, promoter of the Pittsburgh RV show.

The recession prompted people to hoard discretionary income, if they had any at all. The credit freeze meant people who wanted loans for more expensive motor homes couldn't get them, or had to come up with a larger down payment. People who already owned an RV elected to put a few more miles on the old one rather than trade for a new one.

It's not unlike the throes that beset the auto and housing markets over the same time period.

"Definitely, things are looking up. Shipments have been improving," said Phil Ingrassia, a spokesman with the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association, of Fairfax, Va.

Shipments of wholesale units are forecast to be up 27 percent in 2010, 203,000 units compared to 159,500 units shipped in 2009, the lowest number in years. Still, the 2010 forecast is "historically low," Mr. Ingrassia said. In 2006, 395,000 new travel trailers and motor homes were manufactured and shipped to dealers.
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