The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Mon Jun 27, 2016
Many of the nation’s 50 states have their own state RV dealer associations to provide advocacy and unity for a common goal: the prosperity of the RV industry within their own states.
However, there are several states that have not created their own associations, often because of a lesser RV emphasis in the state, a lack of interest in the idea and other factors.
In Alabama, however, the state has created a plethora of successful RV businesses creating an economic impact of more than half a billion dollars in 2015, all without the help and advocacy of a state association.
Rod Wagner, in addition to being the General Sales Manager at Madison RV in northern Alabama near Huntsville, also serves as the Alabama state delegate to the national Recreation Vehicle Dealer’s Association and he says the success has come because of the emphasis that so many families within the state place on outdoor experiences and values.
“I really think it’s the people of Alabama, who are value-based as opposed to a flashy car and flashy home,” Wagner says. “People are just more into really enjoying life. And they’re really down to earth.”
That’s not to say that Wagner doesn’t want to see a state association at some point. He has been trying for some time to get people to band together for a state association, but much of the efforts have fizzled out.
“I think the absence of a state dealer’s association has weakened our position with trying to get dealer-friendly laws passed,” Wagner says. “It’s a bit of a struggle. It creates more of a competitive relationship as opposed to a good relationship (among the dealers.) It’s been sort of a challenge to break the barriers of competition.”
Wagner says he had some traction a little while ago with some dealerships in the state, but after a few sold their businesses, the traction ran its course and Wagner says he has to “knuckle down and try to take the entire state on.”
The state has 313 RV businesses, 51 RV dealerships and provides 2,473 direct jobs in the RV industry, according to the economic impact study completed by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.
Over the last few months, Wagner says the industry has experienced a boom in the state, much like elsewhere in the nation. In particular, the state has seen impressive jumps in the towables section, especially the fifth wheels, while motorhomes have slowed down considerably, but are still reasonable and above the marks set in 2006.
“We’re certainly seeing growth, no doubt,” Wagner says. “The economy really has a big influence on people putting themselves in position to take discretionary money to put toward a lifestyle commitment. The towables segment, fifth wheels especially, are doing extremely well. We’re a big fifth wheel dealer, so we’ve been enjoying that.”
Wagner moved to Alabama from California about eight years ago and says the atmosphere with a state dealer’s association in California was starkly different from Alabama, in that each dealer was in a friendly relationship with every other one, working toward the goal of improving the industry as a whole in the state.
Wagner says he will continue to work for a state association in Alabama, knowing the benefits that can come when industry professionals work toward a common goal and not against each other. However, as it stands right now, the RV industry in Alabama is doing just fine, to the tune of about $500 million per year.