Tue Feb 5, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
Although attendance at some shows declined due to severe winter weather, RV sales have been strong at the January and early February RV shows across Canada. Eleonore Hamm (far left), president of RVDA Canada, describes the first few shows as a mixed bag. To date, shows have been held in Toronto, Calgary and Halifax.
“Attendance has been down a little bit, but sales overall have been quite strong,” Hamm says. “Motorized sales were strong in Toronto, and that was nice because it’s been a soft market.”
Calgary’s show was off in attendance, Hamm says.
“I’m not sure if it was the weather or economic in Calgary,” Hamm says. “A couple of dealers said sales were alright, but Halifax did quite well.”
Overall, Hamm says the opinion among dealers is that 2019 might turn out to be flat for sales.
“There is still quite a bit of inventory on dealers’ lots,” she says.
Hamm hopes the weather will be nice for the next two shows, both set for this weekend. The Edmonton RV Expo and Sale runs Feb. 7-10 and the Ottawa RV Expo & Sale is set for Feb. 8-10.
Hamm says many dealers are concerned about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaced NAFTA. The deal was signed by the leaders of the three countries, but still has to be ratified by the governments of each.
“Everyone is a bit cautious,” Hamm says. “Some are concerned about trade. We are waiting to see what’s going to happen with steel and aluminum tariffs. We have a federal election coming up in Canada in the fall, and we will have to see how that affects consumer sentiment. It’s a bit early to tell now.”
Roland Goreski (pictured right), owner and general manager at Campkins RV Centre in Whitby, Ontario, about 30 miles northeast of Toronto, says attendance was down about 20 percent at the Toronto RV Show & Sale, which ran Jan. 17-20, but sales were about the same as 2018.
“The Toronto show went very well despite having the coldest day of the year on Sunday with a windchill of minus 35 and a snowstorm that shut down a number of highways,” Goreski says. “Buyer-wise, the crowd was full of serious buyers, and dealers were pleased.”
Goreski believes Toronto’s strong sales bode well for the overall industry in 2019, but he remains leery about tariffs and the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar.