Tue Mar 26, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
The February decline in RV shipments—15.4 percent overall—shouldn’t come as a surprise, industry officials say, considering factors such as the cold, snowy winter much of the country has seen and assorted economic turbulence. There is reason for optimism despite the sluggish start to 2019. An upswing is in the offing, they say, as dealers work through excess inventory and spring arrives.
Garry Enyart, (pictured left) chairman of the RVIA board of directors and director of Mobile Generator Sales & Coach Care at Onan/Cummins Power Generation, says the numbers are somewhat expected. He says comparable numbers will continue to trail 2018 for a while, but will eventually start to rise.
“The dealers I talked to both prior to and during RVX say they are all in an inventory adjustment mode and are right-sizing their inventory,” Enyart says. “With the additional capacity coming on during the past 24 months, lead times are down considerably.”
Enyart says many dealers plan to place orders more often throughout the year, but the orders will be for smaller quantities. He says OEMs are fine with that pace.
“Dealers in general have said demand is still good,” Enyart says. “Obviously, we have had a long, difficult winter in many parts of the country and now that things are starting to thaw, activity will start to increase.”
Long-time RV industry observer and consultant Dr. Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan, attributes the declining numbers to a mixture of unavoidable factors such as the weather, the shutdown of the federal government and the effects of increased raw material costs and tariffs. Rising interest rates have also played a role, he says.
“RV prices have gone up because of commodity prices, and of course, tariffs,” Curtin says. “Dealers are adjusting their inventories. I expect a rebound in the second quarter when the industry is not bothered by all the extra factors.”
Curtin projects 2019 to be down about 25,000 units from 2018, but it will still be one of the strongest years in the industry’s history.
“It will still be a great year,” Curtin says. “Before 2018 and 2017, what we will see in 2019 would have been a year to die for.”