Dealer Chain Reflects on Manufacturer Cycle in 2023

A picture of Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis

Camping World Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis opened the dealer chain’s 2023 fourth-quarter financial results meeting with a statement of relief.

“I got to be honest,” he said, “I am glad ’23 is over.”

Lemonis said he is hopeful that the RV industry will rebound. Reviving prospects are dependent on various industry segments, including RV manufacturers.

“We need the overall industry to be healthy,” Lemonis said. “We need the manufacturers to get back to working production cycles, where they are shipping north of 350,000 units at a minimum.”

Lemonis said manufacturers learned from previous inventory management problems, impacting the inventory cycle this time around. Before, manufacturer overproducing led to dealer overstocking. In 2023, manufacturers quickly pivoted to closely match retail inventory. As a result, Lemonis said the industry is in better shape than typical buying cycles.

“I think maybe for the first time,” Lemonis said, “that lesson has been more learned than ever.”

Manufacturers provided support to dealers, driven by both parties’ need to lower RV costs through enhanced innovation, supplier negotiations and supplier participation willingness.

As price points came down, Camping World Chief Operating Officer Matthew Wagner said many manufacturers were smart about selective decontenting.

“We want this perfect balance,” Lemonis said, “between prices reducing and the consumer not losing confidence in the value of the asset they just bought.”

Wagner said travel trailer manufacturers specifically have been finding the sweet spot in this balance.

While travel trailer manufacturers have become more creative in decontenting, he said motorized and fifth wheel segments are facing challenges. Wagner noted motorized manufacturers using Ford chassis are subject to the automotive manufacturers’ price increases.

Wagner said both motorized and fifth wheels will have to impose reductions in other categories.

Looking Toward the Future

Despite the year’s challenges, Camping World emerged from 2023 with record earnings of $100 million from its Good Sam membership business.

“We love the Good Sam business,” Lemonis said, “and when we look at the last five to 10 years, it has been our crown jewel, and we believe it will continue to be.”

As 2024 unravels, Wagner said the dealer chain plans to open 25 additional dealerships in 2024. Four new locations have already opened this year.


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