This week, RVIA released a revised 2023 wholesale RV shipment forecast ranging from as low as 287,200 RVs to 307,000. The range would be the slowest year for wholesale RV shipments since 2012.
Thor Industries is not buying the projection.
The company, while announcing fiscal third-quarter financial results Tuesday, said its projections for the 2023 calendar year are much higher than RVIA’s revised outlook.
“While we acknowledge there is a wide range of potential retail sales scenarios, based on current conditions, we expect North American retail registrations to eclipse 350,000 units for calendar 2023,” the company said, “and to outpace the RVIA’s forecasted 2023 wholesale shipment range of between 287,200 and 307,000 units as dealers adjust lot inventory to a lower level to offset carrying costs.”
Thor Industries reported sales, margin and earnings significantly down from the fiscal third quarter of 2022. Sales were 37.1% lower than 2022’s record fiscal third quarter. Gross profit margin declined 14.8% from the fiscal third quarter of 2022. Earnings fell 64.5%.
Although comparatively much lower than 2022, Thor Industries reported a profitable quarter. The RV manufacturer reported $120.7 million in fiscal third quarter profits.
Thor Industries President and CEO Bob Martin said, “In North America, moderately higher production volumes compared to our second quarter along with greater activity on dealer lots than we saw last quarter resulted in operating results that well exceeded our fiscal 2023 second-quarter results.”
Despite dynamics affecting the company’s operating environment, Martin said each of the company’s segments largely met or exceeded internal expectations in the fiscal third quarter.
Todd Woelfer, Thor’s chief operating officer and senior vice president, said the manufacturer helped dealers take 8,300 RVs out of their inventory during the quarter. Woelfer said the de-stocking reduced a substantial number of 2022 model year RVs.
Martin said the manufacturer will continue to throttle manufacturing output to meet retail sales as the company prepares to build 2024 model year RVs. He said 2024 model year manufacturing would occur “towards the end of our fiscal fourth quarter,” which ends July 31.
Thor Industries said its manufacturers will take extended downtime in the fiscal fourth quarter, compared with previous years. The announcement could mean shutdowns extending through most of July, rather than the traditional one-week closure around July 4.
“While we anticipate these efforts will result in sequentially lower fiscal fourth quarter financial results,” he said, “we believe these strategies will bolster our relative performance next fiscal year.”
Thor Industries also took the opportunity to dispute reports that its manufacturers began shipping 2024 model year RVs. In response to a question in the company’s provided Q&A asking whether the report was true, Thor said, “No. This report was not true.”
The company said dealer and consumer credit remain healthy despite higher interest rates than a year ago. Wholesale lenders remain “disciplined” with curtailments, the company said, and creditworthy consumers are finding credit broadly available.