By ROGER SCHNEIDER firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — LOUISVILLE, KY. — The recreational vehicle industry is on cruise control and the road ahead looks smooth.
That was the positive message from Recreational Vehicle Industry Association President Richard Coon, who had nothing but good news to tell hundreds of manufacturers, suppliers and dealers at the opening breakfast of the National RV Trade Show.
“Things are good. Growth is everywhere,not just in North America interestingly enough. Growth in the RV industry is going up and up and up,” Coon said.
This growth has taken place in the last few years without Europe’s participation. Europe is still struggling economically, according to Coon, and has a large RV industry.
“The growth globally is reflected at this show. Three years ago there were only four exhibitors outside the united states and Canada that exhibited at this show. At this show there is 13,” Coon said. “In additional to that, 700 foreigners pre-registered for this show this year, representing 23 countries., which is great, tremendous, and shows you the opportunities there are for this industry worldwide.”
He said 335,000 RVs were sold worldwide in 2009 and sales had risen to 462,000 units in 2012.
North America remains the core of the RV manufacturing and consuming market and that market is experiencing continued growth. The RVIA’s forecast for 2014 predicts a 6.1 percent gain in RV shipments from manufacturers to dealers, according to Coon.
The industry is expected to turn out 316,000 RVs this year and boost that to 336,000 units in 2014. That number will still be short of the 390,000 units shipped in 2006 before the recession.
But since the recession the industry has had yearly gains. Coon said all current economic indicators for the industry are positive, with the only concern being quick growth in dealer inventories.
“These are good times, really good times,” Coon said.
Both Coon and Doug Gaeddert, chairman of the RVIA board, urged RVIA members to lobby their local congressional representatives to overcome political bickering over the budget and other issues and not shut down the government again after the first of the year.
Coon said the shutdown in September had an immediate impact on RV sales.
“Make no doubt about it, when they shut things down this last fall, that impacted this business. Traffic at dealerships slowed way down. Let’s hope they are smart enough not to do that again... dysfunctional government could impact us. It is in front of us at the end of January, February, right smack at the beginning of the good selling period.
Basically they just need to have the courage to do the jobs we elected them to do,” said Doug Gaeddert, chairman of the RVIA board. “Term limits by the way would make this far easier in the future. I strongly encourage each of you to strongly encourage them to get it done early, to get it done right and get it done for the long haul. We have an economy that is purring nicely right now and if they don’t fumble again, it is ready to roar.”