When recreational vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers and dealers gather Monday for the start of their national trade show, they will be riding a wave of economic success.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association sponsors the annual event in Louisville, Kentucky. Friday the RVIA announced shipments for RVs were up again in October and were up 13.8 percent through the first 10 months of the year.
Wholesale deliveries of RVs amounted to 38,765 units, up 14.5 percent over October 2015, according to the RVIA. Five of the seven vehicle categories improved over October 2015 with conventional travel trailers rising by the largest unit total while folding camping trailers rose by the largest percentage gain.
Through October, total shipments of all RVs were reported at 363,051 units, an increase of 13.8 over 2015 at the same time. The 10-month shipment total this year is running at an annualized rate of more than 420,000 units, according to the RVIA. If the rapid climb in deliveries continue, it would make 2016 the seventh consecutive yearly increase for RV shipments and the best total shipments in 40 years.
The RVIA has held the trade show for more than 50 years to showcase the $50 billion industry and allow dealers to view and order RVs. The show is not open to the public
“This is an exciting time for the show” said Liz Crawford, RVIA’s senior vice president of trade shows and events. “Not only is the show pacing ahead of last year in terms of attendance and a completely sold out floorplan, we are seeing more exhibitors putting out the red carpet for their customers on site with hosted parties and networking.”
The RVIA is making a few changes to its show this year, starting a day earlier and adding show floor features. Those include a virtual reality tour that features user profiles, sneak peeks at products and technology education; a “campfire” area were attendees can share stories and meet other show attendees; a patio area where attendees can charge their electronic devices and play Trivial Pursuit and network; a JumboTron where show attendees can take selfies; and education seminars with keynote speakers every day
The RVIA is expecting a good turnout from the industry for the show, perhaps record numbers. Among the attendees will be more than 600 people representing companies outside the United States.
The show runs through Thursday.