Jeffrey and Robin Few of Elkhart look over the exterior of The Venture Sonic X during the RV Business RV of the year 2020 show at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in November. The RV industry is expected to have more than a 16 percent decline this year with a much smaller decline in 2020.

RV wholesale shipments are expected to surpass 400,000 units by the end of 2019 and then see a minimal drop in 2020, according to the latest issue of RV RoadSigns, the quarterly forecast commissioned by the RV Industry Association and authored by independent RV industry analyst Richard Curtin, director of Surveys of Consumers at the University of Michigan.

A news release from the RVIA reports RV shipments are projected to total 402,100 units by the end of this year, a 16.9 percent decline from the 2018 total of 483,700. Looking ahead to 2020, the double-digit percentage decline of 2019 will to dip to 3.9%, which would amount to 386,400 units shipped. The release states Curtin gave that scenario a 60 percent probability of occurring. The aggressive outlook version of the forecast (15 percent probability) shows a slight rise in 2020 shipments to 404,600 units. The lower end of the range based on a conservative forecast (25 percent probability) sets the annual total at 359,600.

Curtin sees the slight decline in RV shipments being moderated by continued favorable trends in wages, jobs, inflation and interest rates. The positive factors will be clouded by consumer uncertainty about economic prospects due to policy issues, including tariffs and regulations, as well as political concerns that include the impeachment and a presidential election. Continued strong growth and lower inflation could push wholesale shipments toward the top of the forecast range while economic growth below two percent and sliding consumer confidence could lead to shipments in the lower end of the range, the release states.

Towable RV shipments are anticipated to reach 355,600 units in 2019 and 344,400 units in 2020. Motorhome shipments are projected to finish at 46,500 units by the end of this year and 42,000 units in 2020.

Although shipments are below an all-time comparable record high of 504,600 units in 2017, the RV market remains healthy and robust in historical context, the RVIA stated in its release. The projected year-end totals of 402,100 units in 2019 and 386,400 units in 2020 would respectively rank as the fourth and sixth best years for the industry and exceed the 30-year (294,676 units), 20-year (331,206 units) and 10-year (332,210 units) industry averages for wholesale shipments.

An economic study revealed by the RVIA his year, “RVs Move America Economic Impact Study,” {span}indicated RV industry contributes $32.4 billion to the Hoosier economy each year. That total includes the RV aftermarket, financing, insurance and other ancillary businesses.

About 80 percent of all RVs in the nation are made in northern Indiana.

Roger Schneider can be reached at rschneider@goshennews.com or at 574-533-2151, ext. 309. Follow him on Twitter at @rschneider_TGN.

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