Elkhart RV Open House closes; RVIA forecasts lower sales in 2019

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    Elkhart RV Open House closes; RVIA forecasts lower sales in 2019The Elkhart RV Open House, where manufacturers hosted dealers from across North America to review RV products and place orders, closed last week and manufacturers are now evaluating its results, reports The Goshen News.

    The RV industry is expecting another record year, sneaking above the one it just had in 2017 by less than 1 percent, according to Thor Industry’s annual report. Yet, during three of the last four months shipments of RVs to dealers have declined.


    The RV Industry Association (RVIA) has forecast that 2019 shipments may be a couple of percentage points below this year’s total.

    At the show, RV professionals focused on new sales weren’t overly concerned over a couple of percentage points or the impact tariffs on imported metals may have on the price points of RVs.

    “We haven’t seen any real impact. We haven’t had any huge price increases or anything like that,” said Gary Conley, national sales manager at Lance Camper, though others see a coming impact from tariffs.

    “We’re keeping an eye on it. Retail sales are still strong. Retail registrations are good,” said Brian LaPray, national sales manager at Entegra Coach. “We’ll wait and see what happens with the tariffs. I think the RV industry as a whole is going to have some price increases because of tariffs, but it’s kind of wait and see, let’s see what happens, and see how those affect pricing in the future. But it’s coming unless something new happens.”

    Dustin Johns, owner of one of the few family-owned RV companies, Travel Lite RV, said the tariffs have already hit some of the steel and aluminum used to produce parts for his company’s products.

    “And there are more coming in January,” he said. “And yes, that is going to cause a slight rise in price across the industry, but … it is a fair playing field because we are all going to have to deal with that.”

    Like other manufacturers who have been asked, Johns couldn’t nail down what the tariffs’ financial impact might be.

    He explained that suppliers of appliances for RVs, for instance, will have their own price increases, and those and similar costs will have to be added into the equation.