Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

RV manufacturers set another shipment record in May, yet buyers may still face a long wait

There were a few RV industry news items released this week that should be of interest to every RVer.

First, the RV Industry Association announced that RV factory shipments set another new record in May, with 49,241 units leaving factories during the month. That’s almost 76% better than May 2020, which was the first month last year that factories were in full production after being shuttered during spring 2020 due to COVID-19.

The RV industry has set a new RV shipment record for each of the past seven months as RV manufacturers strive to maintain high production levels to replenish dwindling dealer inventories amid increasing consumer demand despite numerous kinks in the RV parts supply chain.

“More American consumers than ever before are rediscovering the great outdoors and the joy that comes from spending time with friends and family,” said RV Industry Association President and CEO Craig Kirby. “With RVing becoming more popular than ever, the RV industry has been committed to sustaining industry growth and meeting demand that shows no sign of slowing down.”

The continuing growth of consumer demand in new RVs is beginning to feel like an industry in free fall for campers struggling to compete for limited available sites in crowded campgrounds.

Winnebago says younger RVers entering the market

Winnebago CEO Mike Happe was interviewed on Fox Business this week. Happe said while RV owners under age 30 make up only about 10% of the current market, their share is climbing. Happe said the average age of an RV owner is now in the mid-40s.

Happe also said Winnebago – and likely many other manufacturers – are turning their attention to younger RV buyers interested in “off-grid” RVing and wilderness boondocking. Many younger RVers, in an effort to differentiate themselves from older RVers, are even adopting the term “overlanding” to describe their new outdoor lifestyle.

Winnebago, like most manufacturers, is struggling to keep up with back orders of its products. Thor Industries, the world’s largest RV manufacturer, recently admitted to a $14 billion backlog. Winnebago’s manufacturing backlog number now stands at $3.7 billion in already purchased RVs.

Happe told Fox Business that a hopeful RV purchaser would likely be waiting “weeks or even months” for any Winnebago model they were unable to find sitting on already thinned dealer lots.

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Richard Hughes
2 months ago

We have a 2019 CLASS C with only 4,500 miles. We have made one long trip and decided it is not what we want, so we bought a new trailer and truck. Our problem, with low miles, everyone thinks there is something wrong and are afraid to buy it. Dealers are selling the same rig for thousands more than we paid, but tell us they will give us much less.

Ed Fogle
2 months ago

Why did you say “yet buyers may still face a long wait”. Record sales a long delivery times make sense.

CLeeNick
2 months ago

My wife and I stopped by one of our local RV dealerships yesterday just to look around. We’ve had our current trailer since 2018 and now have a short list of “improvements” we are looking for in a possible replacement rig. Holy smokes! This is NOT a good time to buy an RV by any means, but they appear to be selling like the proverbial “hotcakes”. There were perhaps 10-12 rigs on the lot. 3-4 were marked “sold”. We only saw one new rig available, and the prices of the available used rigs on the lot were easily up by one-third or more over what they would have been two years ago. We aren’t unhappy with our current rig by any means, so we aren’t itching to replace it…and from the looks of it, we likely won’t be for quite some time.

Last edited 2 months ago by CLeeNick

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