RV shipments expected to decline this year and next

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Can it be — shipments of RVs actually declining after eight straight years of growth?

According to a news release from the RV Industry Association (RVIA), analyst Richard Curtin, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center, predicts 2019 shipments will range between 439,800 and 466,000 units with the most likely total to be 453,200 units. That would represent an annual decline of 5.4 percent.


That will be the second straight year of declines. RV shipments this year, 2018, are expected to total 479,000, a 5.1 percent decline from the peak year of 504,600 in 2017.

While Curtin’s initial forecasts for 2018 were projected higher, RV shipments fell in the third quarter of 2018 to 107,130. This was down 11.9 percent from last year’s third quarter, following a much smaller annual decline of 0.8 percent in the second quarter. Despite the decline, according to the RVIA, the third quarter was still higher than any other third quarter on record since 1972. The recent decline was concentrated among conventional and fifth-wheel travel trailers, as well as types A and C motorhomes. The smallest RV segments, type B motorhomes and slide-in truck campers, recorded small year-to-year gains.

“Income, employment and household wealth will continue to exert a positive force on RV sales, though these factors are expected to be slightly less favorable in the year ahead,” Curtin wrote.

“The mild downturn in shipments reflects the impact of higher manufacturing costs for RV producers, and RV dealers adjusting their inventories due to changes in inventory carrying costs,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of RVIA. “All relevant economic factors have been favorable for so long that slippage at some point was inevitable.”

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Rory Roberts

This could be the best trend yet, manufacturers will cut back on production schedules enough to give their employees the time to show their skill @ building dependable vehicles. It may mean some unemployment though, That would be the bad news. It would also mean that the large group of employees who are paid on a piece meal basis might just disappear. They would then have to go back to the craftsmen they like to brag about…

Craig Whitten

My guess is that the 20-40 somethings that have bought RV’s over the past few years are finding out just how frustrating this lifestyle is when trying to keep the shiny new under engineered, low quality built POS repaired. Gonna be a big increase in the used for sale market and/or these rigs will be long term parked at the local storage facility where out of sight is out of mind.

Richard Russell

Tiffin is building 6 gas rigs weekly and 13 diesel motor homes! The camping is not always in existence so the builders and camp sites and camping resorts need be in this conversation

Jeffrey Torsrud

People are trying to compare Apples to Oranges Here!

When the RV Industry puts out figures of SHIPPING 400,000 or 500,000 RVs per year, it gives a false sense of the RV industry. Because they are not selling that many RVs to consumers. That is very evident with all the RVs that are sitting UNSOLD on dealers lots. Some dealers will simply go out of business because they can’t sell the current inventory they have on their lots and the RV Manufacturers will not ship any more RVs until they sell off some of the inventory.

There needs to be another GAGE of how many RVs are being sold to Consumers!

Captn John

It is a start. The trend needs to go much faster. About 150,000 would be a good number!