Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Thor is “sold out” of RVs for 2021; order backlog totals $14 billion

If you had doubts about the stories regarding RV dealer lot inventory shortages and the demands on RV manufacturers, Thor Industries CEO Bob Martin wants you to know that yes, everything you’ve heard is true. Thor, the largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles in the world, is all sold out until next year.

Martin recently appeared on CNBC’s popular “Mad Money” television show to talk about the first quarter of 2021 being the best quarter in Thor’s history. He said the explosion of interest in RVing and the subsequent boom in sales has left Thor “pretty much sold out for the next year.”

In fact, Thor is reporting an “order backlog” worth more than $14 billion.

You look at our dealers’ inventory, which is virtually none. . . . So, we are . . . not able to build inventory at our dealers’ lots.”

Thor Industries owns the following brands outright: Airstream, Crossroads, Cruiser RV, Luxury Suites, Dutchmen, Entegra Coach, Heartland, Highland Ridge RV, Jayco, Keystone RV Company, KZ Recreational Vehicles, Redwood Recreational Vehicles, Starcraft, Thor Motor Coach, Tiffin Motorhomes, Vanleigh, and Ventura RV. That long list includes a plethora of different models. If you don’t own a Forest River or Winnebago, it’s likely you have a Thor.

Thor dealers’ inventory virtually none

“You look at our dealers’ inventory, which is virtually none, and a lot of what we had coming in were retails (units already) sold,” Martin told the Mad Money audience. “Customers have already bought them, and they put them on order. We have backlogs that are full of retail orders, so those will hit the dealers’ lots and then leave. So, we are still not able to build inventory at our dealers’ lots.”

The impact of millions of newbies to the RVing lifestyle, coupled with ongoing kinks in the RV manufacturing supply chain, means it may take a while for supplies at RV dealerships to return to anything resembling normal.

“Right now, we see this as a long-term trend, and if we get people in at an entry-level price and entry-level product, they grow throughout their lifetime,” Martin said. “People trade every three to five years, but right now we are seeing it a little bit quicker, and we see this for a long runway.”

Winnebago Industries, another big player in the RV manufacturing field, reported record earnings of $839.9 million during its second fiscal quarter, which ended Feb. 27, 2021. That’s an increase of 34% over last year. Winnebago’s second-quarter report also stated that Winnebago has a backlog of nearly 40,000 towable RVs ordered but yet to be built. That’s an increase of 425% from the previous year. The report went on to say that Winnebago dealers were experiencing a “sizable reductions to their inventory” due to “heightened levels of consumer retail demand.”

Winnebago’s third-fiscal-quarter results are expected to be released sometime this month.

Forest River Inc., the other big player in RV manufacturing, hasn’t released current details of its manufacturing backlog. Yet it’s likely Forest River is seeing a similar backlog of RV orders and that some level of backlog does exist that will impact dealer inventories.

As we reported in RVtravel.com in May, leading RV dealers in the U.S. are already reporting severe inventory problems, along with troubles acquiring RV replacement parts due to supply chain issues. Many say they’ve seen the dealer cost of new RVs rise substantially due to the lack of raw materials for manufacturing and those costs, of course, will be passed along to the consumer.

Here’s the entire CNBC “Mad Money” segment featuring Thor’s Bob Martin.

So, Mr. & Mrs. Consumer, what do you think about the “new normal” in RV manufacturing? We’d like to know. Please share your comments below.

##RVT1004

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Gary Stone
2 days ago

Ya want a good buy on a used RV? Just be patient a year or so as all the newbies discover it ain’t for them!

Brian
2 days ago

Apart from the backlog issue, does anyone else notice the monopoly situation here? It would be interesting to know what Thor’s marketshare is, given there are only two other brands that they don’t own. I’m sure there are others, but they must be small given the way only the other two manufacturers were mentioned.

Tom B
3 days ago

Checking Google map images, which appear to be recent, I see no shortages of RVs in my area. On the other hand, the Micro Minnie I’m interested in hasn’t been on the two local dealer lots for many months.

Brian
2 days ago
Reply to  Tom B

Publicly available Google satellite images are typically several years old, so not a valid source of information on what’s currently on lots.

Tom B
2 days ago
Reply to  Brian

It says “Map data 2021” and “Imagery 2021.”. The trees are leafed out so that would put it in the last 1.5 months. I see changes around my and my neighbors house that are less than a year old.

Jess
3 days ago

FL, GA,SC, all rv lots full. Selling stock to investors is all this is, complete BS.

Tom
3 days ago

I just traveled from Florida to Georgia and back.General Rv in Ocala is so loaded with rv’s.Lazy days in Tampa has plenty of Thor brand products.It is a fact Jim Cramer is scripted by msnbc producers.The show earns money to push a few stocks on a given day.

Bryan
3 days ago

Seeing a lot of mixed messaging on this issue. This news letter article headline was followed by an ad for “the largest RV” show in Hershey PA this September, claiming to have 33 football fields of new RVs to look at. You may no be able it order new at this time but the dealers around me are full with models to choose from.

Tommy Molnar
3 days ago

I’ll join the ‘crowd’ here and say they’ve passed dealer after dealer, and their lots are FULL of RV’s. From Reno to Houston (a trip we’ve been making way too often lately . . .) we saw no RV dealerships who were lacking in products to sell.

Gary Stone
2 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Same here in our neck o’ the woods. That said, I’ll betcha there’s no dickering on the sticker prices.

Hubert Rosch
3 days ago

We just finished a 6500 mile, 16 state trip around the west and nearly every RV dealership we passed was filled with RV’s. Are they all sold? Is the data you are getting flawed? What’s up?

Ray
3 days ago

I wonder why a market-savy, profit-first company like Thor would say such a thing publicly? It seems counter-productive to acquisition of more new customers.

Bryan
3 days ago
Reply to  Ray

They’re trying to get a head of the negative PR for delayed delivery on orders they have. Being completely booked up is a good sign but being over obligated is a bad sign for investors. How they handle the other end of this will show what kind of company they really are.

Robb
3 days ago

Intetesting. I drove by a camping world the other day and RV’s were lined up. I noticed a lot of Montana 5th wheels.

Mark Generales
3 days ago

Thor stock is a “short” if there ever was one.

Anyone seen a huge corresponding increase in new, additional RV parks or National. State or Local campgrounds? The RV industry is greedy and could care – but buyers will. And we are near the point where getting in the car and driving to a location and using a hotel will be the only viable option.

Then what happens to the millions of cheap travel trailers? Or the 70 yr old that no longer needs his 48ft diesel pusher. Who is gonna buy all those used RV’s when there isn’t anywhere to park them?

This business is about to run right into the proverbial brick wall. Lousy quality control. Minimal consistency. Poor service. But most important – no where to go.

Oh yes – with the rush to EV and very legitimate Wall Street estimates of $100 bbl of oil by Christmas.

$7 gasoline anyone?

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