On the surface, it sounds like a bad year for the RV industry, with shipments to dealers down about 20% this year compared to last. But, according to a WNDU report, the previous two years both brought record highs and even if the 20% drop holds through the end of this year, 2019 would still be the fourth best year ever with an estimated 400,100 units shipped.

“RV sales are actually up over last year if you look at the sales. Shipments are down, but that’s because they’re getting rid of excess inventory and everything,” said Tim Dennig with Gulf Stream Inc. “You just tone it down. Instead of building 20 a day, you build 15 a day, but the nice thing is your quality goes way up too,”

During a “State of the Industry” speech on Monday (Sept. 23), Gregg Fore, partner/chief revenue officer for RVBusiness noted, “It’s a great time to be in the RV industry, a great time to be in northern Indiana.”

Fore says that despite the 20% drop in shipments this year, Elkhart’s unemployment rate actually decreased from 3.7% in January to 3% in August. It remains to be seen how the very dealers who ordered fewer units so far this year will choose to stock their lots in the future.

“They’re looking for not a record open house; they’re looking for a good, solid order performance that will carry them into the spring,” Fore said.

Dennig added, “They come to this show and they buy, and this is when they stock everything up for next year. So, we believe we’re going to catch up anything we’ve lost in shipments, we believe we’ll catch up in the last quarter.”

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