Recreational Vehicle Industry Expects Continued Growth In 2014, Says New GE Capital Survey

The popularity of recreational vehicles (RV) grew significantly in 2013, leading RV dealers to look hopefully toward the new year, according to survey results released today by GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) business.

One-third of survey respondents said they expect sales to rise 10 percent to 15 percent next year, and an additional 37 percent expect RV sales to grow 5 percent to 10 percent. No respondents expect declining sales in 2014.

“The overall mood of the industry is upbeat,” said Tim Hyland, president of CDF’s RV group. “Industry shipments are up nearly 13 percent this year and retail registrations are keeping pace. Sales of towable units have nearly recovered to pre-crisis levels and motorized units are improving nicely. CDF’s increase in wholesale financing volume year-over-year is consistent with these trends as well.”

Respondents predicted that consumers will continue to favor travel trailers (50 percent), followed by motorhomes (31 percent) and fifth-wheel trailers (17 percent). This shows more variety in demand from last year, when travel trailers were predicted by 70 percent to be consumers’ first choice.

“Sales of motorized units continue to grow as the economy improves,” said Hyland. “This is very encouraging for the industry as consumers are investing in units with higher price points and re-committing to the RV lifestyle.”

The most common business concern in the RV industry is consumer demand, cited by 27 percent of respondents. The next concern is the availability/stability of retail finance options, selected by 19 percent.

The RV industry survey of 130 respondents was conducted Dec. 3-5 during the annual Recreational Vehicle Industry Association show in Louisville, KY. Two-thirds of the respondents were dealers and 26 percent were manufacturers.

To hear more about the outlook for the RV industry, listen to the audiocast featuring Hyland and Doug Gaeddert, chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) on CDF’s Facebook page or access the audio file here.

CDF has supported the RV industry with flexible inventory financing products for more than 30 years. Inventory financing, also known as floorplan financing, allows dealers to stock, market and sell a wide variety of products from RV manufacturers.

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