RVIA’s 50th National RV Trade Show, held Nov. 27-29 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY, showcased new product lines, as well as the upbeat outlook and spirit of innovation that has seen the industry recover from the recession with three consecutive years of growth.
“Among exhibitors and attendees there was a real belief that the RV industry is strong and resilient and is well positioned for future success,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We still have some challenges in the market, but RV shipments are growing because people love RVs — what they represent and what RVs allow them to do.”
The RV industry’s premiere event included 68 manufacturers and 235 suppliers displaying their newest and most innovative products across more than 725,000 square feet of exhibit space. Attendance totaled 7,658, down 6% from 2011. Total buying attendance, representing individual attendees in the RV dealer, accessory store, campground owner, and warehouse distributor categories, was off 9%, declining to 2,978.
While attendance was lower than in previous years, manufacturers reported steady traffic and sales.
“We had an outstanding show that exceeded our expectations,” said Matt Buckman of Navistar RV. “We had steady traffic in our booth, and our sales through the first two days exceeded our three-day sales from last year by 40%.”
“KZ had a good show,” said Andy Baer of KZ Recreational Vehicles. “Dealer traffic was lighter, but the quality was excellent. They were engaged with the product and were here in Louisville to buy.”
“We weren’t sure what to expect at Louisville because we had a big open house,” said Nate Goldenberg of Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. “But, we’re 52% ahead of last year’s Louisville show, and 2011 was a record year for us.”
At the National RV Trade Show, RVIA released details of a new shipments projection for 2013, prepared by Dr. Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan and RVIA’s Market Information Committee. The RV industry recovery from the economic downturn will continue to build strength in 2013, as shipments are expected to rise to 289,900 — a 4.5% increase over the projected 2012 total of 277,300 units.
The rise in shipments to 277,300 units by year-end 2012 would be a nearly 10% gain (9.9%) over the 2011 total of 252,300 and include double digit gains in conventional travel trailers and type A motorhomes. The expected increase in 2013 would mark four consecutive years of RV market growth.