RVs see a comeback as boomers settle down
Sales of recreational vehicles of all kinds are in a resurgence, and that's great news for Winnebago, Harley-Davidson and others.
By Jim Probasco
It may be a perfect storm of sorts -- a growing economy and the fact that more baby boomers are retiring and heading for the great outdoors -- but the net result is a resurgence in recreational vehicle sales of all kinds.
From towable campers to motor homes, fishing boats to pontoons, jet skis to snowmobiles, the recreational vehicle industry did very well last year.
Even some vehicles not normally tied to the RV industry, like pickup trucks and motorcycles, saw increased sales.
Tom Walworth, president of research company Statistical Surveys, told Bloomberg that the total for all new RV units sold in 2013 rose 11 percent from the preceding year and that sales could top 335,000 in 2014, the highest sales figures in six years. "All things are a go for the RV industry again," he added.
Winners include Thor Industries (THO), maker of Airstream and Dutchmen recreational vehicles, two of the premier names in the business.
Another beneficiary of RV resurgence was Winnebago (WGO), best known for its motor homes.
In addition, because sales of new RVs have been depressed for the past several years, there's a shortage of late-model used vehicles and trailers on dealer lots. As a result, says Winnebago CEO, Randy Potts, many buyers have been seeking out less-expensive new options.
Most companies have been working to increase selection among lower-priced models. For companies like Winnebago that means more choices in the Minnie Winnie and Sunstar lines.
CNNMoney pointed to some additional segments of the RV economy that have benefited as well. One area is male leisure, including snowmobiles, jet skis, motorcycles, dirt bikes and other manly vehicles, including pickup trucks. All this is good news for Ford (F), General Motors (GM) and Harley-Davidson (HOG), to name a few.
Another company poised to benefit is Polaris, which specializes in dirt bikes, snowmobiles and other small vehicles.
On the water, a projected increase of five to seven percent in sales spells good news for companies like Malibu Boats, while outdoor specialists such as Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) and Cabela's (CAB) could see a bump as well.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
More from Benzinga
The RV may be the new "retirement" (i.e only) home for many boomers.
Just be damn sure of the quality that your buying. Agree with the comment about not buying new for a couple of reasons. Instant drop in value and the quality of today's RV industry in general. I made the mistake of buying a new Jayco Class C in 2011. When my longtime RV repair owner saw me drive up to his shop he screamed at me saying....."I told you to stay away from the new models, they don't build them as well and haven't for years. He went on to say "I remember when Jayco spelled quality but not anymore. All I know the motorhome has been a real pain with a number of trips to the Jayco dealer until the warranty ran out. Nothing much was ever fixed properly.
Just take your time, do your research, have it inspected top to bottom and enjoy.
These things depreciate so fast its like a death spiral so don't buy new if you are concerned but
used RV's are hot sellers. The death spiral starts with rising gas prices and slows with falling
prices its that simple. Toll roads can be another killer then you might live in a state with
personal property taxes the most hated tax of all. Each year you pay this tax and it is not
cheap on a RV, boat or car. Campground fees are also up a lot in premium private campgrounds which makes a hotel room look pretty good. The day of saving money with the family in a camper is over,people just enjoy the outdoors and cooking out rather than a stuffy room and restaurants. There are quality differences in RV's which can mean costly repairs and your tow vehicle always
suffers towing these things especially if they are not rated to pull the weight of your RV plus
things you take along. Its still loads of fun and solves the adventure spirit for most of us. You
can see America by staying at lodges and cabins but some how its not the same. Rent first
if your not sure these things are getting pricey and resale is not all that good.
I am hoping that my retirement will consist of the traveling lifestyle but I don't want to just be tied to land. My plan, which is almost a reality, is to buy a 40' plus sail boat and skip the high fuel prices of traveling as much as possible. I will, however, have an RV stationed some place as well for inland travel.
You can easily offset the fuel costs/ campground costs of traveling by RV if you are willing to act as a camp host in areas for a few months at a time. They give you a free place in the campground, free utilities, sewer hook up, in a gorgeous setting, in exchange for a few hours of work a day.
When you consider the high costs and time of maintaining a home in your senior years, RVing is not expensive.
Funny...I wanted to do the Motor Home, 5th. wheel, Travel thing; When I/we were about 45...
Chuck all our cares under the bus, well, um, trailer.
Was going to sell our ranch and about everything we didn't need...
Wife said just a few words that changed me forever..."You have to have a place to come back to.."
"You want a place you can call home.."
I retired, then her a few years after 45, we traveled before we retired, and I had traveled a lot with my job, sometimes taking her and the kids..
Never did the road warrior thing or be a snowbird; And have never regretted it either.
We can probably go where we want and when, but there is nothing like "Home sweet Home."
And for some that is a travel home and a camp ground or RV park...Kudos.
RV Living and/or even Camping, goes through cycles every 15-20 years...
Maybe because of Marketing, maybe yearning for the "open road", cheap way to vacation with your family(kids)..Even a possibility of a mid-life crisis..Don't want to get old, and places you want to see.
Either or any way..The phenomenon shows up, is active for a period of time and then dies back down.
A few hardy souls stick it out, and eventually maintain that type of life style..
Some invest a bundle in a heavy truck, motorhome, camper and/or 5th. wheel..
6-7 years later they are for sale at a huge discount "slightly used."..
And that can present opportunities to others...
I'm sure with the numbers of boomers retiring, we will see an influx of oldies on the road..
At least for a few years..
"19 hours agoJRx9000 Actually, it is the fact that more people are looking for RV's in order to live in them. Not travel in them. "
"18 hours agoasu This may not necessarily be good news....
The RV may be the new "retirement" (i.e only) home for many boomers."
"18 hours agoDee236
So if you are Dumb, Stupid, and Naive to the Cost of buying and Maintenance of a RV, you will believe whatever you read on a Posting Board. Most are buying because they want to, not because they have too. Dumb, Stupid and Naive that wants to push a political agenda will always tell you otherwise.
and I think Winnebago is known mostly for its towed travel trailers, not motorhomes...
like the "silver bullets" I see passing through.
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