RVDA: Show Sales, Lender Cuts Yield Dealer Optimism – RVBusiness – Breaking RV Industry News


EDITOR’S NOTE: The following originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of RV Executive Today, which is published by the RV Dealers Association (RVDA). It is reprinted here with permission.

Attendance was down but dealers, in most cases, were satisfied with the number of RVs sold and leads generated during early January shows in several cities. And in what can be viewed as a pleasant surprise, several retail lenders jumped ahead of the Federal Reserve and lowered their interest rates, which, in turn, lowers RV buyers’ monthly payments. Several shows also suspended their rules to allow dealers to sell 2023 model year RVs in preparation for the arrival of 2025 units later this year. Here is a rundown of dealers’ views about some of the first RV shows in 2024:

South Texas RV Supersale, San Antonio, Jan. 4-7

“Traffic was down but we did OK – you always want to do more,” said Tony Garrard, sales manager at Crestview RV Superstore in Selma, TX about the South Texas RV SuperSale in San Antonio, Jan. 4-7. Attendees were most interested in larger travel trailers and fifth wheels than was the case during the 2022 version of the show. Both first-time buyers and experienced RVers looking to trade-up were interested in the larger models, Garrard said.

“Overall, the show was OK,” said Chris Hoover of Ron Hoover RV& Marine Center, Rockport, TX. “We had a great show on our end but we definitely grinded it out. Margins are still low, and the business is extremely competitive.”

Pittsburgh RV Show, Jan. 6-14

Terry Bickel, sales manager at Ansley RV, Duncansville, PA, said attendance and sales were down, but he added, “There’s still a lot of excitement although sales
were not as aggressive. A lot of attendees said they were gathering information.”

However, Bickel said he’s “excited about the first quarter” because retail lenders lowered their interest rates prior to the Fed’s expected rate reduction. The lower loan rates, combined with RV dealers’ price reductions since last fall, will transform more information gatherers into buyers, he believes.

Ohio RV Supershow, Cleveland, Jan. 10-14

Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV in Hartville, OH, said, “I was pleasantly surprised the traffic and sales were better than last year.
Fifth wheel sales were strong and travel trailer sales were strong across all price points. “There were a lot of first-time buyers – we took few trades,” Pastore said. “A number of our lenders reduced their rates, and substantially – three-quarters to one percentage point.”

Jennifer Radel, All Seasons RV in Streetsboro, OH, also said her dealership had a successful show. “Traffic was strong, we had a lot of good follow-up,” she said. “Sales were flat – I had higher expectations because we did a lot of business the week before.

“There were a lot of price buyers at the show. We sold a little bit of everything,” Radel added. “2024 will be better than 2023 although not by a huge amount.”

Ohio RV & Boat Show, Columbus, Jan. 5-7 & Jan. 10-14:

Dean Tennison, Specialty RV, Lancaster, OH, said, “Attendance was down – there were some buyers but mostly lookers. We had a lot of late model trades with very high payoffs. Sales were primarily towables – very little interest in motorized.

“Unit sales were down slightly – gross profit was much lower on old units, but back to normal profits on 2024s,” he added.

Tennison said US Bank lowered its rates “substantially,” while Huntington “and local banks dropped (their rates) also.”

James Stone of RCD RV Superstore, a three-location Columbus area dealership, agreed, “Attendance was down versus past years, but it was a good show. We sold a lot of units and had good followup. Best sellers were mid-range travel trailers priced $30,000 to $50,000 and high-end fifth wheels.

“About half of show buyers were first timers and half had trade-ins,” Stone said.

“Typically, 40 percent of our buyers have trades. We had several lenders who chopped rates, some lowered prices during the show. Rates were lowered to the low-to-mid 7 percent range.”

“We (the industry) are on an upward trajectory,” Stone believes. “We’re on pace to hit all of our month’s goals.”

St. Paul RV Supershow, Jan. 18-21

Mike Pearo, Hilltop Camper and RV, Fridley, MN, said even though attendance was down, “We were overwhelmed – it was hard to handle the crowd this year.

“As far as the people attending the show, it was like shows of pre-COVID: a good mix of people and a ton of families,” Pearo said. “(There was) very good interest, but it was difficult to get commitments. Part of our issue is the fact that there are two more RV shows coming up in Minneapolis in the next two weeks.

“We have also experienced interest rates dropping on our retail loans,” he added.

Florida RV SuperShow, Tampa, Jan. 17-21

Jon Ferrando, co-founder, president and CEO of Blue Compass RV, told RVBusiness.com that the multi-location dealership company “had a great show in terms of sales” despite a slight decline in attendance due to cool, rainy weather a few days.

“We had near-record sales – just off the all-time record in COVID,” Ferrando said. “I would take that as a positive sign for 2024.”

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/early-show-sales-lender-cuts-giving-rv-dealers-optimism/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=early-show-sales-lender-cuts-giving-rv-dealers-optimism