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RV Dealers Moving Forward This Year

By Sally Maison
Published: Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Many dealers of recreational vehicles (RVs) were forced by the recession to file for bankruptcy. Those who survived had to lay off a huge number of their workforce. Additionally, they were forced to require higher credit ratings from customers. However, many manufacturers are hopeful that their industry would take a U-turn in 2010. RV dealers are seeing a brighter horizon as they edge nearer to full recovery with a perceived double-digit increase in sales this year.

IS4078RF-00015392-001When recession weighed heavily on the American economy, it has also caused the sales of recreational vehicles to drop. RV dealers estimate that they have lost about 40 percent in sales from 2006 to 2009. Not only did they lose a lot of money, they also saw many of their comrades shut their shop down. An industry group reports that it has lost around 6 percent of its members while those who did survive had to deal with unsold stocks.

Cavalier Coach RV, Inc., one of the best known RV dealers in the United States, was forced by recession to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy August of 2008. Fleetwood and Monaco were also unable to withstand the effects of the Great Recession as they both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2009.

RV enthusiasts also felt the effect of recession as dealers refuse to give them a loan for a $12,000 trailer even if they have credit scores of 630. Dealer Randy Giacola says such scores would have sufficed a year ago.

However, dealers have very good reasons to believe that things will turn around this year. Pittsburgh’s RV Show, one of the first in 2010, has seen massive attendance from the public. The show started yesterday and will run until Jan. 17 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Dealers believe that the show in Pittsburgh is a sign of an imminent recovery for the RV industry.

The industry was probably at its bottom this time of the year in 2009, recalls Rob Young, promoter of the Pittsburgh RV show.

The country’s economic downfall forced people to keep whatever extra income they had, if they had any. Those who still wanted to buy recreational vehicles had a tough time doing so since banks refused to give out loans for more expensive motor homes. Those who did succeed had to present bigger down payments and top-tier credit scores. Enthusiasts who already had RVs chose to deal with their old ones instead of buying new and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Phil Ingrassia, spokesperson for an industry group, says things are looking better as shipments continue to improve. Wholesale units are expected to see a 27 percent increase this year.

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