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Survey: Industry Optimism Spikes in 2015

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Optimism among dealers and other industry participants in the outlook for the RV industry continued to increase from prior years, according to annual survey results conducted at the National Trade Show (Dec. 1-3) in Louisville, Ky. by GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance.

GE Capital CDF, which is pending acquisition by Wells Fargo, reported that almost half (48 percent) of survey respondents said they expect sales to rise five to 10 percent next year, up from 41 percent who foresaw that rise in sales twelve months ago. Additionally, 31 percent of respondents expected RV sales to grow more than 10 percent.

“The state of the RV industry is strong. Vehicle sales are at near record levels and are expected to increase in 2016,” CDF’s RV Group President Tim Hyland said in the news release. “We’re excited to watch this trend continue and are prepared to do everything we can to support our RV industry customers as they innovate and grow.”

For the fourth year in a row, survey respondents voted travel trailers as the most popular type of RV (with 44 percent of the vote). This was followed by motorhomes (34 percent), fifth-wheel trailers (18 percent), and folding camp trailers (4 percent).

When asked about business impact in the year ahead, the majority of survey respondents were most optimistic about consumer demand (57 percent). Conversely, the top concern for respondents was product affordability (34 percent). While the RV industry was optimistic a year ago about the availability and stability of wholesale financing options, almost a third (31 percent) listed it as a concern for 2016.

“Following the first rise in interest rates since the financial crisis, it’s understandable why RV industry executives are concerned about the stability of financing in 2016,” Hyland said. “However, the current environment is very beneficial for borrowing while investment yields still remain low and sales projections for 2016 at around 375,000 units, it’s easy to see why there is optimism around consumer demand.”

The RV industry survey of 61 respondents was conducted Dec. 1-3 during the annual Recreational Vehicle Industry Association tradeshow in Louisville, KY. Seventy-five percent of the respondents were dealers, 4 percent were manufacturers and 21 percent were other industry participants.

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