Motorhome rentals are increasing as economy staggers

Posted on 21 May 2008

Here are a couple of encouraging articles - looks like motor home rentals are on the increase as most industries in the USA are faltering:

/Travel PR News/ Motorhomes - April 23, 2008 - General Manager of iMall Brands Ltd Motorhome Rental Division Rohan Marx said despite the economic downturn in their key markets of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, bookings were up 70% of the same period on their Fetch Campervan Rental and Family Motorhome Rental websites.

There has been a big increase in domestic tourism, particularly in the US and Canada.

Also, inbound tourists are choosing the often cheaper option of renting a motorhome, over renting a car and staying in hotels.

At a time when many businesses in other sectors of the economy were cutting staff and spending, many RV and motorhome companies were adding vehicles to their fleets.

iMall have also noticed many RV sales firms in the United States moving to the renting pof RVs or increasing their number of existing RV's for rent. "We have been told by our partners that many US citizens are a bit cautious this year with the purchasing of privately owned RV's with the downturn in the property market and general nervousness surrounding the purchase of large ticket items. So RV sales companies have looked to their RV rental divisions to pick up the slack. We have quite a few new partners this year who are interested in utilising iMall's in-depth knowledge of on the rental of RVs and Motorhomes online to help build their rental divisions" said Mr Marx.

"The good news for these firms is there is a general increase in the number of people renting RV's in the United States this year. Somewhat ironically this is due in part to the weakening of the US dollar against other currencies, in particular the Euro. Europeans make up a large component of the total number of International inbound tourists who rent Motorhomes, so naturally a vacation in the United states in an RV is an attractive proposition for Europeans this year. We're only happy enough to help an economy in need."

iMall Brands Ltd Motorhome Rental Division includes such web sites such as rv-rental-usa.com, rvrentalcanada.ca, campervanhireaustralia.com.au, campervanhirenewzealand.co.nz and motorhomerental.de

Here is another article from Jsonline.com
RV industry may improve in '09
Many waiting for cost of borrowing to decrease to trade up
By RICK BARRETT
Posted: March 14, 2008

West Allis - Some dreams of buying motor homes and travel trailers have been dashed by declining home equity and nervousness about the economy, even as dealerships offer low prices to stimulate sales.
Wholesale shipments are expected to be down 13% for towable campers and 17% for motor homes this year, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

Nationwide, motor home sales are down roughly 40% from their peak in 2004.

"We expect the RV industry to worsen in 2008 before improving in 2009," said analyst Craig Kennison with Robert W. Baird & Co.

"The declines are severe, but not altogether surprising. Demand continues to suffer as consumer confidence deteriorates and the promise of lower borrowing costs so far fails to materialize," Kennison said.

Motor home and travel trailer sales are strongest early in an economic growth cycle when interest rates are low and consumer confidence is improving. Sales languish when the economy sputters.

Analysts said recent reductions in interest rates haven't been enough to jump start RV sales, which are important in Wisconsin's economy.

About 5,300 motor homes and travel trailers are sold a year in the state, with 20% of those sales made in the metropolitan Milwaukee area. Also, manufacturers such as Actuant Corp. of Glendale make components for the RV industry.

Nationwide, the industry is forecasting its fourth consecutive decline in unit shipments this year - the longest decline on record.

"A recovery in 2009 will depend on improved consumer confidence and lower borrowing costs, in our view," Kennison said.
Cut prices

Many consumers are waiting to trade in their recreational vehicle for a new model, hoping the cost of borrowing money edges down a little more. It's not unusual to have a 10-year loan for a travel trailer or motor home.

Some dealerships have cut prices to stimulate sales of the most expensive motor homes and travel trailers that cost them thousands of dollars in finance charges. Without too much difficulty, buyers should be able to get 20% off the manufacturers suggested retail price, said Mike Prosser, owner of Prosser RV and Cruise America Motor Home Rental & Sales in Milwaukee.

"But trade-ins can mess deals up," Prosser added.

Wisconsin motor home sales were down 11.5% in 2007, but towable-camper sales were down only 1.7%, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich., firm that gathers data on the RV industry.

With extreme cold weather in January and February, local sales got off to a slow start this year. Now, high gasoline and diesel fuel prices have become an issue for people who spend their weekends on the road.

"People tell us they're still going to use their RV a lot this year. They're just not going to travel as far from home," said Mark Green, owner of Hanna Trailer, an Oak Creek RV dealership that's part of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sport Show at Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park.

This year, more consumers are interested in smaller, lighter camper trailers. That's partly because of high fuel prices and cutbacks in personal spending.

"And you don't need a big vehicle to pull some of these units," Green said.
Prepared for a recession

This year, amenities are impressive on bigger, more expensive travel trailers and motor homes.

Some buyers are looking for fireplaces, his-and-her sinks, kitchen islands, granite countertops and full-size refrigerators. High-tech offerings include big, flat-panel TVs, bunk beds with individual DVD screens and headsets, iPod ports, satellite radio, and rooftop solar panels.

Even some of the less expensive travel trailers now come equipped with amenities typical of a suburban home.

"People want the large bed sizes, increased storage, things like larger picture windows," said Al Visintainer, general manager of Duchow's Boat Center, a Pewaukee RV dealership also at the Sport Show.

Some new motor homes are helping change the image of gas-guzzling motor coaches. Among them is a 24-foot Winnebago View that gets up to 18 miles per gallon. That compares with about 6 miles per gallon for a typical motor home.

Spurred by retiring baby boomers, and young families buying their first camper trailers, the long-term prospects for the RV industry are good.

Dealerships have prepared for a recession and have kept tight controls on inventories. They're anxious to make sales but aren't desperate, Kennison said.

"The good news is the RV industry tends to go early into a recession and comes out early. At some point these cyclical markets recover," Kennison said.

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