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RESTON, Va. recreational vehicle sales, January 5, 2005 – Factory-to-dealer deliveries (RVs) Recreational vehicle sales surged by double digits in 2004, reaching their highest level since 1978. Strong Sales are expected to continue during the decade ahead.

Consumers purchased RVs at a record pace last year, despite record-high gasoline prices. University of Michigan researcher Dr. Richard Curtin, who produces quarterly forecasts for the RV industry, announced that 2004 will set a new quarter-century record of 370,100 Recreational vehicle shipments, shattering 1999’s peak of 321,200. This represents an almost 14 percent gain over the 320,800 units shipped in 2003.

Reflecting the hot Recreational vehicle sales demand, online auction website eBay reported that “RV” was the most popular search term in 2004 among its 125 million users. As a barometer of societal trends, eBay’s search rankings show the growing preference for comfortable leisure travel among families and retirees, observers say.

“There are many factors behind the surge in Recreational Vehicle sales. Among them are the rising popularity of driving vacations, a favorable economic climate, product innovation and demographics,” explained Recreation Vehicle sales Industry Association (RVIA) President David Humphreys. “Families want to spend quality time together and prefer the greater freedom, flexibility, control and comfort RVs provide. Younger consumers and empty-nesters are both driving up sales—realizing the advantages of RVing over other forms of travel.”

“Recreational vehicles sales shipments during the decade ahead are expected to be very strong given the growing preference among consumers for the RV lifestyle as well as record increases in the number of consumers now entering the prime age range that purchases new RVs,” explained Curtin, director, surveys of consumers, University of Michigan Survey Research Center. Economic factors in the RV industry’s favor are increases in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), personal disposable income and personal consumption, according to Curtin, who also authors the closely watched monthly Index of Consumer Sentiment.

“Consumers are finding that RVs offer an attractive mix of freedom, comfort and control,” said Humphreys. “Today’s RVs come equipped with all the comforts of home,” he added, such as state-of-the-art entertainment systems, designer interiors, gourmet kitchens, satellite and plasma TVs, and living rooms and bedrooms that slide out at the push of a button to create extra space.

Recreational vehicle sales shipments in the third quarter of 2004 totaled 93,300 units, the highest third-quarter shipments total in 26 years. Third quarter 2004 shipments were 12.8 percent higher than a year prior, slightly ahead of the 10.3 percent growth that was forecasted. Final year-end 2004 figures are being collected by RVIA for release in February 2005.

The RV industry’s optimism was evident at RVIA’s National RV Trade Show last month in Louisville, Ky., which posted its highest attendance ever, paving the way for continued strength in 2005. The show also set records for dealer attendance and exhibit space.

Long-term trends point to substantial RV market growth because of favorable demographics and lifestyle trends. As baby boomers approach retirement age, the number of Recreational vehicle - owning households is projected to rise 15 percent between 2001-2010, outpacing overall U.S. household growth of 10 percent, according to a University of Michigan study.

The University of Michigan study found the number of Recreational vehicles owned by those 35 to 54 grew faster than all other age groups, bolstered by an industry advertising campaign aimed at the coveted baby boom generation. The Go RVing Coalition's national advertising campaign of print, television, radio and Internet ads is targeting adults age 30-64. The industry will spend approximately $50 million on the current three-year phase of this market expansion effort.

RVIA ( is the national association representing more than 550 manufacturers and component suppliers producing approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States .

Request the RV Indicators:

Members of the media may receive a complimentary copy. The latest RV Business Indicators contain market data and trends compiled by RVIA. Contact Jim Lubinskas (703) 620-6003, ext. 347,; or Ken Sommer , ext. 304,

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