August '17

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Page 52 of 104

48 • RV PRO • August 2017 rv-pro.com T ruck Camper Magazine Pub- l i s h e r G o rd o n W h i t e i s a n unabashed champion for the truck camper market. So perhaps it's no surprise that he is an exasperated critic of the limited market data on truck camper shipments and sales, which White contends rep- resents a dramatic undercounting of the market's true strength. He's got a point, in that Statistical Sur- veys' sales data is based on retail data from just eight states that provide those num- bers, while the RV Industry Association's shipment numbers are based on data from just six OEMs – all RVIA members – but not the 17 other truck camper builders (see Figure 1 on page 49). In defense of RVIA and Stat Surveys, those organizations can't count data they can't put their hands on – meaning they are only as thorough as their sources allow them to be. If all truck camper builders were members of the trade asso- ciation, its monthly shipments figures would not be circumspect. And if all 50 states provided Stat Surveys with retail sales figures, the market research firm's data would be complete. President Tom Walworth has lobbied for years with states to participate in his monthly counting, but to little avail. Indiana was the last state to cooperate, and he tells RV PRO he sees no signs of any other state joining suit. So, what are the real numbers? When pressed, White concedes, "Nobody has accurate sales data for the truck camper industry. Individual man- ufacturers and dealers know they're up by a certain percentage year-over-year, but nobody has the complete picture." While no definitive market data exists, the information that is published by RVIA and Stat Surveys is incomplete and has "done damage for decades to our truck camper manufacturers, gear companies and dealers" by making the market seem smaller and less significant than it actually is, according to White, who with his wife, Angela, has been producing Truck Camper Magazine since 2007. For example, RVIA and Stat Surveys No Good Numbers for Truck Campers By Steve Bibler R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S

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