RV PRO

December '17

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R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S I t seems as if Class A motorhomes were stuck in the slow lane this year as most other product segments raced by. In the RV industry's record-setting year, Class A wholesale shipments and retail sales were flat heading into the last quarter of the year, according to data from the RV Industry Association and Statistical Surveys. RV manufacturers tell RV PRO that consumers' interest in smaller motorhomes may explain the waning interest in Class A's and the corresponding surge in Class C's, whose retail sales were up 23.7 percent through August. Nevertheless, the Class A market remains highly competitive, with OEMs building and dealers selling 88 different brands in 2017, according to Stat Surveys. Thor Industries maintains a clear leadership position in the Class A market (see Figure 1 on page 11), but in the battle for supremacy, competitors have waged a fierce battle for the top spot in recent years (see Figures 2A, 2B and 2C on page 12). In fact, Tiffin Motorhome's diesel-powered Allegro has cap- tured the No. 1 spot in Class A retail sales five of the past seven years and was the leader heading into this fall, according to Stat Surveys. Thor Motor Coach's A.C.E. captured the top spot in 2015, has been runner-up three times since the brand's incep- tion in 2012 and was No. 2 again heading into this fall (see Figure 3 on page 16). So, even in a flat market, the segment remains dynamic. On the wholesale side, RVIA forecaster Richard Curtin is forecasting Class A shipments will end 2017 at 23,500, or about 3.6 percent above 2016's tally. He's projecting ship- ments to reach 24,100 in 2018, or about 2.5 percent above his 2017 forecast. Remember When Diesel Was King? One of the biggest changes since the Great Recession has been the fuel of choice for Class A motorhomes. Stepping on the Gas 10 • RV PRO • December 2017 rv-pro.com PHOTOS COURTESY OF THOR MOTOR COACH AND COACHMEN Coming out of the Great Recession, gas-powered Class A motorhomes overtook their diesel-powered brethren. Industry pros don't expect that dynamic to change anytime soon. By Steve Bibler

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