RV Official: Sequester Won't Harm RV Industry

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March 4, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Consumers, such as these at the Florida RV SuperShow in January, will take the federal government sequester in stride, says an RV official in Indiana.

The name of the game in the world of recreational vehicle sales is consumer confidence.

Things appear to be heading consistently in the right direction there, based on the latest numbers from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune reported.

January numbers — 24,379 shipments — are up by 30.5% over January of 2012. And that comes on the heels of a 2012 that saw each and every month beat the corresponding month in 2011 when it comes to shipments.

In fact, 2012 RV shipments were up 13.2% over 2011, totaling 285,749. And 2011 was 4.1% higher than 2010.

Mark Bowersox, the executive director of the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC), was pleased with the January shipment news while also offering a unique perspective on the sequester and how it could affect consumer confidence and spending.

Bowersox thinks the sequester that's poised to cut $85 billion in federal spending from March through September and with it thousands of government jobs might have very little effect.

"I think on March 2 the sun is still going to rise," Bowersox said last week. "The interesting thing to me over the last couple years as the country has grown out of this recession is the fact that the American public seems to be getting more and more comfortable with the idea that they're not going to be totally comfortable anymore.

"It used to be any little blip in the stock market, fuel prices or unemployment numbers … or whatever, it would have people stop and tighten the screws a little bit and wait until everything settled down.

"Those kinds of things that would have gotten an emotional reaction are more easily accepted these days."

Such economic events seem to have very little impact on people's day-to-day lives now, he said.

"I think for our business, that's certainly a good thing, and maybe a good thing overall," he added.

If the numbers keep rising in the RV business, it's certainly a very good thing for northern Indiana where more than 82% of all the RVs made in North America are made.

The industry employs 24,000 people in northern Indiana in both the manufacturing and supply sector.

Bowersox, naturally, does have some concerns about the sequester, especially after just returning from three days in Washington, D.C.

He believes its potential effect may be overhyped, and it could affect things.

"At the end of the day, we are still in the consumer confidence business, that's what it gets to," he said. "When the government is coming out saying, 'that's going to shut down, this is going to shut down. Or the world will cease to exist as we know it. …'

"Again," Bowersox said, "it could give people some pause on making a long-term commitment."

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