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RV Shipments Return to 2007 Levels

March 26, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Editor’s Note: The investment firm of Robert W. Baird & Co. issued a client newsletter this week following release of the February wholesale RV shipments by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Excerpts from the Baird newsletter follow.

February RV shipments up 6%. Wholesale shipments improved 6% in February, led by strong growth in motorhomes. Motorhome (Class A and C) shipments jumped 34% while towable (travel trailer and fifth-wheel) shipments increased 4% in February. The continued growth has pushed unit shipments of motorhomes and towables to their highest levels since prior to the recession. So far this year, Class A and C shipments are up 34%, while travel trailer and fifth-wheel shipments are up 15%.

Towable (TT and 5W) shipments up 4%. Towable shipments improved to the highest February level since 2007, increasing 4% in the main towable categories. Travel trailer shipments grew 5%, while fifth-wheel shipments increased 1% during the month. The pace of growth slowed from 31% in January 2013, mainly due to a more difficult comparison in February (+27% last year). So far in 2013, the main towable categories are up 15%, with travel trailer shipments up 18% and fifth-wheel shipments up 9%.

Motorhome (A and C) shipments grew 34%. Motorhome shipments improved to the highest February level since 2008, increasing 34%. Class A shipments grew 12% while Class C shipments jumped 53% during the month. Comparisons remain relatively easy through June, before becoming more difficult during the second half of the year. So far in 2013, motorhome shipments are up 34%, with Class A shipments up 25% and Class C shipments up 46%.

Thor. February marks the first month of Thor’s fiscal Q3. We stress that shipment data for specific manufacturers is not available, so comparing Thor estimate to industry data requires certain assumptions regarding market share and shipments for the remainder of the quarter. Nonetheless, we project Thor towable shipments will increase 10% in the April quarter, which is ahead of the 4% industry shipment pace for the first month of Thor’s quarter. We model Thor shipments up 50% versus the 34% industry pace.

Winnebago. February marks the final month of Winnebago’s fiscal Q2. Again, RVIA shipment data may differ from Winnebago data due to a number of factors. Still, we project Winnebago motorhome shipments will increase 45%, slightly ahead of the 36% industry pace (suggesting small share gains). Winnebago reports March 28. We model revenue of $182 million on 1,450 motorhome shipments, yielding EPS of $0.17. We project a 25% jump in motorhome retail volume and 16% increase in dealer inventory, along with a robust backlog as Winnebago struggles to keep pace with orders.

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