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RVs Up 10.5% In Sept., Up 9.1% For Year

RV manufacturers reported shipments to retailers of 24,869 units in September this year, which were 10.5% greater than the same month one year ago, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported.

This was the highest September total in seven years with gains recorded in all vehicle categories. Seasonally adjusted, shipments in September were at an annualized rate of more than 340,000 units. Year-to-date, total RV shipments have now climbed to 271,352 units through the first nine months of the year with towable RVs up 8% while motorhomes shipments were up 17.6% ahead of this month last year.

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Study: RVing Offers Cheaper Vacations

A newly published study shows that RV vacations cost substantially less than other forms of vacation travel, even when factoring in fuel prices and the cost of RV ownership. For a four-person travel party, the study found savings of 27-62%; a two-person travel party saved 11-48%.

The research was conducted by PKF Consulting USA, and commissioned by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the association said in an announcement. It updates previous vacation cost comparison studies done by PKF.

The PKF study provides a vacation cost analysis using two sets of hypothetical travel parties: A four-person travel party of two adults and two children, and a two-person travel party of two adults.

PKF analyzed major costs these hypothetical travelers would incur taking nine different types of vacations to nine popular vacation destinations. For each destination, researchers analyzed vacations lasting three, seven and 14 days.

The study compared different methods of travel, including a folding camping trailer, a lightweight travel trailer, a compact motorhome, a Class C motorhome and a Class A motorhome. The Class A motorhome was used for comparison vs. first-class travel options such as flying first class, renting a premium car, staying in upscale hotels/resorts, and eating meals in restaurants.

RV travel emerged as having a clear economic advantage over other forms of travel, regardless of the RV type. Below is what a four-person travel party could expect to save:

• Folding camping trailer – 47-62%

• Lightweight travel trailer – 34-53%

• Compact motorhome – 27-48%

• Class C motorhome – 28-48%

• Class A motorhome – 38%

A two-person travel party also saved, according to the analysis:

• Folding camping trailer – 38-48%

• Lightweight travel trailer – 23-36%

• Compact motorhome – 19-32%

• Class C motorhome – 15-28%

• Class A motorhome – 14%

As part of its analysis, PKF considered how fluctuating fuel prices might affect vacation costs. Their findings showed that fuel prices would have to reach more than $12 per gallon for a four-person travel party before RVing would begin to lose its economic advantage over other forms of travel. For a two-person travel party, fuel would have to reach $6 per gallon.

The study is available in RVIA’s Publications store for $35 for association members and $45 for non-members at this link.

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ARVC Promoting Letters To Help PMRVs

arvc_logo_ideas_cmykThe National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) announced it is urging private park owners across the country to join an online letter-writing campaign in support of legislation to protect the legal standing of park model RVs as recreational vehicles.

The legislation, HR 5658, was introduced after the Department of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a new regulatory interpretation memorandum that redefines park models with factory added porches as manufactured homes, effective April 1.

Jeff Sims

Jeff Sims

“We are mobilizing private park operators across the country to support HR 5658 because if park model RVs with factory built porches are no longer defined as recreational vehicles, local zoning officials could require them to be removed from campgrounds,” said Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations and program advocacy, adding, “The regulatory change could also make park models subject to local property taxes.”

ARVC told state campground association executives in a conference call this morning (Oct. 17) that an automated letter writing program has been developed that gives park operators the ability to send electronic letters in support of HR 5658 to their congressional representatives. ARVC and its state affiliates are emailing links to the letter this week so that they can participate in the campaign.

Last week, ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei co-signed a letter to HUD Secretary Julian Castro with Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President and CEO Richard Coon and Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia in which they urged Castro to withdraw HUD’s regulatory interpretation memorandum until Congress has a chance to amend HUD law to protect the current status of park models.

HR 5658 was introduced in September by Republican Reps. Marlin Stutzman and Jackie Walorski of Indiana and Republican Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. It would exempt park models of 400 square feet or less from the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, which forms part of the HUD code. It would also protect the legal status of park models that have been placed in campgrounds during the past two decades.

Park model RVs have previously been technically defined as recreational vehicles according to the HUD, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.5 standard and a majority of states’ laws. This makes park model RVs exempt from property taxes. But the descriptions of park model RVs in the HUD code are not as clear as they could be and not every state clearly defines park models as a type of RV.

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RVIA Calif. RV Show Kicks Off Tomorrow

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) announced that RVIA's 62nd Annual California RV Show kicks off tomorrow for a 10-day run from Oct. 10 – 19 at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.

This year's event will feature increased RV exhibit space and an impressive lineup of sports and entertainment celebrities to help draw consumers to the event.

The California RV Show will span 800,000 square feet of exhibit space, well over the 665,000 square feet at the 2013 event. More than 1,200 RVs will be on display, including 150 RVs available for test drives by interested consumers.

There will also offer a number of elements and enhancements to inform, entertain and engage attendees, including:

• Special guest appearances — An impressive lineup of celebrities has been arranged for the show, including former Dodger great Steve Garvey, who will open the event with a ceremonial first pitch on Oct. 10; former Dodger Ron Cey and former Angel Chuck Finley on Oct. 11; musician, RV enthusiast and reality TV star Bret Michaels on Oct. 18; and former Lakers star A.C. Green and former Padres star Randy Jones on Oct. 19.

• The Grand RV Campground Entrance — The main show entry point will once again be a mock RV campground that will cover 10,000 square feet of landscaped exhibit space and feature a wide array of RV products. The Grand RV Campground Entrance is designed to excite attendees about RV travel and camping before moving into the main exhibition areas.

• Informative seminars — A robust lineup of 65 seminars will be offered throughout the 10-day event to provide attendees with expert information on selecting, buying and using an RV from industry experts.

• RV sweepstakes — A 2015 Lance Camper Manufacturing ultralight travel trailer will be given away at the conclusion of the show.

For more show information about the California RV Show, visit www.TheBest RVShow.com, like the show on Facebook, or follow on Twitter at "California RV Show."

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ARVC Backs RVIA On Park Model RV Laws

arvc_logo_ideas_cmykThe National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) announced today (Oct. 9) it is supporting legislation sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) that would clarify the definition of a manufactured home to exclude park model RVs. It is also supported by the RV Dealers Association (RVDA).

The legislation, HR 5658, was introduced in September by Reps. Marlin Stutzman and Jackie Walorski (both R-Ind.) and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.). It would exempt park models of 400 square feet or less from the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, which forms part of the HUD code.

Park model RVs are technically defined as recreational vehicles according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.5 standard and a majority of states’ laws. This makes park model RVs exempt from property taxes. But the descriptions of park model RVs in the HUD code are not as clear as they could be and not every state clearly defines park models as a type of RV, according to ARVC.

As a result, ARVC and RVIA representatives said they spend a considerable amount of time on the phone each week with municipalities across the country that question whether park model RVs should be subject to property taxes. ARVC maintains that park model RVs should only be taxed as personal property.

Matt Wald

Matt Wald

HUD is also revisiting its interpretation of some of its enforcement positions with regarding to the line between RVs and manufactured housing, according to Matt Wald, RVIA’s executive director for park model RVs.

“It is RVIA’s position that RVs, built for recreational, seasonal and camping use, belong in campgrounds or other recreational areas while manufactured housing, built as permanent residences, belongs in housing communities,” Wald said.

While the distinction between park model RVs and manufactured housing is well understood by those with intimate knowledge of HUD law, the language of existing law is not clear enough for lenders, zoning and tax officials, who often try to tax park models as manufactured housing, Wald said.

“RV lenders are concerned that, given new banking regulations, they need more clarity as to where the line between RVs and manufactured housing is drawn if they are going to continue to make consumer loans for some types of RVs,” Wald said.

Wald told Woodall's Campground Management that the entire outdoor hospitality industry needs to stand together and urge members of Congress across the country to support the legislation to clarify definitions.

ARVC and RVIA are also collaborating in an effort to identify states where legislation can be developed specifically to exempt park models from property taxes. Such legislation became law in Utah last year, for example.

Jeff Sims

Jeff Sims

Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations and program advocacy, said he often provides park operators with talking points and code sections they can share with city officials to clarify their questions about park models. In others, Sims reaches out to city officials directly to inform them that park models are a type of RV.

Sometimes, however, private park operators bring problems on themselves when they fail to register their park models with their state’s department of motor vehicles. While they may think they are saving money by avoiding the DMV registration fee, the tactic can backfire on them later if local officials question whether their park model is indeed a type of vehicle and they do not have a DMV registration form to prove that it is.

Private park operators can also create problems for themselves and for the RV and outdoor hospitality industries in general if they allow people to live in park model RVs on a permanent basis, according to ARVC. Park model RVs are designed and legally permitted for seasonal or part-time use.

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RV Shipments Up 5.8% in August, 9% YTD

August wholesale shipments to retailers continued to cruise along, rising 5.8% above this same month last year to 26,441 units, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). As with recent months, towable RVs reflected the largest unit gains while motorhomes grew by the largest percentage gain. Motorhomes represented 15% of all shipments in the month of August this year, the highest percentage of motorhome shipments in any single month since December of 2007.

Year-to-date RV shipments through August reached 246,483 units. All RV product categories except folding camping trailers and truck campers have improved this year, with conventional travel trailers growing by the most units while Class B motorhomes have grown by the largest percentage gain.

RV Shipments

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The Wedge Will Be At Pomona RV Show

The WedgeThe unique Wedge Cabin designed by Cal Poly Pomona architecture students and built by Cavco Industries will be on display at 62nd Annual California RV Show, starting Oct. 10 at the Fairplex in Pomona.

The most prominent feature of the Wedge, which provides a glimpse of the future of camping and was on display at the California State Fair, is that its attention-getting 4:12 pitch is also reflected on the porch, which accentuates the drama of the point, and provides for changing perspective views.

According to Cal Poly, the school’s architecture graduate students were asked to design cabins as part of the work by the state Parks Forward initiative that would generate interest in the state park system and appeal to groups that don’t typically go camping, such as millennials and minorities.

Architecture students were given the opportunity in the fallout of the 2011 state budget crisis in which 70 parks were targeted to be shuttered. Although the closures did not occur, the independent Parks Forward commission was created to come up with proposals to address financial, operational and cultural issues facing the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The panel especially wanted to re-create the look of a traditional cabin to jumpstart interest in camping.

Parks Forward members said at least one of the students’ designs will be located in a state park by 2015, but the hope is that the designs will be so well received that they will be mass-produced and located throughout the more than 280 state parks.

The Wedge incorporates wood and glass for a more modern look, can fit one full-sized bed and a twin-sized bunk bed, and also has plenty of seating. The cabin offers a 60-square-foot porch where occupants can get some shade on a sunny day. The cabin also meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Cavco is a leading designer and builder of systems-built structures including manufactured homes, modular homes, commercial buildings, park model homes, and vacation cabins.

The 10-day event will feature more than 1,200 RVs, 35 manufacturers, and 15 dealers, plus six celebrities, food and educational seminars, including the informative RV factory showcase. The show provides a free trolley and also offers mobility scooters, wheelchairs and kids wagons for rent at the entrance.

The show runs Oct. 10-19. Information is available at http://www.thebestrvshow.com or (818) 248-6600.

The show is produced by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the national trade association representing recreation vehicle (RV) manufacturers and their component parts suppliers who together build more than 98% of all RVs produced in the United States. The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) is also participating with a campground display.

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ARVC, RVIA Work Together On Park Models

RVIA logoThe National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) are working together to try to educate municipalities across the U.S about the property-tax-exempt status of park model RVs, according to an announcement from ARVC.

The two organizations are also collaborating in an effort to identify states where legislation can be developed specifically to exempt park models from property taxes. Such legislation became law in Utah last year, for example.

                                  “I personally talk to Jeff Sims of ARVC nearly every week,” said Matt Wald, RVIA’s executive director for park model RVs, adding that Dianne Farrell, RVIA’s vice president of government affairs, is also in regular communication with Sims on park-model and other campground issues.

Park models are technically defined as recreational vehicles according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.5 standard and a majority of states’ laws. This makes them exempt from property taxes. But the descriptions of park model RVs in the HUD code are not as clear as they could be and not every state clearly defines park models as a type of RV.

As a result, more often than not, local officials have no idea what park models are and usually think they are a form of manufacturing housing, which is not correct.

As a result, Sims and Wald spend a considerable amount of time on the phone each week with municipalities across the country that question whether park models should be subject to property taxes. ARVC maintains that park models should only be taxed as personal property.

In some cases, Sims said he provides park operators with talking points and code sections they can share with city officials to clarify their questions about park models. In others, Sims reaches out to city officials directly to inform them that park models are a type of RV.

Sometimes, however, private park operators bring problems on themselves when they fail to register their park models with their state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV). While they may think they are saving money by avoiding the DMV registration fee, the tactic can backfire on them later if local officials question whether their park model is indeed a type of vehicle and they do not have a DMV registration form to prove that it is.

Private park operators can also create problems for themselves and for the RV and outdoor hospitality industries in general if they allow people to live in park models on a permanent basis.

ARVC and RVIA support the use of park models as seasonal dwellings consistent with recreational vehicles. But when park models are used as permanent housing instead of recreational purposes, it can often raise flags for local taxing authorities who are more likely to want to tax these units as a permanent dwelling rather than an RV.

To help clear up this confusion, RVIA has spent the past eight years trying to persuade Congress to clarify the HUD code to more clearly define park models as a type of RV. But while the Manufactured Housing Institute has supported RVIA’s efforts, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform has opposed changes to the HUD code to clarify that park models are, in fact, recreational vehicles.

Wald said RVIA is undeterred and will continue its efforts to clarify the language in the HUD code involving park model RVs so that the HUD law makes it perfectly clear to local zoning and tax officials that park models are indeed a type of RV, not housing, and should be treated as such. Several campgrounds and state campground associations have already helped advance this effort by contacting their senators and representatives, and more support from the campground industry will be required in the coming year to get the HUD law changed.

By clarifying both the HUD law and state laws regarding park models, the industry groups hope to eliminate the need to constantly explain what park models are and defend their use in private campgrounds.

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RVs Up Nearly 10% In First Half Of 2014

Total wholesale shipments of all RVs in June this year were reported at 32,809 units, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) survey of manufacturers, an increase of 6.2% compared to this same month one year earlier.

Towable RVs increased 6.5% on shipments of 29,184 units while motorhome shipments were ahead by 3.7% on 3,625 units shipped to dealers in the month of June.  Seasonally adjusted, June’s total represented an annualized rate of nearly 325,000 units, slightly less than the previous month.

Through the first six months this year shipments of all RVs have now risen to 192,065 units, ahead of last year’s performance by 9.8% and at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of more than 350,000 units.  Through June, towable RVs accounted for 87.8% of all RVs shipped while motorhomes represented 12.2%.

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RVIA Officially Promoting Park Model RVs

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Board of Directors voted unanimously to continue representing park model RV manufacturers as members of the association during their meeting on June 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C., according to information from RVIA.

In the spring of 2012, RVIA and the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) reached an agreement allowing park model manufacturers to join RVIA as members for a two-year trial period.

RPTIA mothballed their association during that time with RVIA representing the park model industry on a wide range of issues under the guidance of a dedicated staff person, Matt Wald, RVIA's park model RV executive director.

Upon the successful completion of the trial period this year, RVIA's board unanimously supported the continued representation of park model RV manufacturers by the association.

The move means RVIA will continue to work on making sure government entities at all levels recognize that the park models many campgrounds use as rental units are recreational vehicles rather than permanent structures.

RVIA leaders attended last year’s meeting of the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) and have been working with campground-franchise giant Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) on issues of interest to the RV and campground industries, issues like extended-stay campers, Wald told Woodall’s Campground Management.

During RVIA’s committee week in D.C., the board also agreed with the park model committee’s plan to work with The Richards Group on a seasonal camping branding project to identify key message points to use in marketing efforts to promote seasonal camping.

In addition, RVIA’s board a five-day spring RVIA retail show at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., with the exact dates to be determined. The fall RVIA show at the same venue is a major show, and RVIA works with the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (CalARVC) to promote campgrounds as well as RVs at the fall show.

The association agreed to increase the advertising budget for the California RV Show by $25,000 to fund advertising in San Diego and advertising targeted to Hispanic audiences.

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