Sliding RV sales could presage recession

November 27, 2007

Shipments of recreational vehicles are on track this year to fall for the first time since 2001, when the last recession ended, and the downturn is prompting experts to wonder if another recession could be on the way, according to Bloomberg.

Recessions in the early 1980s, early 1990s and 2001 each were preceded by two years of declining RV sales.

Elkhart has one of the nation's greatest concentrations of recreational vehicle manufacturing. Coachmen Industries Inc., one of the largest RV companies headquartered in the northern Indiana city, has seen its stock fall by nearly half this year.

RV shipments likely will decline 10 percent this year, an industry spokesman told Bloomberg. And the University of Michigan predicts a 4.8-percent decline in sales next year.

Driving the slowdown are weakening consumer sentiment and higher fuel prices.

However, industry executives are optimistic about their long-term prospects. Baby-boomers eventually will snap up RVs as they age into the prime buying age of 50-plus, they say.

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