RV shipments slipped in November, the fourth consecutive month of down shipments as compared to last year. At the same time, sales remained above 2017 numbers. Staff photo by Michael Caterina
RV shipments slipped in November, the fourth consecutive month of down shipments as compared to last year. At the same time, sales remained above 2017 numbers. Staff photo by Michael Caterina

After running at break-neck speed for the past several years, it appears the RV industry is tapping its brakes.

For the fourth consecutive month, shipments from factories dropped compared to the same month a year prior, declining 20.3 percent in November, according to the latest figures released by the RV Industry Association.

But at the same time, Grand Rapids-based Statistical Surveys reported that sales of most models remained somewhat ahead of last year’s blistering pace through October, suggesting that dealers might simply have been clearing out excess inventory over the past few months. 

The adjustment was “a necessary evil,” said Seth Woolf, a research analyst who studies the industry for Cleveland-based Northcoast Research.

“Inventory was way out of whack,” Woolf said, predicting that lower shipment numbers could continue through the first four months of 2019.

But Woolf pointed out that the November shipment numbers were down less than the RV Industry Association predicted in its fourth quarter forecast.

Dave Titus, owner of International RV Wholesalers in Elkhart, said he was among the dealers who was a bit over-exuberant on orders, especially at the front end of 2018, but sales of RVs were still up for the year.

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