It may be a perfect storm of sorts – a growing economy and the fact that more baby boomers are retiring and heading for the great outdoors – but the net result is a resurgence in recreational vehicle sales of all kinds.
From towable campers to motor homes, fishing boats to pontoons, jet skis to snowmobiles, the recreational vehicle industry did very well last year. Even some vehicles not normally tied to the RV industry, like pickup trucks and motorcycles, saw increased sales.
Tom Walworth, President of Statistical Surveys in Grand Rapids, Michigan told Bloomberg that the total for all new RV units sold in 2013 rose 11 percent from the preceding year and that sales could top 335,000 in 2014, the highest sales figures in six years.
Walworth said, “All things are a go for the RV industry again.”
In addition, because sales of new RVs have been depressed for the past several years, there’s a shortage of late-model used vehicles and trailers on dealer lots. As a result, says Winnebago CEO, Randy Potts, many buyers have been seeking out less-expensive new options.
Most companies have been working to increase selection among lower-priced models. For companies like Winnebago that means more choices in the Minnie Winnie and Sunstar lines.
CNNMoney pointed to some additional segments of the RV economy that have benefited as well.
One area is male leisure, including snowmobiles, jet skis, motorcycles, dirt bikes and other manly vehicles, including pickup trucks. All this is good news for Ford, General Motors, and Harley-Davidson to name a few.
Another company poised to benefit is Polaris, which specializes in dirt bikes, snowmobiles and other small vehicles.
On the water, a projected increase of five to seven percent in sales spells good news for companies like Malibu Boats (NASDAQ: MBUU), while outdoor specialists such as Dick’s and Cabela’s could see a bump as well.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
Read more: http://www.benzinga.com/news/14/03/4374090/as-baby-boomers-settle-down-rvs-see-a-comeback#ixzz2vJg4Mjdt
Michiana Boat & Sports Show
The Michiana Boat & Sports Show at the Century Center in South Bend in January reflected renewed interest in boating. Boats from several dealers were on display.(SBT File Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)
Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014 7:04 am | Updated: 9:56 am, Sun Feb 23, 2014.
- Posted on Feb 23, 2014by Jim Meenan
Rusty Collins of Eagle Lake Marine in Edwardsburg can’t wait for the lake to start thawing.
“Once the snow starts to melt, people are going to start to get the itch,” he said. And it’s going to get busy in a hurry, he believes.
Eagle Lake Marine saw a lot of activity at the Michiana Boat & Sports Show at the Century Center in South Bend the first weekend in February.
Interest is definitely up. Eagle Lake Marine has even added an 11th staffer.
“You can really tell that stuff has turned around,” said Collins, a technician/salesman, who started at the business four years ago. “We actually decided to pick up another employee this year to give us some more help because it’s picking up.”
New powerboat sales are expected to increase 5 to 7 percent, according to the Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association.
An even bigger example is what’s going on at Nautic Global Group in Elkhart and Syracuse. The company is adding 70 people right now just to keep up with the demand of its five boat brands. And several hundred already work at its three facilities.
“We are currently expanding production across our five boat brands — Hurricane, Rinker, Godfrey Pontoons, Polar Kraft and Parti Kraft — and that has led to the need to hire 70 new positions for our Elkhart and Syracuse facilities,” said Doug Sexton senior vice president of sales and marketing for Nautic Global Group.
“These are exciting times for Nautic Global Group, and as the demand for our products increase, we will continue to rely heavily on the strong work force found throughout Michiana.”
Locally, the big winner in recent years and this year is expected to be pontoon boats.
Over the last couple of years, Bennington, also a maker of pontoon boats in Elkhart, has seen more than 20 percent growth, said Jake Vogel, Bennington president.
“That growth is slowing but we are still looking at double-digit growth this year,” he said, estimating it to be 10 percent.
The pontoon segment has grown within the recreational marine industry over the last 10 to 15 years, Vogel said. “That’s because of the versatility of the product and the value that it offers.”
It’s also reflected in the growth of his company, which has gone from 86 employees five years ago to about 380 people now.
“Bennington has helped drive this trend where we made better-performing and stylish pontoon boats, so that people, instead of having a pontoon for putzing around and a ski boat for water sports, they can have a pontoon that does both of those things,” Vogel said. “So there’s been a shift that’s occurred over many years.
Bennington has doubled its market share over the last five years, he said. “That’s largely because we’ve revamped our product and offered new product that we hadn’t before and it’s been appealing to the consumer.”
Andy Peterson, co-owner of Starboard Choice Marine in Mishawaka, also came out of the boat show at the Century Center upbeat.
“We did pretty well, actually,” he said, in spite of the snowy Saturday that weekend. The season is starting out strong, he said. “We got quite a few sales.”
Starboard Choice sells mainly pontoon and fishing boats.
“Pontoon boats are No. 1 right now, and the aluminum fishing boats side is growing also,” Peterson said.
Steve Wyland was not at the Century Center show. Wyland’s Marine, located in Mishawaka and Elkhart, did have boats on display at the Progressive Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show in January, though. Attendance was down there, but Wyland did well. A show in Milwaukee that same weekend might have been a factor, he said.
He says the industry is still not where it was before the recession, but is coming back, especially name brands such as Cobalt, Bennington and Chaparral.
What he noticed this year is people telling him they had bought a lake house in Michigan or Indiana and needed boats. “I did not hear that for years,” he said.
His dealership has a total of 650 boats, and is essentially open year-round.
As in the recreational vehicle world, consumer confidence plays a role.
“Part of it’s the economy is healthy,” Vogel said. “We’re discretionary consumer spending so if people weren’t feeling confident about their jobs and their incomes, they wouldn’t be buying as many boats.”
“I think people are accepting what the economy is doing and are going to still have fun and use boats and RVs and things like that,” Peterson said. “They are not going to wait for the economy to make a decision one way or the other.”
Collins agrees. People are not hesitating anymore, he said.
“People are not as scared anymore,” he said. “I think they know that they are not going to get much worse right now, so people have adjusted.
“People are always going to recreate,” he added. “It doesn’t matter if you make $25,000 a year or $125,000 a year, there’s a boat or an RV that you can use, that you can recreate with your family.”
And he adds, there’s a segment of the population that they serve, too, that is simply not affected by the economy one way or the other.
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There has never been a better time for Canadians looking to purchase a new or used RV in the United States. With the current exchange rate and our every day volume discount pricing, Canadian customers will find value and savings at Ballantyne RV & Marine. We have experience and are comfortable with the process. As the Canadian and U.S. dollar exchange rate has become closer to parallel, many more customers make the quick and easy trip from Canada to Rochester, NY to purchase new and used RVs. Ballantyne RV & Marine understands the paperwork and the process needed to ensure that our customers have a pleasant and simple border crossing experience. The process to import an RV is straightforward. And we supply you with all the necessary paper work needed for the border office.
This paperwork consists of the following:
PURCHASE ORDER – showing the vehicle identification number and the agreed-to purchase price. This needs to be a signed original as the Canada border agent will calculate the goods and services tax from the paid amount on the purchase order.
RECALL CLEARANCE LETTER – Printed on the manufacturer’s letter head and must show the VIN number of the vehicle being purchased. Can be a faxed copy.
TITLE or MSO – the title or MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin or factory title before it is turned into a customers ownership title) needs to be assigned to the purchaser by the dealership. You will need this document as it is the only document that transfers ownership to the customer.
With these three documents you can take your new purchase home. At the border, stop on the U.S. side first to be sure the U.S. border agent needs nothing. Stop at the Canada border agent office. They will want to see the paperwork given to you at the time of purchase by Ballantyne RV & Marine. They then inspect the trailer verifying that the serial number matches, have you fill out an import form and will collect the goods and services tax and the Canada RIV fee. (A credit card can be used for the tax and fees.
Because we are transferring title to the customer and as a dealership doing business in the United States, we have no recourse to recover a vehicle once it has passed over the border. We require that the vehicle is paid in full before it leaves our dealership. We request that a wire transfer of funds be completed in the amount of the agreed to purchase price. This assures our lenders that the vehicle was paid for before it leaves our possession. Typically a wire transfer of funds can take up to three business days.
Other facts to note when importing an RV into Canada. Many websites state that there is a 72 Hour wait period before you reach the border with a vehicle. This is only true if the vehicle is a motorized vehicle such as a car, truck, motor home, ATV etc.
A non-motorized vehicle such as a travel trailer, fifth wheel, camping trailer or truck camper has no 72 hour waiting period to cross the border. You can purchase a travel trailer and travel directly to the border with no wait period. You will be required to furnish your passports before entering the United States. If you do not already have a passport, it’s a good idea to obtain one for travelling to other countries. It can take time to receive your passport – up to 12 weeks, so plan ahead.