RV PRO

February '19

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DEALER TRENDS: 44 • RV PRO • February 2019 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S By Lisa Dicksteen As the new year begins in earnest, dealers' minds turn to pondering what the market holds with a view toward inventory and staffing levels. Recently, RV PRO spoke with dealers across the country about how their 2018 year went, what their expectations are for 2019 and what factors influenced those projections. Here's what they said. Dealers Generally Optimistic About 2019 Tony Porter, sales manager Topper's Camping Center Waller, TX "My expectations for 2019 are to have a marginal increase in both unit and dollar volume sales, as we did for 2018 versus 2017. We did plan for a bigger increase than we experienced, as did a lot of the dealers I spoke to at The Expo in September. "I think, overall, the economy is good, but there is some uncertainty due to the political rhetoric coming out of Washington. The bump-up in interest rates haven't had that much of a negative impact in themselves, but when you factor in the political climate and the talk of trade war with China (which would lead to increased tariffs), all of that together does make some consumers hold off on big ticket luxury purchases. "We bought heavier at the 2017 RV Expo to get ahead of expected price increases and prepare for what we thought would be a healthy sales year, only to come out with numbers just slightly ahead of 2017. We did not place many orders at this year's show, because we still have excess inventory from last year's buy. Again, I heard the same from many other dealers at RV Expo. "Hiring staff is not part of our plan at this time. Our focus is on getting current staff more training, including the service department. Any service techs who don't already have RVDA certifications will get them this year. Dealers interviewed by RV PRO are generally optimistic about 2019, although they say it may difficult to match the good year the industry had in 2018.

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