Decelerating RV sales indicate economy is running out of gas

Sales of RVs are slumping… a classic indicator that a recession is coming.


August 27, 2019

NASDAQ? Who dat? More importantly… Sales of RVs are slowing, which many economists insist means it’s time to buckle up for an economic downturn. 

Just call it the RV Ripple

To understand the RV industry, keep your eye on Elkhart County, Indiana, which produces more RVs than anywhere else in the US of A.

Currently, manufacturers are tightening production as a response to deep dips — 20% so far this year — in wholesale RV shipments.

Because RV dealers don’t want to get stuck with expensive inventory — a deluxe motorhome can go for more than $200k — they cut orders as soon as they see demand softening. And because people who are finicky about their finances avoid big-ticket purchases, it’s easy to see how RV sales became a barometer of consumer confidence. 

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Not convinced? RV sale declines preceded the last three recessions.

But wait! There’s more to this story

Tariffs on China, Mexico and Canada have increased the cost of building RVs… sometimes in surprising ways. 

Rising costs for steel and aluminum are widely reported. Less so? The rising cost of those little toilet-seat covers that go in RV bathrooms (yeah you’ll have to pop a squat outside).

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