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RV business outpaces hot U.S. market

John Seelmeyer

“It is,” says Tom Bordigioni, “a very good time to be in the RV business.” Good as the business may be nationally and it’s very good it’s even better in northern Nevada.

Nationally, RV sales during the first two months of this year were up by 11.7 percent.

Sales at Mountain Family RV are double those of a year ago, said Bordigioni, president of the dealership at the south edge of Reno.

Down the road at McKinnish Camper Corner in Carson City, Bob McKinnish said last week that continued strong trade-up business among his customers keeps his business perking.

And Burt Land, sales manager of Michael Hohl RV Center in Carson City, noted that the traditionally strong sales months of late spring and early summer are still ahead.

What’s driving the market? “The product is really different from five or 10 years ago,” said Phil Ingrassia, vice president of communications at the RV Dealers Association in Fairfax, Va.

“There’s a lot of neat products out there in all price ranges.”

Many higher-end RVs a group that includes fifth-wheel trailers as well as selfcontained motor homes now feature multiple slide-out rooms.

Those same RVs are likely to feature flashy home electronics systems.

“It’s not unusual to see plasma screens or flat-panel screens,” Ingrassia said.

“They’re ideal for RVs.”

All the new product comes as the Baby Boom generation comes into the prime age for buying RVs 40 to 65 years old.

Typically, Ingrassia said, younger buyers purchase a unit to be towed behind their car maybe a pop-up camper and work their way up the RV product line as they age.

That behavior is good news for McKinnish.With 25 years in the business, he has a large pool of customers who trade up regularly.

Although people in the RV business tend to pick their words carefully, there’s also little doubt that part of the industry’s growth is the result of unease about air travel after the Sept.

11 attacks.

“People were stimulated to get back to the basics,” said Bordigioni.

“Nothing is more basic that camping with your family.”

Low interest rates, meanwhile, help boost sales of upper-end RVs.

Typically, Ingrassia said, RVs priced over $10,000 involve some sort of financing.

That financing is all the more attractive, he said, because the interest paid on purchase of an RV is tax deductible.

So long as an RV has basic cooking, sleeping and toilet facilities, it’s considered a second home that qualifies for the deduction.



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