Sales of motor homes rose for the ninth straight month in November.
That contributed to an overall sales increase for all recreational vehicles, including towables. The industry climbed 15.8 percent over November 1997 levels.
The numbers show the RV industry has come back from an early 1998 slump and is nearly on a par with 1997's 11-month totals.
Motor home deliveries rose 9.5 percent. That was the smallest gain of the last nine months.
Within the segment, Class C motor homes had the biggest increase. November's 1,200 sales were 50 percent higher than their year-ago mark.
Class A motor homes posted modest gains. November deliveries rose 3.2 percent to 3,200.
Deliveries of Class B motor homes dropped 33.3 percent to 200.
Conversion vehicles, meanwhile, posted their first year-to-year gain since September 1996. Sales climbed 3.4 percent over the November 1997 totals.
Deliveries of conversion vans also stopped a long skid in November. Sales remained flat at 7,500 units. It was the first month since April 1997 in which sales did not drop.
Sales of sport-utility conversions rose 11.1 percent, and sales of pickup conversions gained 9.4 percent.
Despite the November increase, the entire conversion market is still down 21.3 percent for the year.
According to Todd Bucholz, an independent analyst who presented his views at the 1998 Recreational Vehicle Industry Association's convention in Louisville, Ky., last month, RV sales will continue growing throughout 1999. The United States puts 'a financial umbrella over the Western Hemisphere,' he said. Despite recession conditions in Asia, South America and much of Eastern Europe, the U.S. economy will continue to grow.
For the RV industry, a robust economy translates into another year of increased sales. Bucholz said low gas prices, low interest rates and a rising level of affluence among baby boomers combine to paint a rosy picture for makers.