Recreational vehicle sales boomed again in December, thanks largely to a surge in purchases of travel trailers and conversion vehicles. But for all of 1998, the overall market ended up just 0.6 percent ahead of 1997.
The RV market, including towables, motor homes and conversions, ended 1998 with 441,310 units sold, compared to 438,800 in 1997. December's sales total of 30,700 eclipsed the year-earlier month by 14.1 percent, augmenting a 15 percent gain posted in November.
Motor homes posted their best December since 1984, with 4,900 sold, a jump of 16.7 percent over the year-ago month. Total 1998 motor home sales came in at 63,500, up 15.5 percent over 1997.
December sales of Class A motor homes were 3,700 in December, up 19.4 percent from December 1997. For the year, the Class A category logged 42,900 sales, 14.1 percent ahead of 1997. Class C sales were 1,000 in December, up 25 percent. The full-year total was 17,000, also up 25 percent.
Sales of Class B campers declined 33.3 percent, to 200, in December. For the year, sales dipped 5.3 percent, to 3,600.
Conversion vehicles put the drag on the 1998 RV market, but December brought an upturn. December's 11,700 sales were 13.6 percent ahead of December 1997.
But the year-end surge was not enough to counter a year of sagging sales. Total 1998 conversion sales declined 19.4 percent, to 148,600.