Recreation vehicle shipments to retailers during 1999, excluding conversion vans, were the highest in 21 years.
A robust economy, low inflation and high employment helped drive shipments of recreation vehicles to 321,200 units, a 9.7 percent increase over 1998 and the most deliveries in a year since 1978.
Shipments to retailers were strong in December, up 15.8 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
Manufacturers shipped 71,600 motor homes to retailers during 1999, up 12.8 percent over 1998. Deliveries of conventional Class A motor homes improved the most during the year, up 15.2 percent, to 49,400 units. That is the best performance for Class A motor homes since 1973.
Shipments of mini Class C motor homes, built on van chassis, were up 9.4 percent to 18,600 units during 1999. But shipments of Class B van campers were flat at 3,600 units.
Towable recreation vehicles were up 8.9 percent for the year. Only folding camping trailers were down.
The conversion van market continued to shrink during 1999, albeit only slightly.
Deliveries of all conversion vehicles to retailers were up slightly during 1999 because of healthy pickup truck and sport-utility conversions. Pickup truck conversions were up 7.9 percent during 1999, and sport-utility conversions were up 17.4 percent.
But vans represent two-thirds of all conversion vehicle shipments, and van deliveries were down 0.5 percent for the year. The van upfitters delivered 104,100 conversion vans to retailers during 1999.