Wholesale shipments of motor homes and conversion vehicles in 2000 fell 14.9 percent from 1999 levels, as a strong start to the year faded in April and continued on a downward slope for the rest of the year.
The first half of 2001 might be tough, too, says Jeff Tryka, senior equity analyst at Red Chip Review, a Portland, Ore., firm that follows the industry.
'Barring an extended and deep recession, continued reductions in interest rates and a recovery in the overall economy should make for a brighter second half,' Tryka says. However, 'even the best of quarters this year will not likely match the record pace of 1999,' he adds.
A total of 60,900 motor homes were shipped in 2000, a 14.9 percent decline from the 71,600 units shipped in 1999.
But motor home shipments in December fell 29.1 percent, marking the ninth consecutive month of decline.
Class B motor homes, down 66.7 percent in December, represented the month's largest percentage drop. The segment's yearly decline was 5.6 percent.
Class A motor homes in December fell 27.5 percent and were down 17 percent for the year. Class C's dropped 25 percent in December and ended the year down 11.3 percent compared to 1999.
Shipments of conversion vehicles also dropped in December, falling 31.9 percent. It was the 15th consecutive month of decline for conversions.
Sport-utility conversions, down 37.5 percent, took the segment's biggest fall in December. They dropped 43.8 percent for the year.
Pickup conversions fell 33.3 percent in December and were down 3.1 percent for the year. Van conversions slid 30.5 percent to close out 2000, and were down 26.6 percent for the year.
Conversion vehicle shipments last year dropped 22.5 percent.