The auto industry isn't the only place where people are hoping for the economy to recover. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, celebrating its 100th year, has come off one its worst sales years ever, but there are signs things are getting better.
All the newest motorhomes, travel trailers, camper shells, lightweight trailers, and more were on display at the RVIA's biggest show of the year in Louisville, Kentucky. Not surprisingly, attendance and the physical size of the show were down, but we did manage to find some interesting new products, big and small, that should make quite a few outdoor enthusiasts happy. Companies like Fleetwood RV, Winnebago, Gulf Stream, and Forest River are all in a fierce battle to respond to the changing demands of loyal cash-strapped customers.
Likewise, travel-trailer makers have created smaller, lighter products for buyers who continue to downsize their lifestyles. At the same time, hundreds of smaller, accessory companies displayed clever and more efficient widgets to those who love to camp.
While the industry is in turmoil, it looks like this could be a good shakeout, with the ultimate winner being the consumer. We've listed pricing, but your local dealer may be willing to negotiate on the bigger items. Fewer dollars in the marketplace mean prices are down everywhere and competition is brutal. It's a good time to be a smart shopper. Here are some of the highlights we found at the show.