Inventory is proving to be a bigger challenge for RV dealerships than rising gas prices.
“Last year the supply chain was bad, and we thought it would improve this year. Two years ago it was okay. Last year we were bad, but it is actually worse this year,” Buck Leister, sales manager at Five Star Powersports, Duncansville, said.
The company normally has between 1,000 and 1,500 units per month, but now only has around 400 units in stock.
Alpha Powersports and Specialty Vehicles, Duncansville, see the same thing.
“Overall sales are up, but inventory is terrible. We can’t get anything in; it’s been like this since the pandemic started,” said owner Sean Moran.
Duane Thomas, sales rep at Shy Beaver Boat Center, James Creek, agrees it’s been a struggle with inventory.
“We are struggling to get outboard motors. … We don’t have our full inventory now. Our fiberglass boats have not yet arrived for this year. These will be the ones for sale,” said Thomas.
While the National Marine Manufacturers Association said boat sales are feeling the pinch from rising gas prices, local boat dealers say they haven’t been hit yet.
Ellen Hopkins, director of marketing communications for NMMA, said national sales through May were down about 15% to 16% from May 2007.
This follows two years of historic growth spurred by COVID-19.
“Sales have been quite strong; pre-orders have been strong. Gas has yet to impact sales. We will see in the middle of the summer”, said Duane Thomas, sales representative at Shy Beaver Boat Center, James Creek. “I would say sales are in the upper range of normal.”
Joe Zanylo, sales manager at Jim’s Anchorage, Hesston, said people still want their leisure time. Its sales have been fairly steady so far this year. “Boat sales over the past two years have been phenomenal; the best I have ever seen. It has slowed down because manufacturers cannot deliver products to resellers. Inventory is lower than usual, a lot of what we have has been pre-ordered since last year,” said Zanylo.
Like almost everything else, boat prices are on the rise.
Normally, prices increase by 4-6% per year, but last year there was an increase of 18-22%. Shipping costs are getting astronomical, Zanylo said.
“Most manufacturers prices are up 10-15% from 2022, we are now ordering for 2023.
Our supply of used boats is up, those prices are up,” said Thomas.
Meanwhile, sales of motorcycles, ATVs and similar recreational vehicles have increased.
According to Statistical Surveys Inc., the leading provider of market data solutions for the marine, manufactured home, motorized RV, towable RV and trailer industries, a total of 2,752,588 new motorcycles and ATVs and second-hand vehicles were sold in 2021, an increase of 380,349 over 2019.
“We’ve seen a lot of people buy smaller street bikes, smaller cc scooters that are good gas eaters. Sales have picked up, but they are hard to come by,” Five Star’s Leister said.
Debbra Heath, Marketing Manager for Roundhouse Powersports and Roundhouse Harley Davidson, Duncansville, said: “I don’t know if there’s any normality yet, but sales have been pretty steady.”
Heath said it was difficult to get on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
“The York plant was closed for two weeks. They cut their allowances. They want to work with the preorder. … When they come here, we usually talk about them.
With a good second-hand selection, Roundhouse sales are doing very well, “probably higher for the first quarter than last year”, Heath said.
Inventory remains the biggest problem.
“The side-by-sides are very popular but very difficult to access. Those that arrive are sold. Almost everything is pre-ordered,” said Morane.
If customers see something they want, dealers say don’t hang around.
“If you’re interested and want it, if you wait nine or 10 days, it won’t be there,” Heath said.
Leister suggests pre-ordering. “If you have a decision made, make a deposit on it. Today, many things are specially ordered. If you want it, pay a deposit and we’ll get it,” said Leister.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.