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Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Recreational Vehicle sales defy fuel, interest rate slow down fears

Tony Bellamy with Jim Hayman  Picture by GoSeeAustralia
Tony Bellamy with Jim Hayman
Picture by GoSeeAustralia

Recreational vehicle (RV) ownership remains the best way to holiday in Australia, despite increased petrol prices and today’s interest rate rise, Tony Bellamy, president of the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia says.

And Australians seem to agree, following record RV sales at the Sydney Caravan Show, which finished on Sunday (April 30) and shows in Perth and Adelaide.

"Apart from show sales being up – other shows are still to be held in Melbourne later this month and in Brisbane in June - our manufacturing members have been reporting sales increases through their dealership networks across the entire country," Tony Bellamy said.

"Compared to most places in the world, our fuel costs are still relatively low and RV ownership remains a very attractive holiday option because there are great overall savings in accommodation," he said.

Mr Bellamy said there has been little impact on the RV industry, either for motorised campervans and motorhomes, or for the touring range of caravans, pop-tops, camper trailers and tent trailers.

He predicted the hike in interest rates will also have minimal impact and expects that this year’s national production will add almost another 17,000 units to the 400,000 already owned by Australians.

"Demand remains high because people realise RVs give you the true holiday freedom of being able to go where you want to when you want to. The price of petrol for most RV owners is not a priority concern and the interest rate rise reinforces the need to seek value for money," he told GoSeeAustralia.

He said that modern cars are much more fuel efficient than the old petrol guzzlers of the 1970s, when there were worldwide fuel price hikes.

"Likewise, caravan designs are now more aerodynamic, reducing wind drag, and lighter, though stronger materials are used in the building of vans than those of 20 or 30 years ago. All this had helped reduce towing costs," Tony Bellamy said.

He said motorised models are often powered by diesel, which ensures fuel efficiency and those that use petrol are also much more fuel efficient that the heavier motorised RVs of yesteryear.

"Towing models are still the most popular although there is a growing market for motorised RVs," he said. "More tow vehicles also either operate on diesel or now use gas."

Tony Bellamy said purchasing an RV was an investment in a holiday lifestyle.

"A well cared for five-to-seven-year-old caravan on the second hand market will return almost an equivalent to the original purchase price," he said. "And the owner has had all those holidays in between."

Caravan and Camping SHOW DATES: Melbourne (Caulfield Racecourse) – May 17-23/ Brisbane (RNA Showgrounds)- June 7-13.

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