Thor's low towable RV sales results attributed winter weather
Thor Industries executives said the company struggled to keep up production because of severe weather in January 2014.
This winter's record cold and snowfall helped drive sales of towable recreational vehicles down 9.3 percent for Thor Industries Inc. in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, the Elkhart-based manufacturer announced.
"The severe weather affected our ability to receive materials, run production and ship units amid the frigid temperatures and hazardous road conditions," Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO, said in a statement.
Martin said the sales drop also reflects "operational moves" the company has made over the past few months that will result in a "shift in the timing of deliveries and revenues from the second quarter to later in the year as indicated by our backlog growth. The RV markets remain strong as reflected by the higher traffic and increased sales activity by the higher traffic and increased sales activity we've seen in the early retail shows."
In contrast to towables, sales of motorized RVs increased 42.5 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Motorized RV sales would likely have grown more than 42.5 percent if not for the weather, said Jeff Tryka, Thor's director of corporate development and investor relations. The weather affected towables more because those production facilities are spread out over a larger geographical area in Elkhart and LaGrange counties, while motorized RVs are made mostly in the city of Elkhart and Wakarusa, Tryka said.
Consolidated backlog, meaning orders for new units from dealers, on Jan. 31 was $845.2 million, up 37.1 percent from $616.6 million at the end of the second quarter last year, the company said. Tryka said the company expects the sales decline in towables to be made up over the course of the year as the backlog is reduced.
Thor, one of the world's largest RV makers, expects to report its second-quarter operating results on March 6.