Everything right is wrong again, just like in The Long, Long Trailer

Today we bring you the first in what we hope won't be a terribly long series on the weirdness of the COVID economic recovery, in which we'll pretend to blame Joe Biden for supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic. Today, it's the recreational vehicle industry, which actually did pretty well in 2020 because one way to travel fairly safely was to drive your own hotel room around the country, as long as you masked up at the gas station. Problem is, now at least one of the biggest RV manufacturers has more orders than it can fill! Darn it, Joe Biden!

Thor Industries - which owns RV brands like Jayco and Airstream - first began seeing a boost in sales in May and June of 2020, especially with RV newcomers, Thor Industries' president and CEO Bob Martin told Insider in May 2020. This boom in popularity only continued to grow: Thor achieved $3.46 billion in net sales in Q3 2021, the strongest in the company's history, Martin said in the earnings report. This is a 105.7% increase compared to Q3 2020.

The downside is that Thor now has a great big backlog of some $14 billion in orders that it's having trouble filling, and RV dealers are saying, "You're Thor? I'm completely thold out!"


On CNBC, Martin explained that Thor's RV brands are already "pretty much sold out for the next year," which is creating problems for the retail networks:

We have backlogs that are full of retail orders, so those will hit the dealer's lot and then leave, and so we're still not able to build inventory at our dealer's lot.

He also said he believes the trend during the pandemic is bringing a lot of younger customers into the RV lifestyle, which means they'll keep upgrading to bigger RVs through their lifetime, so "we see this as a long-term trend." Sure sounds like he's selling something, although maybe that'll turn out to be true. It's like they say, your first RV is free and then once you're hooked ... wait, they don't say that at all.

In an earnings report, Martin wrote that "Since a significant number of units in our backlog have already been retail sold, we currently believe the restocking cycle will extend well into calendar 2022," so the company will continue boosting production to meet the demand.

This all sounds like really good news for one industry, apart from how the shortages are probably all Joe Biden's fault or something.

Gosh, we sure hope that it doesn't turn out that the RV business is some kind of cyclical thing; we keep thinking of that time in 2009 when Barack Obama went to promote his recovery plan in Elkhart, Indiana, home to many RV factories, and there was a lot of Fox News grumbling about how he had tanked the economy while George W. Bush was in office. Then when Obama returned to Elkhart in 2016 to campaign for Hillary Clinton and point out that jobs had returned, Indiana voted instead for Donald Trump, after which the air conditioner manufacturing jobs went to Mexico anyway.

So what we're saying is that the economic news for Thor looks promising, but you probably should judge the economy by watching long-term growth, not just the trailer.

[Business Insider (via Yahoo News) / CNBC]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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