With the economy on the rise, RV buyers are moving away from basic models and back to RVs that offer more creature comforts. Luxury is the hot RV trend for 2014. The desire to travel surrounded in comfort is expected to drive more sales of luxurious motorhomes and top-of-the-line travel trailers and 5th wheels.

Winnebago’s recent debut of its first full-size luxury 5th wheel, the new Destination, is an indication of RV manufacturers’ faith in the strengthening of the industry’s luxury market. According to the Motley Fool, motorized RV sales leaped nearly 45% in the final quarter of 2013 at Thor Industries, another industry leader that is betting on its luxury lines. While motorized RVs, particularly pricier Class A motorhomes, represented just 22% of quarterly sales, they represented 43% of Thor’s backlog; leading the Fool’s financial gurus to conclude “that demand for motorized RVs is accelerating at a rapid pace.”

Fueled in part by an easier credit market that is benefitting both dealers and RV buyers, overall RV shipments rose nearly 11% in 2013 and are expected to increase another 6% in 2014, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). After five consecutive years of growth, RV production finally edged above 300,000 in 2013. With luxury models leading the field, the New Year is expected to be just as good, finally bringing the RV industry back to pre-recession production levels.

While the RV industry’s luxury models and new luxury features may be garnering the greatest amount of publicity, 2014 will feature several other notable RV trends, including the continued move to lighter-weight RVs that can be towed by smaller cars, increased use of recyclable and sustainable materials, the continued greening of the industry with greater use of alternative energy sources and more fuel-efficient engines, and more thorough development of the outdoor room concept as a way of increasing livable space.

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