Forest River Gains Travel Trailer/Fifth Wheel Market Share, Newmar Gains in Class A’s

By Jeff Kurowski, director of industry relations

The Forest River division of Forest River Inc. gained retail market share in travel trailers and fifth wheels during 2019 to solidify its lead over Thor Industries Inc.’s Keystone subsidiary, according to market research firm Statistical Surveys Inc. of Grand Rapids, MI.

Forest River, a unit of multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc., accounted for 27.0 percent of travel trailer sales in 2019. Forest River (excluding its Coachmen, Palomino, Prime Time, and Shasta subsidiaries) accounted for 25.4 percent in 2018.

Keystone was second in travel trailers, with a 12.6 percent market share last year, compared with 13.8 percent in 2018. Next was Thor’s Jayco Inc. subsidiary, which also lost market share, dipping to 9.6 percent in 2019 from 10.3 percent in 2018. (Jayco’s market share figure does not include its Highland Ridge or Starcraft subsidiaries.)

In fourth place in travel trailers was Forest River’s Coachmen subsidiary with 6.0 percent market share in 2019, versus 5.7 percent in 2018. Rounding out the Top 5 in travel trailers last year was Thor’s Heartland subsidiary, which achieved a 5.7 percent market share, compared with 6.5 percent a year earlier.

In fifth wheels, Keystone maintained its top spot even though its retail market share slipped a little lower to 24.4 percent in 2019, from 24.9 percent in 2018. Forest River was second, compiling a 19.6 percent market share in 2019, up from 19.0 percent in 2018.

The other Top 5 fifth wheel builders were Winnebago Industries Inc.’s Grand Design subsidiary, which gained over two percentage points in market share to reach 16.0 percent in last year, from 13.7 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, Jayco’s fifth wheel market share was flat at 8.8 percent the last two years while Heartland finished fifth at 6.7 percent in 2019, versus 7.8 percent in 2018.

Forest River remained dominant in folding campers, with 56.2 percent of the market (excluding sales from its Coachmen and Palomino divisions). Its Coachmen unit, producer of the Viking brand, was second, with 16.8 percent. Columbia Northwest, builder of the Aliner brand, was third, with 12.2 percent of the market. Jayco was fourth at 4.6 percent, and Jumping Jack Trailers, a company based in Salt Lake, UT, was fifth at 3.9 percent.

In motorhomes, Thor Motor Coach (TMC) was the market share leader once again in Class A’s and Class C’s, despite losing significant amounts of retail market share in both product categories.

TMC held 21.9 percent of the Class A market when gasoline and diesel engine units are combined. It had 28.8 percent of the gas-only market. Tiffin Motor Homes Inc. was second in the combined gas and diesel Class A market, increasing to 15.5 percent. Winnebago’s recently acquired Newmar subsidiary was third in the combined gas and diesel Class A segment at 11.6 while Winnebago-brand placed fourth at 9.7 percent. Forest River, excluding its Coachmen and Dynamax subsidiaries, placed fifth at 9.2 percent.

In gas-only Class A’s, Forest River finished second last year after with a 12.1 percent market share. Winnebago was third at 11.9 percent, Jayco was fourth at 9.1 percent and Tiffin was fifth at 7.6 percent.

In diesel-only Class A’s, Tiffin was the leader last year at 29.6 percent. Newmar was second at 23.0 percent, followed by REV Group’s Fleetwood division at 12.3 percent. TMC finished fourth in diesel Class A’s last year 9.5 percent and Jayco’s Entegra was fifth at 8.0 percent.

In Class C’s, TMC maintained its leadership position in 2019 despite declining to a 26.5 percent market share last year from 32.6 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, Jayco gained market share, climbing to 14.0 percent, from 12.8 percent in 2018. Forest River also gained almost one percentage point climbing to 13.0 percent from 12.1 percent in 2018.

Coachmen slipped down to fourth in Class C retail market share declining to 11.3 percent from 13.2 in 2018, while Winnebago was essentially flat at 10.8 percent in 2019, compared with 10.9 percent in 2018.

In the small but rapidly growing Class B motorhome category, Winnebago increased its dominance at least in part due to the demise of Erwin Hymer N.A., which halted production during February 2019, but was still able to maintain was second-highest retail market share in Class B’s

Winnebago’s Class B market share grew to 44.7 percent last year from 40.0 percent in 2018, while Erwin Hymer N.A.’s fell to 20.0 percent from 28.7 percent a year earlier.

Coachmen and Canada’s Pleasure-Way also benefitted from Erwin Hymer N.A.’s departure from the Class B segment. Coachmen’s share climbed to 11.0 percent last year from 8.9 percent a year earlier, while Pleasure-Way grew to 8.9 percent in 2018 from 8.0 percent in 2018.

Airstream finished fifth in Class B’s with a 6.4 percent market share last year, versus 10.8 percent in 2018.