More RVs Hitting the Road, Sales are Up: Winnebago CEO

The chairman and CEO of Winnebago Industries, Robert Olson, told CNBC Thursday that his company's retail activity has been improving and dealers have stocked their inventories to meet the solid demand.

The company posted higher than expected earnings also on Thursday, with revenues rising over 50 percent.

“The campgrounds are full,” said Olson. He added that improved sales of Winnebagos, a “discretionary product,” have benefited from a number of factors, including more complicated air travel and the fact that it’s tougher to go abroad than to travel in an RV. Winnebago is the largest US maker of recreational vehicles (RV).

A Winnebago, whose average price ranges from the high $90,000 to $100,000, is classified as a second home, so that tax credits are available for its owners.

The sale of RVs is an economic indicator, according to the RVIA [Recreational Vehicle Industry Association]. According to the association, RV shipments for 2011 are expected to be up 8.2 percent from this year, and currently, about 8.3 million households now own an RV.