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RV, Boat Sales Spike Amidst Pandemic

RV Solutions Vice President & General Manager Matt Leffingwell talks about RV...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: RV Solutions Vice President & General Manager Matt Leffingwell talks about RV sales on July 31, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has meant changes of all kinds in how we live our lives. That includes vacationing.

Lots of people don’t want to get on a plane, train or bus. That may be what’s behind a big increase in the sales of RVs and boats.

Listen to this story by John Carroll.

The Vice President and General Manager of RV Solutions in Kearny Mesa, Matt Leffingwell, has been in the RV business for 25 years. He said he’s never seen anything like this.

“We’ve literally had a wait as many as six people deep today, on a Friday. On the weekends, it can get pretty hectic,” Leffingwell said.

That scenario is playing itself out at RV dealerships across the country. Sales were already doing well. Figures from the RV Industry Association show a nearly 11% jump from June of last year. But they’ve really taken off since the pandemic hit.

“It’s not just the vacation, but even just traveling. (People are) going to go back and stay in New York for a month to visit family. They don’t want to fly. And how else do you do it?” said Leffingwell.

He said another indication the pandemic is behind the jump in sales is the fact that they are seeing a lot of first-time buyers. But whether it’s old hands or newbies, Leffingwell said the numbers are off the charts.

“Probably somewhere around 100, maybe 125%. Our inventory level right now is about a little less than half of what we would normally see,” he said.

Reported by John Carroll , Video by Matthew Bowler

It’s the same situation on the water over at Harbor Island. The business of boating is booming.

“Come May 1st, the second they opened up that bay, it was just phones ringing off the hook,” said Tom Bossenger, director of sales and marketing for California Yacht Sales. He said sales are riding on a wave of demand.

“It’s gotta be 200, maybe 300%. It’s significant," Bossenger said.

“Right now, it really doesn’t matter whether it’s a $20,000 boat or a $200,000 boat. The second it comes on the market, we’ve just got five, six people calling the first day it’s on the market,” Bossenger said.

Whether it’s the big blue sea or the open road, getting away from it all in the age of COVID 19 has meant a bonanza for the folks that sell you what you need to get there.

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Aired: August 3, 2020 | Transcript

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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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