You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Indiana

  • Bids renewed to buildOhio River toll bridge
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A bi-state board overseeing the construction of new Ohio River bridges linking Kentucky and Indiana has restarted its search for a company to handle tolling on those bridges amid concerns about a possible conflict of
  • Bids renewed to buildOhio River toll bridge
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A bi-state board overseeing the construction of new Ohio River bridges linking Kentucky and Indiana has restarted its search for a company to handle tolling on those bridges amid concerns about a possible conflict of
  • Indiana candidates in attack mode for final push
    INDIANAPOLIS – Candidates for office throughout the state have been shifting this week to attack mode in the final stretch of campaigning ahead of Election Day.
Advertisement

RV industry sees rebound revving up

– The RV industry is enjoying a smooth ride as the recession that devastated it gets further in the distance.

Key manufacturers and suppliers have announced recent expansions, the stock market is at an all-time high, and consumers are more confident in the future, industry leaders say.

“I think most people will tell you we are in a long-term growth mode that goes back to probably mid-2010 going forward,” said Mark Bowersox, executive director of the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council.

The changes are a vast improvement over 2009, when Elkhart County’s unemployment rate jumped to nearly 19 percent as the recreational vehicle industry saw orders plummet. Shipments that year sank to 165,700 units amid weak demand and dried up credit that left dealers’ lots filled with the vehicles.

The rebound is also being fueled by retirements of baby boomers and an increase in the number of younger people interested in RVs, he said.

Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor Industries, said that even though the industry can react to “any blip that could happen throughout the world,” he sees steady growth for years to come.

“We still have five years of baby boomers buying into our demographic, which helps us,” Martin said. “But then there’s also the shifts in products that we’re building that appeal to younger generations.”

Martin said Gen Xers and millennials are discovering the RV lifestyle and can find travel trailers that cost less than $15,000.

That’s leading to a lot of first-time buyers.

“It’s a great way to spend time with your family, to explore the outdoors, the national park system,” Martin said. “Just reconnect with the natural beauty we have in North America.”

The improvement in the RV industry has Elkhart County running out of room.

Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corp., said the county is running short on sizable buildings to lease. But she said plans are in the works for 40,000- and 100,000-square-foot expandable spec buildings.

Advertisement