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Thompson Highlights Industry Innovation, Customer Demand For RVs at Elkhart Jobs Panel

In an event widely covered by local and national media, RVIA Board Member B.J. Thompson of B.J. Thompson Associates spoke to a crowd of more than 80 Elkhart residents about product innovation and the future of the RV industry at “Investing in Tomorrow’s Jobs Today,” a panel discussion led by Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Monday, April 6, at the Indiana University.


Representing the RV industry as one of four speakers at the event, Thompson said that the RV industry’s “long-term outlook is sunny, even though today is cold and rainy.” He emphasized that consumers still want RVs – and that even as they cut production to weather the current economic storm, RV manufacturers continue to develop innovative products that help ensure the RV industry’s recovery.


In response to growing consumer demand for eco-conscious travel options,  Thompson said that RV manufacturers and suppliers are now building RVs and component parts that are “greener and more energy-efficient than ever before.” He cited RVIA’s findings that more than “64 percent of consumers said they would pay more for a green RV that features environmentally friendly energy components,” and referenced the PKF study findings that show that the carbon footprint of an RV vacation is less than that of an airline/car/hotel vacation.


RVing also remains one of the most affordable travel options for families, Thompson said, a fact that makes RVing a popular activity in down economic times. The main obstacle RV manufacturers and suppliers face now is, “there are people who still want to buy RVs, now, today, but wholesale and retail financing remains a huge problem.” He thanked Rep. Donnelly for the congressman’s work to secure consumer and dealer floorplan loans, saying, “I’m glad we have him on our side.”


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