Yesterday, Forest River, Inc., THOR Industries, and Winnebago Industries announced the cancellation of the three companies’ Dealer Open House activities for 2021. The annual event, scheduled for the week of Sept. 26, attracts thousands of visitors to Elkhart, Indiana from across North America.
In a joint release, Forest River Inc. and THOR Industries stated that the companies’ top priority is the health and safety of valued industry partners, team members, and the larger Elkhart community. With local and national COVID cases rapidly increasing, safety mandates would be required to help mitigate risks, distracting from the positive experience industry partners expect.
The statement continued, “the cancellation of Open House is the right thing to do in order to protect the health of all stakeholders, officials said, while also helping alleviate disruption to production at a time when delivering new RVs is critical to the industry’s continued success. Forest River and THOR continue to be focused on delivering quality products to their respective dealer partners.”
“After reviewing all of the factors, we determined it was in everyone’s’ best interest and the safest, most responsible course of action to cancel the Expo this year,” stated Pete Liegl, CEO of Forest River Inc. “The community and dealers always welcome this event, but with COVID rates increasing across the country, we do not want to put our dealers, employees, or the community at any additional risk.”
“With a heavy heart, we’re canceling this year’s dealer event,” shared Bob Martin, THOR President and CEO. “Our companies remain steadfast on delivering exceptional RVs to our dealer partners. While we are eager to share the exciting innovation we’ve been developing across our brands, we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our trusted partners, team members, and community.”
Winnebago Industries also released a statement that their primary focus continues to be the health and safety of team members, dealers, and the communities they serve.
“Given recent developments, Winnebago Industries will not be hosting traditional Dealer Open House activities in Elkhart, Indiana in September. We firmly believe this decision, made in consultation with our Winnebago, Grand Design RV, and Newmar brand businesses is the appropriate course of action at this time. Each of our RV companies will continue to work closely with our dealers to ensure they have access to the latest products, updates and information as well as sales and service support,” the statement read.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame also released the following statement:
Recently, we have learned that the Elkhart dealer open house will be cancelled due to the two largest manufacturers pulling out for covid related reasons. Therefore, due to countless logistical reasons, the RV Hall of Fame supplier show will also be postponed until 2022. All our exhibitors will have their booth purchases rolled over unless otherwise noted. We apologize dearly for this inconvenience and hope that we can all be patient for 2022.