Elkhart’s RV Industry Hits Fourth Best Year In History Amid Pandemic

Jan 2, 2021

Even with the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, it appears 2020 will go down as the fourth best in the history of the RV industry.

Pent-up demand, the pandemic and long-term trends favoring the industry contributed to the surge, and that’s important for the regional economy, as tens of thousands of people are employed at Elkhart-area businesses that either supply or produce most of the nation’s RVs.

According to the RV Industry Association, factory shipments to dealers jumped 43.4% to 42,513 in November compared to the same month a year ago, and shipments for the year are up 3%, even with the shutdowns that lasted from six to eight weeks.

The shift from empty plants to full production caused whiplash for those who keep a close eye on the industry.

“When the federal and state governments decided to shut down the economy, I thought ‘holy cow,’ and expected the worst for Elkhart County,” said former county Commissioner Mike Yoder, who will move into a new role as Bristol town manager on Monday.

“But then I started hearing from RV executives that there was still a lot of interest,” he added.

Indeed, plants moved into high gear as soon as they were able to reopen, trying to satisfy the heavy demand from dealers. The RV Industry Association is now projecting that about 423,628 RVs will be shipped from factories this year, and that 2021 could surpass the record 504,600 units shipped to dealers in 2017.

Monika Geraci, director of public relations and communications for the trade group, said the coronavirus contributed to the surge in demand as so many forms of travel were eliminated or limited during the pandemic.

Check out the full article from South Bend Tribune here.


Photo credit: Robert Franklin/Tribune

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