Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

May 10, 2013

RV industry’s resurgence heralded at 'Power breakfast'

ELKHART — The good times are coming back for the recreational vehicle industry.

According to speakers at the RV Power Breakfast Thursday morning, while the industry is still far below its output of the pre-recession years, growth has occurred in the past two years and is expected to continue through the end of 2013.

“We had some good times back in the 70s,” said Mac Bryan, vice president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry while he stood in front of a screen full of numbers recounting the historic ups and downs of the industry. But all the recent numbers are moving upwards.

RV shipments from manufacturers were 353,400 units in pre-recession 2007, then dropped to 165,700 units by 2009. Since then the industry has had steady growth, with gains each year through 2012. When 2012 ended, 285,900 units had been shipped. The RVIA forecast for this year’s shipments is 307,300 units.

The North American demographics favor the RV industry, Bryan said. Based on historical data there are 8.9 million RVs in use now and there should be about 11 million RVs in use by the end of the decade. To reach that milestone the industry will have to produce about 350,000 units on average each year, he said.

Reflection on hard times

“With creativity and imagination, there is no limits to the amount of RVs that can be sold in the next decade,” he told the industry leaders. “And I see no lack of either in this room.”

But there most likely were fewer RV members at the breakfast than would have been attending in the past. Richard Coon, RVIA president, said that in 2008 the trade organization had 555 member companies. Membership was 410 members in 2013.

That decline of 26 percent is due to the recession and the resulting consolidation and winnowing that occurred.

“Since 2008, 53 companies have gone away,” Coon said of the industry. Eight of those RV companies were absorbed by others. He said only one company quit the organization during the recession and has not rejoined.

A positive trend is that there have been 23 new RV-related companies created in recent years, Coon said.

Always a preacher of the RV gospel, Coon was a strong advocate before, during and now after the recession for the RV lifestyle and the quality of products produced.

Even during the height of the recession, the travel trailer segment of the industry remained strong, according to Coon and in 2012 that segment was still solid.

And, consumers can find a travel trailer bargain.

“The price of a conventional trailer is almost the same as it was 15 years ago, but the product is better,” Coon said. “That is a real tribute to the people in the room.”

Jobs engine

Those RV people are leading an industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs to local residents as well as creating billions of dollars of products that boost the nation’s gross domestic product.

“Northern Indiana has an economy that builds things,” said Tim Hyland, president of the RV Group at GE Capital.

So much stuff is built in Elkhart County that it remains a manufacturing center as many parts of the nation move toward service sectors.

“Elkhart County ranked in the top 2 percent of manufacturing economies in the nation,” Hayland said. “Half of workers in Elkhart County are (in) manufacturing jobs. In the Goshen-Elkhart MSA (Municipal Statistical Area) there is five times the national employment share for production occupations, the highest percentage of production occupations in the country.”

He said 83 percent of all North American recreational vehicles are built in Elkhart County.

“There are five employers in Elkhart County with more than 1,000 employees and three are in the RV industry,” Hyland said.

Good times roll

As Hyland and a string of other speakers were inside the RV Hall of Fame and Museum just off C.R. 17 along the Indiana Toll Road, evidence of the industry’s recovery was rolling past outside. Semis loaded with trailer axles were turning off C.R. 17 onto C.R. 6 to head to the RV plants scattered around the north and east side of Elkhart.

Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp., said that 30 RV companies have their headquarters in the county and there are more than 100 companies in the county that supply the industry. She also estimated there are 25,000 to 30,000 local people employed by the industry. And, 45 percent of the county’s economy is based on manufacturing, according to Heiden-Guss, and 39 percent of that segment is RV-related.

The annual economic footprint of manufacturing in the county is about $5 billion, according to Heiden-Guss.

The EDC’s arsenal includes working with the state and local governments to grant property tax phase-ins for expanding companies, according to Heiden-Guss. In the past three years, she said there has been $30 million in such phase-ins granted to local companies. Those companies in turn have invested $150 million in buildings and equipment and have announced the creation of more than 4,000 jobs tied to the expansions.

“We thank you for investing in Elkhart County,” Heiden-Guss said.

1
Text Only
Business
  • BIZ GN140727 urban gypsy image Crafters open Urban Gypsy & Co in Goshen GOSHEN — A shop filled with colorful and fragrant items along East Lincoln Avenue has become part of the growing arts and artisan culture in the city.Urban Gypsy & Co. is at 111 E. Lincoln Ave.Missy Wrathell, Elkhart, and McKenzie Beiler and Kristin

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • PicPlayPost: App to create dynamic collages If you have a smartphone, you’ve likely seen and used various photo collage apps that allow you to add multiple photos that are then combined into one image collage. There are many to choose from and they all work about the same.PicPlayPost is differ

    July 27, 2014

  • Fast Food Workers Convention-3 [Duplicate] Fast food workers push wage hike CHICAGO — Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the ef

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Industries reports improved quarter GOSHEN — Supreme Industries Inc. reported Thursday its second quarter sales and income were up. The company, which makes specialized commercial vehicles, reported its consolidated net sales from continuing operations grew to $71.6 million in the seco

    July 24, 2014

  • Earns General Motors [Duplicate] Recalls cost GM $1.5 billion DETROIT — Recall costs chopped $1.5 billion from General Motors' bottom line in the second quarter, cutting its net income by 85 percent. The automaker, which is in the midst of the worst recall crisis in its history, posted a net profit of $190 mil

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amazon Kindle Service [Duplicate] Amazon unlimited e-book service is limited NEW YORK — Amazon’s new “unlimited” e-book service lets you read 600,000 books. That sounds like more than you’ll ever read, but I found myself struggling to find the books I wanted. It turns out that the library of 600,000 is bit like a small bookst

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN140720 blue barn berry farm image 01 New berry farm also offers classes, treats SYRACUSE — A retirement hobby has grown into a new agriculture-based business for a local family.Don and Peggy Bucher and Shanda and Chris Sheeren are members of a farm family who operate Bucher Farms along N. 300 East. According to Shanda, her mothe

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • BIZ GN140720 mike gingerich column image Online marketing methods to grow sales Growing sales through selling online is a powerful way to reach more people and extend your market.To sell online means getting in front of the right people in the right places. You want much more of a laser focus than a scattershot approach. It also

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local job numbers up, but so is jobless rate A growing number of people looking for work in Elkhart County has boosted the unemployment rate despite an increase in the number of jobs.According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Elkhart County’s jobless rate was 5.6 percent in J

    July 19, 2014

  • Microsoft-Goodbye Android-3 [Duplicate] Axed Nokia X phones suffered from lack of identity NEW YORK — The Nokia X phones that Microsoft discontinued this week blend two rival operating systems, but leave out the best of each.As a result, the devices didn’t become a runaway hit as Nokia’s low-cost answer to serving emerging markets.Nokia X

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results