The RV industry is showing signs of improvement in Indiana’s Elkhart County, as evidenced by the latest report from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) showing an 8.6% increase in year-over-year shipments through the first five months of 2012.
WSBT, South Bend, reported that the trend is a welcome change for workers like Barry Hyser who found himself without a job when the economy, and the RV industry, tanked in 2008. “A lot of the RV industry was closed and certainly a lot of us were unemployed for a period of time,” says Hyser. “It has changed a lot since then.”
Hyser is back to work, landing a position as the location manager at Campers Inn in Elkhart. The two-year-old dealership is seeing steady sales, including selling out of its Class C motorhome inventory in May.
“We are seeing about a 20% growth for May and June over last year, so it is picking up again,” says Hyser. “That is really good news for Elkhart, and of course good news for Campers Inn.”
It is good news for anyone in the RV industry. Especially for companies like Wakarusa, Ind.-based Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles LLC.
Livin’ Lite specializes in lightweight towables and General Manager Troy Andrews says families are looking for fuel and cost-efficient options.
“The big trucks are gone, everyone is driving more economic vehicles and our product leans toward that,” says Andrews. “It makes sense. They don’t have to go buy a big truck, they can use what they already have. A mini van is a perfect vehicle for most our products.”
In 2008 Livin’ Lite employed 13 people and produced one or two RVs a day. Now 100 people work in the two Wakarusa plants and they’re building seven to eight units every day.