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Winter Forcing Elkhart OEM’s to Play Catch-Up

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February 10, 2014 by   Leave a Comment

You don’t see the weather referred to all that often in a financial report from a company. But this is truly a different winter.

As reported by the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, last week Thor Industries announced that preliminary sales for its second quarter ending Jan. 31 were adversely affected by the severe weather in January.

And Thor is not alone in being affected. Many other RV companies in Elkhart County lost at least two days of work, and had other days affected as well.

It’s an important time of year for the RV industry as shows are taking place around the nation. Interest is being gauged to see just what kind of year it will be and what kind of production will be needed in the months ahead.

“Anytime you get a harsh winter, it makes it difficult to develop products on (adverse weather) days,” explained Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor Industries, which has about 70 facilities in the Elkhart County area.

“You have to look at snow, temperature, wind, and sometimes it’s too cold to actually run.”

Travel advisories in the county forced some shutdowns.

But the truth is even if workers can make it in, there are other problems, Martin said.

“The cold weather hurts us in many ways,” Martin said. “When you open a large door to bring a frame in, it sweeps all the warm air out of the factory, and it makes it tough.”

A lot of Thor’s products are laminated, he noted. “And you have to keep lamination facilities up to a certain temperature and a certain moisture level as well.”

Sid Johnson, a spokesman for Middlebury-based Jayco says even the winter of 1978, with its famous blizzard, was not this bad.

For the full story click here.

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