Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles LLC this week is moving into a new 35,000-square-foot factory in Wakarusa, Ind., which replaces a temporary plant nearby that the company had been using to build RVs since an October fire destroyed Livin’ Lite’s production facility.
”It’s going to be like the Taj Mahal for us,” said Livin’ Lite President Scott Tuttle. ”We built it from scratch and we built it for our own needs, which is one blessing that came out of the fire.”
The new factory contains separate production lines for Livin’ Lite’s all-aluminum Quicksilver folding camping trailers and VRV cargo trailers and aluminum-and-composite Camp Lite travel trailers.
An Oct. 1 electrical fire in a Wakarusa factory that Livin’ Lite had moved into just that day destroyed most of the company’s production equipment.
”The timing for moving into the new factory couldn’t be better because (demand for) our product is virtually exploding,” Tuttle said. ”The biggest problem we have right now is there is more retail demand than we have dealers out there.
”In some cases, we are having to tell customers that the closest Livin’ Lite dealer is two states away. Colorado is my No. 1 state for leads and I don’t have a dealer there.”
Tuttle said that the RV industry has yet to come to terms with the emerging market for ‘automotive campers’ such as the lightweight Quicksilver that can be towed by small passenger cars and minivans. For instance, the recently introduced 6 1/2-foot long Quicksilver 6.0, one of six Quicksilver floorplans, has a 620-pound dry weight.
”This is whole new market and there are millions and millions of people out there who want to go camping but they are not going to buy a truck or SUV to tow an RV,” Tuttle said.
With traditional RV dealers reluctant to add Quicksilver to their inventories, Tuttle is turning to motorsports and cargo trailer dealers to stock his product.
Tuttle said that even during the RV industry’s downturn, demand for lightweight equipment for entry-level campers has been on the increase.
”We have been working six days a week this month in order to try to keep up with product demand,” said Tuttle, adding that June also produced Livin’ Lites’ two largest revenue weeks since the company’s founding in 2002.