Indiana’s economic recovery is beginning to take hold as the RV industry shows new signs of a rebound, judging by activity at this past weekend’s Indianapolis RV Show.
Most recreational vehicles sold in the U.S. come from northern Indiana and RVs from modest to massive are finally selling again, WTHR, an Indianapolis TV station’s Eyewitness News, reports. (See video)
|“The first weekend, the first two days of the show, we sold more than our entire show last year,” said RV dealer Ken Eckstein at the Indianapolis RV Show.
Those in the RV industry say sales began rebounding months ago. Banks are making more loans, consumer confidence is up and prices are down.
“I have products out here in 2010 models that I am paying the same dollars (for) as I was for 2006 and 2007 models,” Eckstein said.
With four children, Courtney Weaver decided the family can afford a small camper.
“(We can) take just as many vacations as my kids are accustomed to, but my expenses are down,” Weaver said.
The recession has the industry on an ugly detour. During the past three years, RV sales plummeted 60%. Manufacturers have closed and thousands of workers lost their jobs — many of them in northern Indiana.
In Elkhart and surrounding counties, where 60% of the nation’s RVs were built, unemployment is still in excess of 14%. But the outlook is improving.
“Manufacturers are hiring people back to work in Elkhart County and around the state. Retail-wise, people have been ordering,” said Mark Bowersox of the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council.