September 7, 2021

Record Year Expected For Northern Indiana's RV Industry

A Chateau Sport recreational vehicle manufactured by Elkhart-based Thor Motor Coach drives through Death Valley. - Noah Wulf/CC-BY-SA-4.0

A Chateau Sport recreational vehicle manufactured by Elkhart-based Thor Motor Coach drives through Death Valley.

Noah Wulf/CC-BY-SA-4.0

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — Industry leaders believe growth in recreational-vehicle production won't ease up in northern Indiana in 2022.

A forecast released by the RV Industry Association projects a record shipment of about 580,000 vehicles this year, an increase of 34 percent from 2020 and 14 percent more than the previous highest mark in 2017.

The forecast anticipates 4 percent growth next year to about 600,000 units.

Production figures show how more people have turned to outdoor activities since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, said RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby.

“The demand from these new RV owners, as well as our returning customers, is driving the increased RV production we will continue to see through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022,” Kirby said.

Several thousand people work at dozens of RV manufacturing and supply factories in and around Elkhart County.

The RV industry was hit hard in previous recessions, with only about 165,000 vehicles shipped in 2009 when the county's unemployment rate soared to nearly 20 percent.

The county’s jobless rate was 2.9 percent in July, compared to the 4.1 percent statewide mark.

The RV association’s forecast projects slower growth next year because of worries about supply chain troubles and possible rising interest rates.

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