Elkhart’s RV Industry Plows Ahead

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Even with a nearly two-month shutdown earlier this year, the RV industry is operating at full capacity and hoping to reach shipment totals of 424,000 units by the end of the year.

The turnaround is remarkable considering the industry was coming out of a somewhat sluggish 2019 that had many observers wondering whether a recession was on the horizon. According to the latest market analysis performed by ITR Economics, the industry is expecting this year’s shipments to surpass 2019 totals by 4.5%.

And even with the sizable rebound in 2020 — the fourth best annual total on record — ITR is predicting record-breaking shipments of 507,200 units in 2021.

In a fourth quarter financial report released recently, Elkhart-based THOR Industries said its sales and profits showed steady improvements as it emerged from the shutdown, and it has a backlog of about $5.75 billion in orders at the end of July, or nearly a year’s worth of annual sales.

Even with the reopening of most plants in May, it took until July for factories to reach full production since suppliers of materials, appliances and components needed to build RVs also were largely shut down because of the pandemic.

Click here to see the full story by Ed Semmler in the South Bend Tribune.

“We saw increasing retail demand over the course of the quarter, driving dealer inventories to historically low levels by year end and our year-end backlog to a record high,” Bob Martin, president and CEO of the company, said in a release.

“This current demand for RVs, coupled with the need to replenish dealer inventories that are at all-time lows, positions us for continued success well into calendar 2021,” Martin added.

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