The Goshen News recently reported that production may resume at Travel Lite RV in Syracuse, Ind., next month. Travel Lite President Dustin Johns said that the company has to reevaluate its growth plan and business model after losing about 70 jobs recently.
In an interview with RV PRO, Johns mentioned how the timing wasn’t right in the industry for the rate in which they were expanding the company. As a result, Travel Lite will shut down one production facility, consolidating to one facility.
“I have hired so many people … for revenue numbers we’re just not going to hit this year with the slowdown,” Johns said. Recent data from the RV Industry Association showed a dip in July sales, for instance, going down by 23 percent compared to July 2018. “I had to step back and figure out how many people I needed in each group in each department.”
As he’s stated previously, the plan is to resume production on Oct. 21.
“As a company, there’s certain things that we’ve done for 20 years that we know we have a very good hold on and that we’re really talented at,” said Johns. And then there’s other new, emerging products that he is uncertain of releasing just yet until the company has a better grasp on how the industry is behaving. “Is right now a good time to put out a fifth wheel and start a fifth wheel plant? And I think if you do a survey of CEOs across the industry, they’d probably say it’s probably not.”
Travel Lite has been exploring a fifth wheel option this year, but Johns said it’ll better to back it down for now and manufacture something they know their dealers do well with.
“When times stabilize a little more, then do stuff like that,” he said. “That’s basically what’s been going on.”
For an Open House preview on Travel Lite, be sure to read RV PRO’s “Road to Open House” coverage.