For the ninth straight month, RV shipments were up, posting a 12.7% gain in September. And, according to a report in the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, that’s good news for RV workers in Elkhart County.
Terry Slabach, CFO of KZRV LP in Shipshewana, noted, “I think we feel like slow, steady growth is better than really quick, accelerated growth. And that’s what we have seen. We’re happy with where we’re at this year.”
The RV industry, including RV manufacturers and suppliers, employs more than 24,000 people in Elkhart County. Northern Indiana builds 82% of all recreational vehicles in the United States, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Both Slabach and Matt Bunner, vice president of operations for Robert Weed Plywood, an RV supplier, like the way 2013 looks, too.
“We see a fairly stable level of growth for this year into next year,” Bunner said. “About the same level, maybe a little bit higher for next year. Our customers are confident in the next year also. Unless something happens of a world-impact nature, we believe it’s going to be a good, solid year.”
Andy Baer, vice president of sales and marketing at KZRV, and Slabach do have some concerns with 2013, though.
“There are concerns out there with regard to the fiscal cliff … maybe less concern on the actual election process but what happens after the election process, and that affects the consumer psyche,” said Baer. “We’ve been fortunate as an industry. The consumer’s been extremely resilient and still showing an interest in RVing of any description.”