From RV sales to industry jobs to campgrounds and travel, Indiana is a mecca for people who enjoy the RV lifestyle and all that surrounds it, according to a CNHI report by Michelle Lawson published by the Tribune-Star.
A new report by the website Outdoorsy analyzed the states that generate the most revenue from RV parks and campgrounds found that Indiana generates nearly $44 million annually. The highest number of RV sales by state is Indiana ($6.8 billion), California ($2.2 billion) and Texas ($1.8 billion). This is no surprise as over 75% of the RVs made in the country are manufactured in Elkhart by Thor Industries, Forest River and Avion International. Elkhart has been dubbed “RV Capital of the World.”
“Last year, Forest River reported it had a 400% increase in business from the year before,” said Mike Smith, co-owner of Midwest RVs in Terre Haute. “I think the RV industry is going to see even bigger growth this year.”
Indiana RV makers cranked out a huge number of RVs in 2020. According to the RV Industry Association, that number totaled 423,628. They’re estimating that the number of new recreational vehicles in 2021 could possibly hit 502,582.
Poised for tremendous growth heading into 2021, Smith said the RV industry and RV lifestyle have enjoyed a boom in business for the last several years.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t seem to hurt the RV industry like it did so many others, but instead, helped it to grow. According to a new survey from the RV Industry Association, 61 million Americans plan to go RVing in the next 12 months. This is up from 46 million when this question was asked in May of 2020.
“It’s actually a double-edged sword because manufacturers can’t keep the supply up with the demand,” Smith said. “If they could, our sales would be quadrupled.”
Forest River representatives told Smith to expect a $1,500 price increase across the board on all of its models, which is largely due to increased prices of metals and plastic. Smith said that he’s not getting many trade-ins for resale because a lot of people are opting to repair their RVs instead of buying.
“We won’t sell any trade-ins that are damaged but will take them to auction instead,” he said, “and now they bring in way moreover book value.”