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May 10, 2013

RV industry rebounds from recession

ELKHART, Ind. — The recreational vehicle market, hit hard by the prolonged recession, is making a strong comeback, industry officials reported Thursday in this RV capital of North America.

They forecast that 307,300 RVs will be manufactured and shipped this year, below the pre-recession high of 353,400 units in 2007, but nearly twice as many as the low point of 165,700 in 2009.

America's demographics favor the RV industry, said Mac Bryan, vice president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. He said there are 9 million RVs in use now and predicted that number will multiply as more baby boomers reach retirement age.

"With creativity and imagination, there is no limit to the amount of RVs that can be sold in the next decade," said Bryan.

The encouraging message was delivered at a "power breakfast" held at the RV Hall of Fame and Museum. Most of North America's RVs are manufactured in this northern Indiana region.

The recession took a heavy toll on RV companies, with 53 disappearing, some through consolidation, in recent years, said Richard Coon, president of the industry association. Employment also suffered big losses.

But, Coon added, the rebound has seen  23 RV-related companies created, and job prospects on the uptick.

Tim Hyland, president of the RV Group at GE Capital, said his financial organization is optimistic about the future for RV manufacturing.  He said 83 percent of all North American RVs are built in Elkhart County.

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Details for this story were provided by the Goshen, Ind., News.

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