Local RV open house draws out hundreds of nationwide dealers

NOW: Local RV open house draws out hundreds of nationwide dealers

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind., --- Hundreds of recreational vehicle dealers are in Elkhart County this week to check out the latest models, but some local RV makers are still grappling with so much uncertainty in the economy.

Despite uncertainty in the economy right now Winnebago industries still held their annual four-day showcase in Bristol filled with the latest models of RV’s to draw out hundreds of dealers.

“We bring dealers in from around the country to come and look at our new models, our new towables, motor homes and some of our new digital products,” said Huw Bower the President of Winnebago Outdoors.

The major open house showed off 85 new RV models hoping to help new and current dealers look forward to the future.

 “It’s good to then look at the industry and the forecast what we think the industry and how the market is unfolding. There are headwinds and there are tailwinds and we’re just aligning on what we think they are,” said Bower.

The showcase comes after the RV industry saw record high demand and sales amid the Pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

But as inflation, gas prices and interest rates climb, some potential RV buyers ABC57 spoke with said they were hesitant about a recreational purchase right now.

“My wages have gone up 25% but with inflation going up 40 to 50% in some cases I actually took a cut this year” said Eli Vasquez. “We really don’t have any access funds for entertainment right now. I’m putting everything into needs.”

But despite the expected fall in demand this year amid economic uncertainty, Bower said he was still hopeful for future of the industry.

“We’re coming off a year where we had record highs. We’re seeing retail normalize down. You’ve got some headwinds in terms of gas prices that has normalized a bit recently. Interest rates are on the rise, but overall people have learned this is an activity they live to do,” he explained. “We anticipate those demand levels normalizing but there’s still a lot of opportunity to innovate in product, and give people new product that will continue to spur growth.”

The company also said they’ve added new digital tools as an effort to attract more new consumers.

More information on their new technology tools can be found here.

Despite layoffs at local RV companies, Winnebago told ABC57 news they aren’t experiencing any major layoffs at the time and have adequate staffing to meet production levels right now.

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