RV Industry Association (RVIA) Chief Spokesperson Monika Geraci said dealing with supply chain challenges is similar to playing “whack-a-mole” since whenever RV manufacturers and suppliers respond to one challenge, another pops up.
However, the latest data shows record production levels of travel trailers and motorhomes have indicated that the RV industry is “winning the game,” according to a report.
In an interview, Geraci said the industry is hopeful that it has surpassed its worst supply chain nightmare.
“There wasn’t a single item that was the big, big issue,” said Geraci. “But it’s really impressive what the manufacturers and suppliers were able to do and build that record 600,000 units [last year] during these times of supply chain constraints.”
During the start of the year, nearly 172,000 units were shipped to dealerships during the first quarter, an estimated 16% increase over the same period last year. In March, manufacturers shipped over 64,000 units, approximately a 19% increase from the estimated 54,000 units in the same month the previous year.
The RVIA said both periods set record-high shipments, and estimates of the entire year show continuing strength in the industry key to Indiana’s economy, according to a report.
They also said Indiana factories account for 86% of U.S. RV units. Several thousand people work at dozens of RV manufacturing and supply factories in and around Elkhart County.
“Our latest forecast shows that we’re going to be just under 600,000 RVs for 2022, which is a tick below where we were in 2021,” said Geraci.
As the industry experiences double-digit growth early this year, the sector expects to topple down for the rest of the year as dealers restock their lots, a report said.
“But to put that in context, our previous high in 2017 was just over 500,000. So more running it at 600,000. The RV industry is in great shape. We’re just not expecting double-digit growth like we’ve seen over the past year,” Geraci said.
Geraci said most units are travel trailers, commanding 90% of the wholesale orders, with motorhomes as the balance.
She also said one of the main appeals of RVs is their different shapes, sizes, and prices, making them available to not only retirees but also every age group and lifestyle.
“For first-time RV buyers in 2021, the median age was 33. You’re looking at a lot younger buyers,” said Geraci. “What we’ve really seen is a change in people’s attitudes and priorities over the past two years. People have rediscovered the great outdoors. Both mental and physical health benefits of getting outdoors.”
This article originally appeared on Inside Indiana Business.