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Vernon Miller, Frances Hoyt and Chris Miller work to finish cabinet doors to be installed inside Grand Design's new Solitude model recreational vehicle Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, in Middlebury. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Vernon Miller and Chris Miller work to finish cabinet doors to be installed inside Grand Design's new Solitude model recreational vehicle Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, in Middlebury. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Randy Burkholder attaches an overhead on a wall as he works on a Crusader RV from Prime Time in Wakarusa Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Prime Time has moved into a couple of the former Utilimaster buildings following Forest River's purchase recently. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) ¬ ¬ ¬ (AP)

Workers position a side wall into place as they construct a RV unit at Prime Time in Wakarusa Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Prime Time has started production in a couple of the former Utilimaster buildings following Forest River's purchase recently. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) ¬ ¬ ¬ (AP)
RV industry rebounding in 2013

Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:08 p.m.

GOSHEN — The RV industry saw just over 30 percent growth in January, a major surge into the new year, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association announced Tuesday, Feb. 26.

The shipments of 24,379 RVs in advance of the spring/summer buying season bodes well for Elkhart County, which produces 83 percent of all RVs in the U.S. and Canada, according to the RVIA.

The total was 30.5 percent higher than in January, 2012, according to the RVIA. “All vehicle categories participated in the gains this month,” said RVIA spokesman Bill Baker. The biggest growth in sheer numbers came in conventional travel trailers, according to RVIA spokesman Bill Baker. They saw 35.3 percent growth, with more than 15,000 shipping out in January.

Class A and C motorhomes both saw shipment boosts of 30 percent more in January than in the previous January, Baker pointed out. In fact, the big Class A motorhomes grew by 30.9 percent, shipping nearly 1,400, while the smaller Class C motorhomes saw a rise of 38.6 percent, shipping more than 1,000 to dealers.

If normal trends hold out, those numbers will rise in February and March during the peak season of RV shows aimed at consumers.

A number of manufacturers have reported their own growth in the first quarter, including Thor, Patrick Industries and Prime Time RV.

Three months ago Richard Coon, RVIA president, told The Elkhart Truth that he was concerned that industry demand could outpace production this year if demand grows beyond roughly four percent.

However, since then the RV industry has announced plans to add production.

Grand Design RV started production north of Middlebury last month, and Forest River bought the Utilimaster campus in Wakarusa and immediately began production of RVs there.