Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Scott Devlin of Horizon Transport in Wakarusa, IN at the RVIA trade show in Louisville, KY. (Truth Photo By Tom Fougerousse) ¬ ¬ ¬ (AP)

Marc Hauser (Right) of Grand Design in Middlebury, IN talks with RVIA trade show attendee Steve Richardson of Richardson RV, Riverside CA. (Truth Photo By Tom Fougerousse) ¬ ¬ ¬ (AP)

Scenes from the 50th annual RV Trade Show being held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville this week. ¬ (Photo Supplied) ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ (AP)
National RV Trade Show begins Tuesday

Posted on Dec. 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART – RV industry leaders will meet this week for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s 51st annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

From Tuesday, Dec. 3 through Thursday, Dec. 5, RV and parts and accessories manufacturers will show off their products and vehicle dealers will stock up on what they need all in one place.

Vehicle manufacturers and suppliers are currently moving into their temporary home at the Kentucky Exposition Center to prepare for several industry-focused days.

In the midst of another successful year and keeping an eye on the future, this year’s trade show will celebrate the recovery of an industry hit hard by the recession of 2008.

The show brings RV businesspeople from around the country together in one space for a productive week; 2,980 dealers and warehouse distributors, 3,675 exhibitor personnel and 957 non-exhibiting manufacturers, suppliers and guests attended the 2012 show.

Last year’s show also featured 299 exhibitors, including 64 vehicle and chassis manufacturers and 235 suppliers of vehicle parts, services and accessories.

The coming days will not only be a chance to buy and sell. Seminars on sales and business practices and the 2014 industry outlook will also be offered to show attendees.

The national show is a big deal for the Elkhart County area, which boasts about 83 percent of RV production according to the RVIA.

The show’s significance to area manufacturers has changed in recent years, however, as The Elkhart Truth reported in September.

The emergence of September’s Elkhart RV Open House has resulted in that event — rather than the national show — becoming the biggest buying event for local RV businesses. But the national show in Louisville remains the industry staple after more than a half-century.

One thing industry players can expect is an upbeat week. A recent release from the RVIA said RV ownership stands at a record-high 8.5 percent of U.S. households, or 8.9 million households total.

“This year’s show demonstrates the strength of our industry’s recovery,” RVIA president Richard Coon said in a separate release.

Another release noted that 2013 shipments are expected to be up 8.4 percent from last year. The projected 309,800 units would represent the first time since 2007 that RV shipments eclipsed the 300,000 mark.

The projected shipment totals come on the heels of a 13.3 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 and a 4.1 percent increase from 2010 to 2011.

With the industry riding a wave of four consecutive years of growth, RV dealers and manufacturers will use this week in Louisville to celebrate the recent successes and continue to lay groundwork for the future.

Schedule highlights

Tuesday, Dec. 3

7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.: “Outlook: Everywhere” program

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Exhibit floor/show open

Wednesday, Dec. 4

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.: “Selling Has Nothing to Do with Selling” seminar

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Exhibit floor/show open

Thursday, Dec. 5

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.: “Increasing Your Sales Power to New Levels of Excellence” seminar

9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Exhibit floor/show open