The chief executive officer of Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO) says the RV industry is actually seeing increased demand for motorhomes amid the coronavirus pandemic. Bob Martin says as transportation options remain limited and traditional vacation plans are being adjusted, more people are opting to get away in an RV. The company itself has resumed operations at some of its facilities.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Martin said dealerships are seeing a rise in demand as business and operations return to a state of semi-normalcy.
“Every week over the last three weeks, we’ve been feeling the traffic on our dealers’ lots pick up, and they’ve learned to operate their business in a different way. The first two weeks it was a struggle. There were a lot of shutdowns,” said Martin.
Martin says part of an RV’s appeal has always been the ability for owners to be self-sufficient, and amid the pandemic, RVers have complete control over their personal health and safety measures.
“People that like an RV typically like the fact that they can take their own food, they can eat healthier, they can cook their own food, they know who’s cooked it, their bed has their own linens, their own comfy pillow, their towels,” said Martin.
The company says about half of its factories across the Midwest and northwest reopened the first week of May, with most of the rest reopening the following week. Thor says it is operating at about 80% of normal capacity and will increase as demand warrants.
As for reopening the plants, Martin says the company did it in a calculated fashion by opening parts at different times.
“For the industry, I think it’ll be something that is probably more than a phenomenon during this because once people start the lifestyle they typically continue on for many years and trade into different vehicles as time permits. We’re hoping this is a positive for a long time,” Martin concluded.
Martin says dealerships are seeing a rise in demand as business and operations return to a state of semi-normalcy.