Virus pandemic spurring rise in RV sales in northern Indiana

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MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — Dealerships in northern Indiana that sell recreational vehicles are seeing a surge in demand for RVs as people eye summer road trips with their families in place of air travel and cruise ships amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Darryl Searer, president of the RV Museum and Hall of Fame, said RV manufacturers in Elkhart and southern Michigan have worked extensively to fulfill orders for customers tired of being stuck at home. He said RV industry saw record sales last month at dealerships in Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado and Arizona.

“Millennials and young people with families are buying RVs,” Searer told Times. “We’ve been cooped up for 60 days and people want to travel with their own food and bed and schedule and be their own boss. You can take a RV to national parks or to tailgate at football games, whatever your passions are.”

Inquiries have doubled and sales have increased by at least 50% at Recreation Plantation Inc. in Lynwood, just across the state line in Illinois. The RV dealership, family-owned for the past 33 years, is currently run by Ray, Leann and Brandon Benninger.

With the COVID-19 crisis, people see us as the only way to safely travel,” Ray Benninger said.

Pam Argostino, president of Camp-World in Burns Harbor, said business has jumped by at least 10% to 15% from 2019.

“We’re seeing a ton of traffic, a ton of people buying, and a ton of people making appointments, which we’re doing now for safety,” she said. “People are looking to get out to the campgrounds. It’s crazy. We can’t keep up.”

An RV Industry Association survey projects that 46 million Americans will take an RV trip over the next year. About 51% of the survey’s participants attributed their heightened interest in RV camping to health concerns.

“As states across America continue to open up, more and more consumers are looking for ways to get outdoors and recreate responsibly,” RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby said. “RVs provide a great way for consumers to enjoy vacations with their families, while still adhering to social distancing policies that are likely to remain in place in some fashion moving forward.”

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