The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Fri May 19, 2017
PORTLAND, Oregon - Daimler Trucks North America celebrated the completion and official opening of its new High Desert Proving Grounds in Madras, Oregon.
The total High Desert Proving Grounds project required an $18.7 million investment by DTNA. Work began in June 2015 to clear the land with construction commencing in May 2016 by general contractor Kirby Nagelhout. The new proving grounds provide two distinct functions: firstly to merge real-world validation of DTNA’s research and development and engineering initiatives and secondly to help bring new technologies to market faster than ever before.
The 87-acre High Desert Proving Grounds is critical for assurance of reliability, durability and fuel efficiency for Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses and Freightliner Custom Chassis vehicles. The track will serve as a key component in the company’s ongoing testing in the areas of truck platooning and autonomous vehicles.
“Daimler Trucks North America is the undisputed leader of the North American commercial vehicle market," Daimler Trucks President and CEO Roger Nielsen says. "That doesn’t happen by accident; it takes countless hours of research and development, testing and validation to engineer and deliver products that pace the industry in safety and fuel economy. The opening of this facility will ensure the future reliability of our products, as well as expedite of future technologies that enhance our customers’ bottom line.”
Attending the facility’s grand opening celebration were Nielsen; Wilfried Achenbach, senior vice president of engineering; and Madras Mayor Royce Embanks. Additional local and state officials as well as trade and local media attended to witness the opening.
“This is a great day for Madras," Embanks says. "Having Daimler Trucks North America invest in our city is a testament of a long partnership. Daimler Trucks North America has a long history with the City of Madras and the partnership has been a win-win for both parties. We look forward to the future and supporting the undisputed market leader in the commercial vehicle industry.”
The High Desert Proving Grounds is located about 120 miles southeast of DTNA’s Portland Headquarters, allowing the engineering team easy access to the testing facility. The proximity to the engineering team and variable climate options were vital pieces of the location selection. The route from Portland to Madras also provides vehicles real world validation by including portions on the interstate, rural roads and mountainous terrain through the Mount Hood pass. Most recently the route has been used to validate potential gains of truck platooning, just one technology that DTNA is exploring for the future benefit of the long-haul fleet customers.
“The new High Desert Proving Grounds give our engineers the resources to rapidly and accurately evaluate advances in the areas of safety, fuel efficiency and connectivity,” Achenbach says. "Together with our full scale wind tunnel other state of the art engineering test facilities in Portland, the proving grounds will help us stay ahead of the competition.”
The test track is 3.5 miles of highly engineered surfaces that allow engineers to simulate a typical vehicle’s full service life in about six months. The 32,000 square foot office building will be home to up to 40 employees, the majority of which will be hired locally, with responsibility for both driving and test engineering.
Additionally, there are 14 service bays for technicians to work on and inspect the fleet of durability test vehicles.
Daimler Trucks North America was founded by Leland James more than 70 years ago as Consolidated Freightways before becoming Freightliner Corporation in Portland in 1947. In 1981, Daimler-Benz AG (now Daimler AG), one of the world’s premier automotive companies and builder of heavy-duty commercial vehicles, purchased Freightliner Trucks from Consolidated Freightways, and in the following decade, vehicle sales more than doubled. With its vast technological resources, Daimler-Benz helped Freightliner Trucks reach the top of the North American heavy-duty truck market by 1992. Today, DTNA is North America’s leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles, selling about 140,000 commercial vehicles annually, including significant export sales worldwide.