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 .
Thu Oct 12, 2017
Author: Scott Hansen
In an effort to provide customization options and attract a wider range of RV enthusiasts, Winnebago Industries has been offering handicap accessible options on many of its motorhomes for more than 20 years.
Sonya Kobriger, Winnebago’s sales representative for commercial and specialty vehicles, says the company has had the ability to add, delete or shuffle things around on the production line if customers ask for handicap accessible features.
For example, if a customer wants a wheelchair lift added to the coach, Winnebago’s team can delete a window out of the design, giving the engineers the required floor space to add a lift.
Winnebago had been customizing motorhomes even before 1997 to allow for handicap accessible features, but at that time, the technicians were attempting to retrofit already-completed RVs with the handicap accessible options.
“We’re unique, in that accessibility means different things to different people,” Kobriger says. “Some people need wider aisles, a custom bath, wheelchair systems. Depending on what that person or family will need kind of dictates what we change. Somebody who uses a wheelchair full-time might not want a class B. A lot of consideration goes into that and we try to customize to suit that person and spend a good amount of time trying to accommodate their needs.”
Depending on the physical limitations, Winnebago can simply add a coach lift, which lifts the person from the ground to the main floor of the motorhome. If other things need to be updated as well, the company can add a power roll-up door, ceiling track systems, roll-in showers, adjustable beds, raised toilets, roll-under lavatory sinks and other reconfigurations based on the customer input.
Kobriger says the handicap accessible features fill a very real need in the marketplace and the ability to customize many of the RVs coming off the production line give Winnebago an advantage.
“I would say they’re very popular,” she says. “There’s quite a need for accessible motorhomes. Here, we customize to order. They’re not all built in the exact same length. There’s a number of things we can do to make them accessible. Our dealers have been happy about it as well, because they can also reach a customer that they couldn’t reach before.”
While Winnebago can attempt to customize any type of RV for the customer’s wants, a simple fact is that some floorplans and some types of motorhomes work better than others in handicap accessibility. For example, a customer with mobility issues who has to move in a wheelchair would have an easier time moving around in a type A coach rather than a B van, Kobriger says. But it’s all about giving the customer what they want, so changes can be made to many of the company’s RV lines to accommodate accessibility.
Additionally, it’s not just the handicap accessible options that the company can customize inside, but Kobriger says other personal preferences can be added in or moved around, such as a sofa instead of a dinette and other tweaks to some feature sin the floorplans.
Winnebago Public Relations’ Sam Jefson says the customization extends to other parts of the specialty vehicle segment, allowing the company to make several units for various applications that allow them to get into other industries and other markets.
“We do these for mobile medical clinics, marketing motorhomes, even classrooms on wheels,” Jefson says. “One cool motorhome we did this past year was a history 101 mobile museum with the state of Iowa that included a lot of Iowa history and it’s traveling across all 99 counties in the state. There is a wide array of options we can customize to order.”