The Go RVing public relations team served as on-the-ground guide in Elkhart to a team of journalists from Agence France-Presse, an international news service that provides stories and content in six languages to media outlets in 151 countries.
During a snowy day, AFP visited Grand Design and Riverside RVs where they toured the manufacturing facilities and conducted interviews with Grand Design President Don Clark and Director of Operations Support, Ann Spratt. At Riverside, they spoke with General Manager Mervin Lehman.
The story focused on RVs as bellwethers of the economy because they are discretionary purchases that consumers typically make when they’re feeling comfortable about their economic futures.
“In the northeastern patch of Indiana centered around Elkhart, the verdict from the RV industry appeared to be that the economy — a key factor in whether President Donald Trump is re-elected — seems strong, although a notch less than recently,” reported AFP.
“A lot of people think that RVs are an economic indicator and in many ways it is, because a recreational vehicle is not a have-to-have, it’s a want-to-have,” said Don Clark, CEO of Grand Design, a maker of high-end RVs started in 2012.
AFP also interviewed Sherman Goldenberg from RV Business, and Eric Sims, an economist at Notre Dame in South Bend. All agreed that the industry is doing well, though a bit below the record level of production in 2017.