B.J, Thompson

 The RV industry is making products that are not only environmentally friendly but also accepted by the  majority of the RVing public, a  spokesman for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)  told an audience in Elkhart, Ind., on Monday (April 6).

 B.J. Thompson, an RVIA board member, chairman of the PR committee and a member of the Go  RVing Coalition, noted during the  panel discussion hosted by U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.,  “Right  now, we are seeing manufacturers  and suppliers that are building products that are greener and more  energy-efficient than ever before.”

 The forum was titled “Investing in Tomorrow’s Jobs Today” and Thompson illustrated how the RV industry is already moving toward the future.  For example:

  • On supplier side, Dometic Corp. is offering RV appliances that are feature environmentally friendly coolants and energy-save features.
  •  Winnebago Industries Inc. is building a Class A motorhome on a Frieghtliner hybrid
     chassis that is 20% more efficient than other Class A motorhomes.
  • Jayco Inc., Forest River Inc. and Coachmen RV are building Class C motorhomes on fuel-efficient Sprinter chassis.
  • Other manufacturers are building ultralight travel trailers using composite materials.

Thompson cited recent RVIA research that showed 64% of consumers said they would pay more for a green RV that offers environmentally-friendly components, and that almost half of the respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay up to 25% more for these units.

“This news is not lost on RV manufacturers and suppliers,” he said.

Further, he noted other surveys that show RVing leaves 50% less of a carbon imprint than a traditional vacation involving air travel, car and hotel accommodations.

Thompson also acknowledged the work Donnelly has done for the RV industry. He spoke privately with Donnelly following the panel discussion.

“I got the sense he is very much committed to helping us out just about any way we can ask him to help us,” Thompson told RVBusiness. “He does genuinely seem to be committed to helping us. I’m glad we have him on our side, along with Congressmen (U.S. Rep. Mark) Souder and Sen. (Evan) Bayh.”