COVID causes cancellation of Elkhart RV Dealer Open House event

One of the United States’ most important RV shows, the Elkhart RV Dealer Open House, has been cancelled for the second year running due to concerns over a rise in coronavirus cases. The event, which sees many of the regions RV makers display models to the industry and public, was cancelled after big names including Thor Industries, Forest River and Winnebago all decided not to participate after an increase of coronavirus cases in the region driven by the Delta variant. It was set to take place from 27 September to 1 October 2021 at Elkhart East Corporate Park.

A joint release from Forest River and Thor Industries stating their intention not to go ahead with the event explained that the two companies’ top priority is the health and safety of valued industry partners, team members, and the larger Elkhart community. It read: “With local and national COVID cases rapidly increasing, safety mandates would be required to help mitigate risks, distracting from the positive experience industry partners expect.  

“The cancellation of Open House is the right thing to do in order to protect the health of all stakeholders, officials said, while also helping alleviate disruption to production at a time when delivering new RVs is critical to the industry’s continued success. Forest River and THOR continue to be focused on delivering quality products to their respective dealer partners.”

Pete Liegl, CEO of Forest River Inc, said:“After reviewing all of the factors, we determined it was in everyone’s’ best interest and the safest, most responsible course of action to cancel the Expo this year. The community and dealers always welcome this event, but with COVID rates increasing across the country, we do not want to put our dealers, employees, or the community at any additional risk.” 

While Thor president and CEO Bob Martin added:“With a heavy heart, we’re canceling this year’s dealer event. Our companies remain steadfast on delivering exceptional RVs to our dealer partners. While we are eager to share the exciting innovation we’ve been developing across our brands, we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our trusted partners, team members, and community.”

Shortly after this announcement, Winnebago Industries issued their own statement saying that their primary focus continues to be the health and safety of team members, dealers, and the communities they serve. It read: “Given recent developments, Winnebago Industries will not be hosting traditional Dealer Open House activities in Elkhart, Indiana in September. We firmly believe this decision, made in consultation with our Winnebago, Grand Design RV, and Newmar brand businesses is the appropriate course of action at this time. Each of our RV companies will continue to work closely with our dealers to ensure they have access to the latest products, updates and information as well as sales and service support.”