ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — Recreation vehicle industry officials say the backlog of thousands of new RVs sitting in northern Indiana lots has lessened as companies have found more delivery drivers.
Officials estimated at least 25,000 RVs were parked around the Elkhart area this spring and that some 2,000 drivers were needed to get them to dealerships around the country.
"We figure the backlog should be gone 90 percent by the end of July and 100 percent by the end of August," Dianne Farrell, vice president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, told The Elkhart Truth (http://bit.ly/1wuFlBw ).
Company executives said they've been able to hire more drivers in recent months and some have started paying higher per-mile fees to drivers. The RV industry association set up a website for hiring transport drivers and word spread.
Andy Swain, office manager at Indiana Transport, said its inventory awaiting delivery has dropped from about 1,600 vehicles three months ago to fewer than 500. It is now taking one to two weeks to deliver a vehicle — down from four weeks, he said.
Elkhart County factories were responsible for about 83 percent of the country's 2012 RV production, according to the industry association.
"Our mission is to get ahead of the driver shortage in 2015," Farrell said of a new coalition formed to seek exemptions from commercial driver license and other federal requirements for some drivers.
Joe Braun, vice president of Wakarusa-based Horizon Transport, said he's still worried about future driver shortages since fewer deliveries are made during the winter.
"Every transporter faces the same immovable obstacle, the apparent impossibility of sustaining a fleet throughout the lean winter months," he said.
Information from: The Elkhart Truth, http://www.elkharttruth.com