31 March 2020
31 March 2020, Comments Comments Off on Production paused as global caravan industry responds to COVID-19
Production paused as global caravan industry responds to COVID-19

Across the world, most caravan, motorhome and RV manufacturers have now temporarily stopped production, and their retailers have closed, in response to lockdowns and social distancing measures imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the UK, all British manufacturers (Bailey of Bristol. Swift Group, Coachman and the Explorer Group) have closed their production facilities and do not expect open them again until late April or early May.

Bailey of Bristol said: “Regrettable as this action may be, the health and wellbeing of our employees remains our main priority and we are therefore keen that they are able to follow Government advice to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. At present we are planning to return to work on Tuesday 21st April subject to further guidance.”

The Swift Group said: “In response to recent Government announcements we have made the decision to suspend all our business activities with immediate effect and we will also suspend our social media presence. The health and wellbeing of our employees, customers, dealers and suppliers remains our priority and we are keen to ensure that people are able to follow Government advice and stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Our planned return to work is Monday 4th of May, subject to further advice.”

The situation is very similar in north America. Thor Industries, Inc. announced its production shutdown, saying: “As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, Thor remains focused on the safety of its employees, their families, and all of the communities in which we operate.  The concern for the safety of our people is always paramount but the situation of today is unique and calls for action.  As state governments, including Indiana and Ohio where a substantial number of our production facilities exist, declare statewide emergencies requiring their citizens to stay at home except for limited circumstances, Thor is today announcing the temporary suspension of all of its production in North America.  Additionally, a substantial portion of our production in Europe is temporarily suspended as well.”

Production at Winnebago Industries has also stopped for the time being at its Winnebago, Grand Design RV, Newmar, and Chris-Craft facilities. This is anticipated to last until April 12th.

“As this global situation continues to rapidly evolve, our top priority is the health and well-being of our employees, business partners, customers and communities,” said Winnebago Industries President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Happe. “We are also seeing demand for our products shift dramatically as the nation takes appropriate action to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This decision is not an easy one, but we are confident it is in the best interests of all our stakeholders. During this time, we will remain flexible with operations that can provide products related to the support of mobile health care, command centers and other logistical needs that local, state and Federal resources may require during this crisis.”