Despite four dollar a gallon gasoline, not all is gloom and doom for the local R-V industry.
In fact, sales are up 15-percent this year at the Elkhart firm known as the “Little Trailer Company, Inc.”
There, talk about downsizing is actually a good thing, because it’s the customers who are downsizing, not the company.
“We've had people been here before that have bought our product that have downsized from fifth wheels and motor homes,” said Tom Pontius.
“So many people are downsizing their cars, and people still want to travel, camp, and our trailer fits that small four cylinder car.”
The product is known as the tear drop trailer. The smallest model holds cargo, while the largest unit sleeps four.
A half dozen new hires have come aboard in the past few months. Total employment is now up to 18. The workers typically make four to five new units a day.
The design of the product itself has not changed. What has made it more popular, is the dramatic change in the price of gasoline.
The management finds the situation both sweet, and sour, at the same time.
“I mean it's been good to us,” said Pontius: “Because this has happened, but by no means, I’ve got a lot of friends in the business that aren't as fortunate right now and I hate to see that happen to the business.”
The tiny teardrop trailer design actually dates back to the 1940’s. The units were invented before cars had the power to pull anything heavier.