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Molino Tells FRVTA to Expect ‘Good Year in 2010’

frvta-logoThere are a lot of positive signs out there in the marketplace right now, Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Mike Molino told attendees Saturday (Sept. 12) during the general session of the 29th Annual Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) Convention — including plant openings in Elkhart, a drop in the once-burgeoning level of distressed U.S. RV inventories and positive late season occupancy reports from many campgrounds.

But it wasn’t really news to any of the 175 individuals in attendance at FRVTA’s Sept. 11-13 meetings at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs that the industry continues to face a difficult time.

“It’s tough out there right now,” said Molino. “The most impressive thing I’ve seen is those who are here today and the fact that when we budgeted for the dealer attendance at our convention, which is coming up Oct. 6 in Las Vegas, we budgeted what we thought was a reasonable number. And the dealers have already exceeded that in their registrations.”

Molino, moreover, mirrored general industry sentiment in saying that he looks forward to a better business atmosphere next year. “We’re going to have a good year in 2010,” he said. “It may not be a great year, but it’s certainly going to be a good year, and its certainly going to be better than 2009. So, let’s all look forward to that.”

In remarks preceding those of Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Vice President Gary LaBella’s, Molino said a recent survey of RVDA’s membership revealed that retailers aligned with the national dealer association expressed three main areas of concern:

“Believe it or not, as weird as it may seem, the government we have in place right now is pro-RV,” he added. “It could be a lot worse. It could be like the Carter administration where RVs were portrayed as the enemy. We don’t have that now, and that’s good. And for that we have to thank the great PR effort on the part of RVIA and Mr. (Gary) LaBella here.”

Molino also credited the ongoing efforts of U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, the northern Indiana congressman who has been a “major player” in consistently stepping up and supporting the industry throughout the “Great Recession” in its efforts to secure financing alternatives.

“But it hasn’t worked yet,” he said. “and we’re still trying to figure out why, and there are people in government trying to figure out why. If you guys see that it’s working, please tell us because we’re looking for signs of that. But right now, the banks aren’t lending.”

Molino said there are indeed signs of increasing credit availability.

“But it’s not as good as it was before (the credit crunch,” he said.

“And until it gets better, the industry’s recovery is going to be slow. So, you’ve got to talk it up to your congressmen and senators and bankers. Try to find out what the problem is. You know, the government is making their money available — and insuring the money — and yet we can’t get it out there to the consumer and to the dealer.”

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