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Day 3: Breaking News from Louisville Show

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December 2, 2010 by   Leave a Comment

Thursday, Dec. 2

Thursday, Dec. 2

Following are highlights of some of the developments announced at or reported to RVBUSINESS.com during this week’s 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

2010 National Show Winds Down

The 48th Annual National RV Trade Show is winding down and closes this afternoon.

Thursday, normally the slowest day of the three-day show sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), becomes “Competition Day,” a day for some OEM executives a chance to check out other exhibits.

‘Three manufacturers — two CEOs and a chairman — I spoke with at various social events this week said they have had no time to get out of their own booths. They were looking to see their ‘colleagues’ products’ today,” Kevin Broom, RVIA spokesman, said.

The show closes at 3:30 p.m. and all exhibitors are due out by Friday afternoon.

Next year’s show dates are Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

Lights Out at Freedom Hall

A power outage temporarily dimmed the overhead lighting inside Freedom Hall at the Kentucky Exposition Center Wednesday morning. The outage lasted approximately 10 minutes.

“Power stayed on in the display booths which gave them a festive mood,” Kevin Broom, RVIA spokesman, reported.

Ashurst Active at First RVIA Show

One of the new faces at this week’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., belonged to James Ashurst, the new vice president of advertising and public relations for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

James Ashurst addressing Outlook Breakfast on Tuesday.

James Ashurst addressing Outlook Breakfast on Tuesday.

Ashurst, formerly vice president of communications for the Travel Channel/Scripps Networks Interactive, will lead the award-winning Go RVing advertising and RVIA public relations programs. He succeeds Gary LaBella who is retiring after 32 years with RVIA.

“I really enjoyed being here. it’s been a great experience to cut my teeth on the show, meeting everyone and seeing the show up close and personal,” Ashurst told RVBUSINESS.com.

Ashurst, 37, said he “tried to make every corner” of the show.

Ashurst, who spoke briefly at Tuesday’s Outlook Breakfast, attended “a handfull of meetings and spent a lot of time time on the floor, meeting dealers and manufacturers, trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible with the size and breadth of the industry.”

“One takeaway I have is, everybody told me what a big family the RV industry is. That has become apparent, what a great group of people across all the various categories. Everyone I met has been extremely positive, very welcoming. You just feel the optimism. For someone coming in from the outside, that really motivates me to do everything I can to continue the great work from Gary and his team.”

RVIA Hosts Chinese Visitors

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) hosted approximately 120 representatives of the U.S. RV industry and members of a Chinese trade mission Tuesday night at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Attendance for this introductory meeting between the two countries was evenly split between the U.S. and Chinese.

“We would like to make the China market U.S. RV friendly and we are taking steps to try to accomplish this,” Craig Kirby, RVIA vice president and general counsel told RVBUSINESS.com. “Our focus is on helping our members produce products and export to China or provide any assistance they may need to make joint ventures for the China market.”

The reception drew representatives from leading U.S. manufacturers, including EverGreen RV, Monaco RV LLC, Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp., Thor Industries Inc., Winnebago Industries Inc., Jayco Inc. and MVP RV.

Suppliers included Atwood Mobile Products Inc., Dometic Inc., Detroit Chassis, ASA Electronics, Carefree of Colorado and Generac.

National Media Highlights

The National RV Trade Show received coverage from high-profile national media interested in the industry’s recovery, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported. History has shown the RV industry to be a leading economic indicator — shipments decline in advance of a widespread economic downturn and recover first as well. Reporters from CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Associated Press attended on the first day.

CNBC broadcasted two segments from the show floor in Louisville citing the RV industry’s recovery as an indicator that the economy is improving.

“Our largest demographic is the Baby Boomer, age 50 and above,” RVIA President Richard Coon told the cable network. “But what’s interesting is that the younger generation, those 35 and under, is the fastest growing part of this industry.”

The Wall Street Journal reported the industry will continue to grow in 2011, albeit at a slower pace than the 43% growth the industry enjoyed in 2010.

“Shipments have been rebounding this year after a deep slump that began in 2007 as lenders that finance RVs tightened their standards,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “Shipments from manufacturers this year have surged largely because dealers were rebuilding their stocks from unusually low levels.”

Reports from New York Times and Associated Press are expected in the coming days.

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