In a move that could have important long-term implications for the RV transportation business, Chicago-based RV retailer Camping World Inc. formally expanded into the RV transport business during a Thursday (Oct. 17) ribbon-cutting ceremony on the west side of Elkhart, Ind., introducing its new CWRV Transport LLC.
“We were actually breathed into life, so to speak, by Camping World, who decided as the largest RV dealership in the country, they wanted to take control of their deliveries. This is a new model in this industry,” said Dave Miller, president of CWRV Transport.
Miller, a former Elkhart mayor, said “most of the manufacturers hire their transportation, and so all of the transportation companies work generally for the manufacturers. Camping World decided they wanted to do it differently. They wanted to control that.”
Roger Nuttall, Camping World retail group president, said, “For us, it’s logistics, trying to make sure we’ve got the inventory in our dealerships as quickly as we possibly can. Having this transportation does that, gives us the opportunity to get them quicker so we can sell more and keep more manufacturers busy.”
Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises Inc., said, “it was really asset management for us. Can we get our inventory quicker? Can we sell it faster? Can we re-order quicker?”
Nuttall said the transport company has made a significant difference at Camping World dealerships already. “We’ve been able to take off about three to three-and-a-half days on delivery,” he said.
CWRV Transport hired about 120 drivers in five weeks, and the business is on the way to between 600 and 700 drivers by January, Miller said. “We’ve got a lot more to do to grow this little company to meet Camping World’s needs. They buy an awful lot of product that’s made here in Elkhart.”
At the moment, CWRV Transport is strictly moving models from Thor’s companies to Camping World’s 100 U.S. stores, which currently account for somewhere between 18% and 22 % of total U.S. retail sales.. “We aren’t even scratching the surface of how much they buy,” Miller said. But as they ramp up he expects CWRV to handle units from all manufacturers and to pick up transport between Camping World stores.
“Once we’ve taken care of Camping World, we anticipate expanding further and serving other dealers,” Miller said.
Miller, who formerly worked at Horizon Transport, said they’re working hard to recruit drivers, but “we’re not here to rob transport companies.” In fact, Horizon is helping CWRV Transport get off the ground, Miller said.
Miller said the new venture is drawing drivers from the membership of the Good Sam Club, an affiliate of Camping World’s, as well as from the ranks of Camping World’s rolling stock and aftermarket parts & accessories customer base. “We have some locals, but there’s people from Oregon, Texas, Alabama,” Miller said.
CWRV Transport pays higher rates than the industry average, has no Canadian deliveries, no washing requirements and guaranteed drop-off times that vary no more than 30 minutes at Camping World stores, Miller said.
“This thing is only going to get bigger, and I’m glad people are buying RVs,” Miller said.