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RVIA’s California Show Posts Attendance Growth

October 20, 2014 by   Leave a Comment

Steve Hauser and Pablo Camona look on as Tom Gaither affixes the RVIA seal to the Genesis travel trailer built at the California RV Show. (Photo courtesy of RVIA)

Steve Hauser and Pablo Camona look on as Tom Gaither affixes the RVIA seal to the Genesis travel trailer built at the California RV Show. (Photo courtesy of RVIA)

Following a strong first weekend, the 10-day 62nd California RV Show that ended Sunday (Oct. 19) set a post-recession record of 33,269 visitors, up 15.1% over last year.

“This show is turning the corner,” said Tom Gaither, western RV show director for the sponsoring Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “The California market is better. The California economy is back on.

“The overall take is that the buying public was very, very strong. Some of the dealers will tell you they had record sales. Giant RV (of Montclair, Calif.) told me they had their best sales ever.”

Nearly 10,000 people attended RVIA’s retail show Saturday and Sunday.

About 1,200 units offered by 35 manufacturers and 15 dealers, including 150 RVs that were available for test drives, were shown in the 800,000-square-foot display area at the Fairplex in Pomona.

As they did the first weekend, Class B motorhomes did particularly well during the entire run of the show.

“All of the Class B manufacturers said they had a great show,” Gaither said.

“Tent campers and entry-level trailers didn’t seem very strong. Toy haulers did well, though. California is toy hauler country where people can take them out into the desert to play,” he said.

Bigger crowds but fewer children was the attendance trend this year.

Bigger crowds but fewer children was the attendance trend this year.

The crowd, Gaither reported, was decidedly older.

“I had one dealer point out to me that children seemed to have been replaced by dogs,” Gaither said. “I looked around, and he was right. What that means is that these were empty-nesters who have money and they are buying middle- to high-end RVs.”

Airstream2Go — headed by former Thor Industries Inc. executive Dicky Riegel — that rents Airstream trailers and luxury tow vehicles, hosted more than 50 test drives during the run of the show, Gaither said.

Among the attractions over the weekend was the Saturday appearance by singer Bret Michaels, an avid RVer, and the completion on Sunday of a travel trailer built onsite by Genesis Supreme, a new RVIA member in Perris, Calif. ”At 3 p.m. Sunday we put the RVIA seal on it,” Gaither said.

Visitors also saw historian David Woodworth’s 1931 Model A Ford towing a 1931 trailer, and were able to catch a ride in his Model T Ford. The owners of about 25 vintage RVs camped on the grounds during the show. ”The vintage trailers were a very popular attraction,” said Gaither, who now will turn his attention to the inaugural Spring California RV Show scheduled for April 15-19 at the Fairplex.

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