A stream of Canadian-owned recreational vehicles heading south on Interstate 15 as Darcy Turgeon returned from a recent California RV vacation gives him hope for strong sales in the RV industry.
Turgeon, chairman of the Edmonton RV Exposition and Sale, said he couldn’t believe the number of motorhomes heading for a place in the sun. Baby Boomers are part of the group heading south. They have long been a commercial force in any market category they enter, and they’re expected to exert more influence on RV sales, The Edmonton Journal reported.
“Boomers want to enjoy the RV lifestyle,” said Turgeon, saying that he expects boomers will buy more motorhomes than travel trailers.
Several factors have come together to help sales in Canada’s fourth largest province, such as low interest rates, banks starting to loosen up on making loans and longer terms on loans, he said.
Dan Merkowsky, executive vice president of the RV Dealers Association of Alberta, expects prices will be attractive since there is more competition in the industry and dealers have sharpened their pencils.
On the eve of the 31st annual show, RV dealers are “pretty optimistic,” Turgeon said. “All indications point to a better year this year than last year.”
That continues the turnaround that began in 2010. Merkowsky said last year was better than 2009, when sales suffered due to the economic slump.
The RV show will be held at the Edmonton Expo Center (formerly known as the AgriCom) at Edmonton Northlands from Feb. 10 to Feb. 13. The show will fill all ground-level halls of the Expo Center.
“Edmonton and area consumers will be guaranteed a great selection of new RVs, with more than 400 RV units on display, including tent trailers, travel trailers, fifth-wheels, park models and motorhomes,” Merkowsky said.
“The show’s varied exhibitors will showcase many related RV services, products and tourism destinations,” he said. “The popular RV Lifestyle Theater will present speakers with topics ranging from solar panels and maintenance tips to travel destinations.”
There will be one change in the dealer displays, since Otto Mobiles shut down during 2010. That exhibit space has been taken by All Star RV.
Merkowsky said Otto Mobile’s product lines have been picked up by other dealers, with Trailblazer RV now selling Bigfoot trailers and truck campers, RV City selling Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. camper vans and Grove RV handling Triple E motorhomes.
Bigfoot has resumed building RVs with a smaller product line after being closed for more than a year.
Roadmaster RV will have the largest display, with 29,000 square feet of exhibitor space, while Woody’s RV will pack the most units of any dealer at the show into its 24,800-square-foot space, Merkowsky said.
He expects there will be many new units for consumers to check out, including about 20 new products. There will be a variety of revamped floor plans and new colour schemes.
Both Turgeon and Merkowsky expect to see more lightweight travel trailers. Turgeon expects to see lots of lightweight units, but perhaps not as many big fifth-wheel trailers. These lighter trailers mean campers don’t have to buy a large tow vehicle.
Show visitors will have the opportunity to participate in several contests in which they could win a $2,000 shopping spree at Safeway, a one-week stay at Alberta Beach Golf Resort and RV Park or $50,000 toward the purchase of any RV on display at the show.
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