The jury’s in, so to speak, on the latest RVBusiness/Blue Ox Survey question, and industry respondents have returned their most lopsided decision to date on the question of whether the North American recreational vehicle industry, for a variety of reasons, should better coordinate its new model introductions.
A commanding 88% of those posting their opinions say they’d prefer a more coordinated new model introduction cycle – something more akin to the auto industry where new releases all debut in a relatively narrow window of time, most likely in the fall. Only 12% would prefer to see things stay the way they are, where new models debut virtually non-stop year-round, from April to April.
Here’s the essence of what people were telling us in the latest round of a periodic survey sponsored by Blue Ox, the Pender, Neb.-based RV industry supplier, and administered by RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.com:
“For dealers in the north, model change happens in the middle of the spring show season. Hardly fair to be competing in an already tough market with perceived non-current inventory that the dealers carried all winter. August/September would be the best time for model change allowing for a structured retailing program year round and especially for dealing non-current models.” — Anonymous
“Follow more closely to what the U.S. auto industry does.” — Anonymous
“Credibility is lost when a manufacturer jumps a model year prior to a calendar year (Ex: 2013 models sold in 2011). The industry regulating the timing for model year change-over would be a great thing to add consumer confidence to an industry lacking notable guidance.” — Brad, Southern RV
“I would rather be selling 2013s instead of 2012s. Early introduction allows 20 months or more before your product becomes aged in the public’s mind. You can get more for the 2013 than your competitor across town selling a similar 2012 model. You have all spring and summer to get rid of your 2012s. Dealers who want to keep ordering 2012s all spring and summer have things bass-ackwards, In my opinion, if you should get overstocked in the spring and summer, better to be overstocked with 2013s!” — Lee Litchfield, Lee’s RV Superstore
“Having a consistent dated new model introduction would level the playing field for those that come out early to get an advantage. More importantly, dealers being mfg partners, would respond better and could plan consistent inventory and consistent purchasing without fear of what dealers will receive in when built. — Rob Reid, President, Great Lakes RV Center
“New model release dates are part of the marketing plan by the manufacturer and the manufacturer must decide in concert with his dealers what is best. If dealers don’t like the release dates by their manufacturing partner, then they should change brands.” — Anonymous
“I think it would be great if they could be on a coordinated approach so that our customers aren’t so confused about new models b/c new car models come out next month for the 2013 year, so why not something like that for trailers? It also messes up the values of the previous year model, even if it was built the same year, dealers don’t want to keep having to drop the price for ‘last year’s model’ because a new model came out two months later. They (the manufacturers) need to agree on a coordinated approach to improve the overall RV business as a whole, and I know quality is not the main topic here, but a lot of them are still building substandard units and customers can tell.” — Anonymous
“A more coordinated approach to new model introductions would make it easier on all parties involved. However, I seriously doubt that the process can be controlled and monitored to the point that all manufacturers would comply.” – Keith Griffin, Bison Coach, LLC, A Navistar Company
“It would be great if they would all follow one release date unfortunately it all boils down to the almighty dollar. If brand “X” can get their latest greatest out before Brand “A” then the dealers will use their floorplan money to buy brand “X” with none left for brand “A”. This is the same reason the mfg shows have started in Elkhart, IN two months before the Louisville show to try to get the dealers to use all their money so they don’t have anything to spend at Louisville.” — Anonymous
Look for a new RVB/Blue Ox Survey question — on foreign trade — early next week.
Blue Ox, a key supplier of towing and hitching products, has introduced two new solutions to assist RVers with dinghy towing.
According to a press release, the new LED taillight wiring kits are not only brighter than standard bulb and socket kits, but are also smaller for easier installation. The kits install independent of the towed vehicle’s wiring, preventing back feed or warranty issues with the vehicle manufacturer. They’re available in both clear and red as a complete wiring kit or 10 packs of bulbs only.
Blue Ox’s fuse bypass switches are available in four different models. The switches provide a convenient alternative to the constant removal and re-installation of the fuse when changing from the towed mode to the driving mode.
The swithces offer a simple, one-time installation of the fuse switch allows for push button activation and deactivation of the fuse.
Blue Ox, Pender, Neb., has introduced the TailGator, allowing the transport of ATV’s, golf carts or other oversized vehicles without risking damage to the truck’s tailgate.
According to a press release, the TailGator was built to prevent damage and add support for the tailgate cables from undue stress.
It pins directly into any standard 2-inch receiver, eliminating the additional strain on the tailgate. Load capacity is rated at 1,000 pounds.
For more information on the TailGator and their complete line of towing and hitch systems contact Blue Ox, visit www.blueox.com.
Killer Bees LLC and Blue Ox jointly announced that Blue Ox will serve as the primary sponsor of the #96 car driven by Ben Kennedy in the NASCAR K & N Pro Series East on Thursday (April 28) in Richmond International Speedway, Richmond, Va.
Blue Ox, of Pender, Neb., is a leading manufacturer of recreational vehicle and towing industry supplies and accessories.
“As the third generation owner of a family business, I am personally very excited to sponsor the #96 car this weekend,” Jay Hesse, president of Blue Ox, said in a news release. “Ben and his family’s time-honored foundation in NASCAR are a perfect reflection of Blue Ox’s respected tradition as the leader in the towing industry.”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series features separate schedules and championships for the East and West, and makes up the top step of the NASCAR Home Tracks ladder. A launching pad for developmental drivers, as evidenced by the national series success of recent graduates Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Carmichael and Austin Dillon, the K&N Pro Series East has become the destination for the best up-and-coming prospects to launch their NASCAR careers, and the destination for fans to get a glimpse of the starts of tomorrow.
For more information on Blue Ox and the complete line of Blue Ox weight distribution and gooseneck hitches, towing and braking systems, steering controls systems, track bars, sport carriers and accessories contact Blue Ox, 1 Mill Road, Industrial Park, Pender, NE 68047; (402) 385-3051; fax (402) 385-3360; e-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.blueox.com.
Blue Ox, a leader in the recreational vehicle and towing industry, has signed on as the official race entitlement sponsor of the opening event of the Spring NASCAR Weekend at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. The Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East runs on Thursday (April 28), kicking off the action-packed weekend, according to a news release.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series features separate schedules and championships for the East and West, and makes up the top step of the NASCAR Home Tracks ladder —a launching pad for developmental drivers and home for veterans of motorsports. In addition to producing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series has served as the starting point for some of the top up-and-coming talent now in NASCAR’s three national series, including Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Ryan Truex.
For additional information on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, log on to www.NASCARHomeTracks.com – the ultimate online destination for fans of all of NASCAR’s developmental series.
Tickets for the Thursday Blue Ox 100 will be available for online purchase at www.rir.com or by calling (866) 455-7223. All seats are general admission and children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.
The weekend continues on Friday with the BBA burger 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Friday’s ticket includes Wawa Pole Qualifying and practice for the Sprint Cup Series, as well as NBC12 Pole Qualifying and practice for the Nationwide Series.
On Saturday night, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Richmond International Raceway as Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400. Hometown hero Denny Hamlin will square off with defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and the rest of the Sprint Cup Series.
Blue Ox is now offering a simple way to increase the ease of use on your current weight distribution hitch. The same Rotating Latch Brackets that are found on the Blue Ox SwayPro weight distributing and sway-control hitch are now available to separately to fit other weight distribution hitches, according to a news release. While most hitches on the market today utilize snap-up chain brackets which allow the chain to sway freely, the Signature Series Rotating Latch Bracket’s wrap-around design secures the chain thus reducing sway. The rotating latch enables you to hook up much quicker and with less hassle than traditional snap-up methods, and will improve the amount of clearance for enclosed trailer frames, propane bottles and battery compartments. Blue Ox Rotating Latch Brackets will be available in both clamp-on (84-0166) and bolt-on options (84-0167), and will fit any hitch that uses chains. For more information on the Blue Ox Rotating Latch Brackets and the complete line of Blue Ox towing and braking systems, steering controls systems, sport carriers and accessories contact Blue Ox, One Mill Road, Industrial Park, Pender, NE 68047; phone 402-385-3051; fax 402-385-3360; e-mail; email@example.com, website www.blueox.us.
Blue Ox has opened a new engineering facility in Lincoln, Neb.
Located at 2331 Fairfield, the 4,400-square-foot facility will be devoted entirely to the design of new products and improvements to the company’s existing product line of towing products, hitches, braking systems, steering controls, carriers and fifth-wheel accessories, according to a news release.
“The new engineering office will be capitalizing on the fresh ideas and talents of interns from various local colleges and universities, in addition to experienced engineers from the Lincoln metro area,” said Dave Merchant, engineering manager
Blue Ox will maintain its Manufacturing and Product Support Department at its Pender, Neb., facility. “We will continue to lead the industry in the release of product specific applications such as baseplates, steering controls and gooseneck hitches in addition to current product line changes and supporting the Lincoln office”, said Armando Ambriz, operations manager.
For more information on Blue Ox Engineering and the complete line of Blue Ox tow bars, baseplates, hitches, braking systems, steering controls systems, sport carriers and accessories, contact Blue Ox, One Mill Road, Industrial Park, Pender, NE 68047; phone (402) 385-3051; fax (402) 385-3360; e-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.blueox.us.
Blue Ox has introduced the new BX7455P Allure towbar. The Class IV-rated Allure towbar comes standard with a pintle hook connection. Additional options for a ball connection, receiver connection and clevis connection are also available to insure an application for all your towing needs. All models of Allure are self-aligning, self-locking and feature Blue Ox’s signature easy release locking handles and rubber boots to conceal the legs and protect from dirt and road grime. For more information on Blue Ox and their complete line of towing and hitch systems, contact Blue Ox, One Mill Road, Industrial Park, Pender, NE 68047; phone (402) 385-3051; fax (402) 385-3360; e-mail email@example.com; website www.blueox.com.
The Blue Ox family of products has expanded its marketing and web presence to the social media networks of Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook is a free social networking service that works in connecting individuals to their friends and favorite brands. Twitter is also a free social networking service that allows members to “follow” their friends, favorite brands or public figures in a world dominated by updates in 160 characters or less.
“The new Blue Ox Facebook page provides us with a fantastic platform to update you on new and exciting developments,” Pender, Neb.-based Blue Ox said in a news release. “Almost everything that is available on our website, www.BlueOx.com, can be found on our Facebook Page. However, exclusive information, events and contests will be available for those who ‘Like’ our page, which is not available through our website. Those who ‘like’ our page will be able to contribute photos, ask questions and comment about products or events on our ‘Wall,’ ‘Photos’ and ‘Events’ tabs.”
“If any of our dealers, distributors or other RV market friends are already on Facebook and have the “Favorite Pages” application installed, let us know and we will add you to our ‘Favorite Pages’ box on our page,” the company added.
The new Blue Ox Twitter page provides viewers with up-to-the-second information pertaining to the RV market as a whole, new and exciting products, events it is hosting and attending and much more. All of these updates are made in 160 characters or less, meaning they are quick, to the point and easy to understand. Exciting new information, upcoming events and exclusive contests will be posted on Twitter.
To follow Blue Ox on Twitter, visit the Blue Ox Twitter Page, http://www.twitter.com/BlueOxProducts, and select the “Follow” button from the top left portion of the page.
RVBusiness magazine is launching the Third Annual RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards — a quality-focused program that sets the bar for best business practices in the RV industry. A gala reception and dinner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will announce the winners Oct. 6 during the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
This year, RVBusiness expanded the awards to include recreational park model manufacturers, reflecting how significant their contributions have become in a rapidly changing marketplace. The awards name 10 Blue Ribbon retailers, and one organization receives the Dave Altman Award, the equivalent of RVBusiness’ “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
RV manufacturers nominate the best and most professional dealers for aftermarket parts stores, sales lots, service work, F&I departments and personnel matters in addition to civic and charitable contributions. Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), the parent company of RVBusiness and the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events to the North American RV and outdoor enthusiast market, then invites nominated dealers to submit applications. Applications are independently reviewed by a panel of industry experts, none of whom are directly associated with RVBusiness or Affinity.
RVBusiness recognizes the Top 50 award winners in the October edition, on RVBUSINESS.com, and in dealers’ local and regional newspapers. Winners also receive RVBT50 window decals, rights to use the RVBT50 logo in their advertising, plus exposure to millions of active RV enthusiasts in the pages — and on the websites — of Affinity’s RV-focused consumer magazines, including Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.
Supporting the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards this year are the following “Leadership Alliance” sponsors: ADP Lightspeed, Bank of the West, Blue Ox, Cummins Onan RV Generators, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., RV America Insurance, RV Trader Online and Protective.
“We felt that the pursuit of professionalism and top-notch consumer care finds an even more receptive ear this year than it did during the dregs of the recession, and the Dealer Awards sets the bar for best business practices,” said RVBusiness magazine Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “Looking around at the state of the industry, we realize just how much we have to be thankful for. The current upbeat atmosphere within the commercial sector beats the heck out of where we all were at this time last year.”
RVBusiness previously announced special celebrity guest, conservative Republican columnist and bestselling author, Ann Coulter, as the keynote speaker during the award ceremony. Coulter will talk about a variety of hot political topics including the “Tea Party” movement and related conservative themes.
The Con/Expo is sponsored by the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA Canada). Tickets for the dinner are $139 ($119 for RVDA members, Con/Expo exhibitors and Top 50 dealer guests), and are available at the convention or at RVBusiness.com.
About the Top 50 RV Dealers Program:
The program’s purpose is to showcase credible role models and establish best business practices benchmarks at the retail level of the RV industry in terms of staff training, performing warranty and service work, managing aftermarket stores, superior consumer care and being good citizens of their respective communities. The dealerships were selected among those nominated as the best by the nation’s RV manufacturers. The program was founded and coordinated by RVBusiness magazine with additional support provided by the Leadership Alliance.
Affinity, www.affinitygroup.com, is the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events that service the safety, security, comfort and convenience needs of the North American recreational vehicle (RV) and outdoor enthusiast market. By providing information, insights, and resources, the company champions the fun, freedom, and adventure of recreation in motion. The company works to enhance its customers’ recreational experiences and build the communities that share and promote their fun and adventurous lifestyles.