Festival Means Brisk Biz for El Monte RV

August 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

El Monte RV logo Burning Man, the fabled celebration of art and self-expression in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, creates a big  bump in business for El Monte RV Rentals.

Long linked to the Burning Man festival as a supplier of RV rentals to attendees of the event, the Los  Angeles-based RV rental firm has learned to prepare for the rush, according to a news release.

This year’s Burning Man festival runs Aug. 30 to Sept. 6. Tens of thousands of participants bring in everything necessary for survival on the playa. Festival goers create “Black Rock City,” with fantastically decorative camping villages and spectacular expressions of art. A “leave-no-trace” festival, Burning Man culminates in disassembling the entire temporary community and clearing away all traces of the festival.

Preparing for Burning Man means planning for water, food, shelter and fuel during the event. Few vendors are allowed within Black Rock City and disposal of wastewater and sewage is tightly regulated by BLM. Recreational vehicles have become popular as festival goers have learned the rigors of life on the desert without adequate preparation.

In addition to renting motorhomes for the event the company offers luxury RV rental packages that include a fully outfitted and provisioned deluxe motorhome delivered to the attendees campsite at the event.

“We begin moving in inventory early for Burning Man rentals to our Burning Man departure campground location in Reno, as well as others on the West Coast. This has become a major camping event, something we many adventurous RV campers want to experience,” says Joe Laing, director of marketing for the nationwide RV rental firm.

Laing noted that area El Monte RV Rentals locations start taking reservations immediately after one Burning Man event for the next year. Festival planners expect that nearly 50,000 people will attend in 2010.

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El Monte RV Meets Summer Rental Needs

July 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

El Monte RV logo Until this summer, El Monte RV Rentals’ locations across the country found themselves turning away late July  customers hoping for August rentals. This year, thanks to the firm’s new purchasing strategy, lucky last-minute  rental clients will be driving away in rented RVs, according to a news release.

Keeping adequate rental inventory at more than 50 locations is always a bit of a chess game, according to Joe  Laing, El Monte RV Rentals director of marketing. “We know which areas will create the highest number of late summer rentals and begin shifting inventory to meet the need. In years past, however, last-minute rentals for August might not be serviced.”

Laing went on to explain that late-summer vacations are especially attractive to families soon to enter the school year. RV camping is also experiencing a resurgence thanks to cash-strapped travelers unable to afford international destinations.

Timely fleet purchases of new rental units this year have changed the landscape for this giant recreational vehicle rental company. Recognizing an upswing in RV camping earlier this summer, the company stepped up purchasing in time to meet additional late summer rental needs.

“We never like to say ‘no’ to a client, especially since we’re recognized as one of the world’s largest RV rental companies,” Laing said. “We’re happy to see people camping again, and are working hard to supply adequate inventory for their late summer vacations.”

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El Monte RV Factors into Chinese RV Travel

June 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

El MOnte RV logoEl Monte RV has a prominent role in adopting nationwide standards for RV travel and tourism in China, according to a Chinese news release.

The release comes on the heels of a visit to China by El Monte’s Joe Laing, part of a U.S. delegation visiting the  3rd Annual Hangzhou China Outdoor Lifestyle Show March 4-7 and six months after a sizable Chinese delegation visited the National RV Show last December in Louisville, Ky.

Laing was invited to be part of a 10-person forum addressing Chinese media and government officials on concerns related to the establishment of a viable recreational vehicle industry and its related lifestyle in China. The international group was coordinated and hosted by N-Tours International, a tour promotion firm based in Beijing.

According to this week’s news release, China is to formulate a set of standards for motor touring centers, the China Automobile High-tech Industrialization Commission (CAHC) told a press briefing at the State Council Information Center in Beijing on Saturday (May 29).

“The domestic motoring travel market is huge, with as many as 200 million motorists touring every year, and more than 5,500 service centers scattered nationwide,” Chen Dongsheng, secretary general of CAHC, told the press.

“But the service centers lack adequate infrastructure and common service standards,” he added. “We are taking the initiative to formulate standards to regulate travel centers and create a comfortable environment for motorists.”

Chen said the draft standards would be ready by September. They will cover 11 areas, including hospitality, caravan (RV) sites, service facilities and security.

The standards will apply to automobile clubs, rescue services, parking sites, reception centers and vehicle after-sales services. “We are inviting them to work together to develop the standards,” Chen told

Yang Lin, general manager of El Monte RV, China, introduces operation of RV service centers during a press briefing at the State Council Information Center in Beijing, May 29,

Yang Lin, general manager of El Monte RV, China, introduces operation of RV service centers during a press briefing at the State Council Information Center in Beijing, May 29.

El Monte RV, a U.S.-based rental company, will help draft the standards. “Recreational vehicles represent a new type of lifestyle in China. You can just drive your house around without worrying about booking accommodation,” said Yang Lin, deputy secretary general of CAHC and general manager of El Monte RV, China.

“Recreational vehicles have great potential in China. We plan to invest about 200 million yuan ($30 million U.S.) to build RV towns where motorhome drivers can stay while touring,” Chen said.

An intelligent booking service platform will also be set up. “With a click of the mouse, drivers will be able to get any information they need, and thus will save them both time and money.” Chen told

The Chinese have jumped head first into accommodating the growing RV industry.

“What we got from the show is that there are a lot of Chinese people interested in RVing,” Laing told upon return from his tour. “The question remains how that interest will work itself out. Everyone is unsure how the Chinese RV industry is going to further evolve. The thought I most expressed to them is they should use the American RV industry as a framework or guideline. We have the most successful RV market and the best RV market in the world.”

China has an existing camping population, but it is nearly all tent camping and the existing campgrounds are organized for tenters only. The country also has a selection of national parks and other camping attractions. However, there are less than 50 RV campgrounds in all of China and no network of retailers or RV support businesses or publications.

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Riverside Press: RV Sector Showing Recovery

April 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

When Gary and Dottie Williams ordered their MVP RV Inc. trailer in April 2009, complete with nameplates attached to the bunk beds for their grandsons, they expected to get it a month later.

They planned a cross-country road trip, but stayed in hotels instead.

When they took a vacation to the lake, they rented a trailer.

In between April 2009 and April 2010, the Moreno Valley company that was building their trailer shut down its factory like several other RV makers had done, according to The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

While the company looked for investors and tried diversifying its business by going into the electric vehicle industry, salespeople at Giant RV showed Gary Williams other trailers. He said he couldn’t find anything comparable.

He didn’t need to. Gary and Dottie Williams picked up their finished MVP RV trailer at the Giant RV dealership in Montclair this month.

MVP RV, the Moreno Valley maker of their trailer, didn’t get the funds they needed to build electric vehicles but they found an overseas investor willing to back their RV factory.

“It’s such a great feeling to come back,” said Brad Williams recently in his Moreno Valley office. “We survived.”

Manufacturers and RV dealers are beginning to climb out of the wreckage wrought by the recession much like the industry has done early on during past business cycles when the worst appears at an end.

Would-be campers are hardly stampeding to RV dealers to purchase high-end Class A diesel motorhomes, Class C RVs or even pop-up tent trailers but they are looking, and some are even buying.

“We’re first to get hurt, and the first to recover,” said Tom Powell, CEO of Riverside-based travel trailer maker Pacific Coachworks.

Recession history

In 1979, preceding the 1980 recession that lasted from January to July, RV shipments fell a staggering 48.9% to 199,200 vehicles sent to dealers.

Wholesale shipments fell another 46.2% in 1980 to 107,200 RVs. By 1981, the number picked up 24.6% to 133,600 units. Despite a recession that stretched from July 1981 into November 1982, shipments increased another 5.2% to 140,600.

With the exception of a dip in shipments in 1985, RV production increased nearly eight straight years until 1989. The recession started July 1990 lasting until March 1991. RV shipments picked up 24.6% by 1992.

With the exception of another dip in 1995, RV production grew again year over year for nearly eight straight years until 2000 when it dropped 6.6%. A recession began in March 2001, ending November. That year RV shipments dropped another 14.4%. But by 2002, it was up 21.1%

The most recent recession started December 2007.

Two popular Inland recreational vehicle makers, Weekend Warrior Inc. and National RV Inc., bowed out early on before the economy started to exhibit true signs of stress.

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., a longtime RV industry icon based in Riverside since 1963, had managed to navigate recessions before usually emerging a stronger company after other competitors blew a tire. This time though, saddled with too much debt, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2009 selling off the motorhome division to an equity group out of New York that moved all of the company’s operations to Indiana.

Before, Southern California dealers could pick up the RVs they ordered in Riverside. Now some say they pay extra for shipping.

Elsewhere, Monaco Coach Corp. filed for bankruptcy in March 2009. Country Coach Holding Inc. was liquidated late last year.

In 2007, RV makers shipped 9.5% fewer vehicles. The number dropped another 32.9% in 2008, and continued to cascade another 30.1% in 2009 until there were just 165,000 shipped to dealers, the lowest level since 1991.

First to recover

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is expecting shipments to jump 30% this year to 215,900 vehicles.

“When things go down, the RV industry takes it in the gut,” said Joe Laing, director of marketing for El Monte RV which rents ands sells trailers. But it also seems to be one of the first to recover, he said.

Laing said El Monte RV staff noticed year-over-year sales growth since January.

“We don’t know that it means anything,” he said, hesitant to herald economic recovery based on their business. “We’re pretty optimistic that it looks like we’ve come through the worst of it.”

Frank DeGelas, owner of Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores including locations in Colton and Cathedral City, said he dumped older inventory at a loss to clear out his dealerships for new models being released by the manufacturers who remained.

Usually the recovery after a recession is strong and fast. This one, though, is taking its time.

He sold 11 Coleman folding camping trailers in three weeks, a sign that family buyers are looking for an affordable alternative, as well as Class B motorhomes and the larger Class A diesel RVs.

“I think I’ve been helped by my competitors failing,” he said. The pie may not be any bigger, he said of the RV selling market, but he gets a bigger slice now, he said.

New features

DeGelas credits manufacturers who spent their downtime during the downturn designing new features.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, over 30 years, and I have never seen the amount of innovation,” he said of new models from manufacturers like Fleetwood RV Inc., now under new ownership. The Encounter, Fleetwood’s latest model, features a bunk bed that converts into a dinette.

“It’s almost like a ‘Transformer’ motorhome,” he said.

Pacific Coachworks Inc., which survived the lean times after having shut down production in the first half of 2009, developed a trailer with a slide-out outdoor kitchen and in another trailer, a slide-out queen bed.

“When things are going extraordinarily well, there’s not as much impetus to be innovative,” said Tom Powell, CEO of Pacific Coachworks.

The company has 100 employees, about half of the staff compared to its height in 2007.

Powell described new orders as solid, “but it’s not sensational” especially compared to stratospherically successful years in 2005 and 2006.

Powell said he wished more Inland RV manufacturers had survived the recession, that way suppliers would take root in the area too. As companies closed, though, so did suppliers and the cost of doing business for those who remained rose.

His company and others are now building based on orders rather than making RVs with the hope someone will eventually order it.

“I think we all learned to be a little more cautious,” he said.

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El Monte RV Kicks Off 1-Way Rental Program

April 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

El Monte RV logoEl Monte RV Rentals makes public exceptionally low priced one-way RV rental special deals to move motorhomes across the country, according to a news release.

As one of the largest RV rental firms in the nation, the California-based company offers incentives to RV travelers who’ll help move their inventory to match seasonal demand. Lucky RV campers might, for example, travel from Miami to New York in April and experience substantial savings.

According to Joe Laing, director of marketing for El Monte RV Rentals, “Motorhome rental firms normally shift RVs from warm weather environs to cooler ones in spring and then reverse the process in the fall. By offering RV rental clients deep discounts on one-way travel, we help vacationers save money while ensuring adequate seasonal inventory.”

Recent one-way specials have included 1,000 free miles and 50% off daily rates for the first seven days. Savings like that have long-time El Monte RV Rentals customers eagerly watching for each season’s one-way specials.

For more information visit

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El Monte RV: Good Start for Used RV Website

March 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

used_rv_logoThe Used RV Factory, the wholesale sales business unit of El Monte RV,  announced today (March 26) that its new online used RV sales portal,, was exceeding all expectations in new dealer signups, according to a news release.

“It’s amazing,” said Jeff Gibson, sales manager for The Used RV Factory. “We launched the site and had almost 20 dealers sign up the first day.”

Currently the company estimates that within a month there will be more than 100 dealers registered to access The Used RV Factory’s online inventory. Several hundred used vehicles are listed for sale on the site with a wide range of mileage options. Dealers can sort by make, model, mileage, price and a variety of other options.

“It allows a dealer to pick and choose a vehicle that fits their company’s needs,” continued Gibson, “If they know they have a customer that wants to buy a 24-foot Winnebago Class C motorhome, or a 35-foot Fleetwood Class A motorhome, but they don’t have that particular model in stock at a price point the customer can afford, the dealer can literally go online and select a unit and we will deliver it to them.”

To become a registered Used RV Factory dealer and receive access to the inventory, one must go to and click on register. The Used RV Factory representatives will then approve qualified dealers and set up an account. “Setting up an account is easy,” said Gibson. “It takes about 5 minutes to register, and we approve dealers quickly upon validation.”

For more information on The Used RV Factory visit For more information on El Monte RV visit

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U.S. RV Industry Reps Report on Trip to China

March 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

U.S. representatives of the U.S. RV and campground industry stand with their Chinese hosts in front of a Chinese-made King Long Coach at last week's outdoor lifestyle show in Hangzhou, China.

U.S. and German representatives of the RV and campground industry stand with their Chinese host at last week's outdoor lifestyle show in Hangzhou, China.

China is diving head first into the development of campgrounds and its fledgling RV industry, according to industry representatives who recently participated in the 3rd Annual Hangzhou China Outdoor Lifestyle Show March 4-7.

Participating were Joe Laing of El Monte RV, a leading RV rental company with 70 locations throughout the U.S.; Bob MacKinnon of MacKinnon Campground Consulting, a designer and developer of campgrounds throughout North America and Australia; and Al Hesselbart, historian for the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. Wolfgang Bock of Deutsche Reissemobil, the largest RV rental firm in Germany, also participated.

The foursome was invited to be part of a 10-person forum addressing Chinese media and government officials on concerns related to the establishment of a viable recreational vehicle industry and its related lifestyle in China. The international group was coordinated and hosted by N-Tours International, a tour promotion firm based in Beijing.

“What we got from the show is that there are a lot of Chinese people interested in RVing,” Laing told “The question remains how that interest will work itself out. Everyone is unsure how the Chinese RV industry is going to further evolve. The thought I most expressed to them is they should use the American RV industry as a framework or guideline. We have the most successful RV market and the best RV market in the world.”

Camper van displayed at Chinese leisure fair

Camper van displayed at Chinese leisure fair

China has an existing camping population, but it is nearly all tent camping and the existing campgrounds are organized for tenters only, according to Hesselbart, who spoke on the evolution of RVing in America.

“They have a great selection of national parks and other camping attractions,” he said. “While they have the technology to build very fine recreational vehicles, there are at this time less than 50 RV campgrounds in all of China and no network of retailers or RV support businesses or publications.”

Chinese-made camper van built on a Sprinter chassis.

Chinese-made camper van built on a Sprinter chassis.

This year is the first that the Chinese RV manufacturers were given space in the show, which is the largest outdoor lifestyle show in Asia. The event showcased several small motorhomes all built on Sprinter chassis made by Mercedes Benz in China.

“A couple of outstanding 35-foot Class A motorhomes including slideouts were also shown, built by Chinese highway bus manufacturer King Long Coach,” Hesselbart said.

Chinese government has plans to develop 800 RV campgrounds within the next five years related to its many national parks and other attractions. Hesselbart said the Chinese officials feel that, at least for the present, the local RV lifestyle will be based on rental and not ownership of private rigs.

“They did discuss the establishment of a market for small towable units, but they are targeting the first development toward small, motorized units,” Hesselbart said. “It was somewhat surprising to the Americans that the Chinese use almost no automatic transmissions and all of the RVs were built with manual transmissions as were nearly 100 percent of the autos on the highway.”

Trailers with decks at Chinese campground

Trailers with decks at Chinese campground

In addition to the large forum at the show, the group met with several other camping-related groups and resort developers to discuss the types of conditions and services provided for RV camping in the U.S. and Europe.

“The group saw a dramatic enthusiasm to develop an RV lifestyle where their population is largely uninformed of the possibilities of self-contained travel for recreation or for business,” Hesselbart said.

There are 208 national parks in China, according to Laing, who shared information about the RV rental business.

MacKinnon spoke on site selection for campgrounds and the basic design strategy, and shared how to understand the market and market needs.

“I met with a lot of government officials and various industries and I got a strong impression that they are actively looking for ways to expand their tourism industry,” MacKinnon told Woodall’s Campground Management. “As I understand it the government has laid out a five-year plan and they have very specific goals for both national and international tourism.

“This show was a big deal. They showcased everything from patio furniture and umbrellas to RVs, and also outdoor recreation like kayaking and bicycling. Once the Chinese get the sequencing as to what needs to happen first, and they grasp the key ingredients, I think there will be some interesting growth in the country’s tourism.”

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El Monte RV Relaunches ‘The Used RV Factory’

March 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

used_rv_logoEl Monte RV has relaunched its successful wholesale dealer program, The Used RV Factory.

With a fleet of over 1,600 vehicles, El Monte RV can meet almost any dealer’s needs for late-model, high-quality Class A and Class C motorhomes, according to a news release.

The Used RV Factory is designed by El Monte RV to provide dealers real time, any time, access to a vast inventory of used motorized products. The product availability allows dealers to shop for a wholesale used piece to fulfill a difficult customer request for price, mileage, interior and exterior color preferences, and more.

“The Used RV Factory is a great source for a dealer to reach new price points with rental vehicles,” states Jeff Gibson, fleet sales manager for El Monte RV. “Pricing on vehicles is in relation to the mileage accumulated at the time of sale. This allows the dealer to offer customers a broad range of alternatives for price and payment. With the availability of our motor homes, we can provide a replacement any time a dealer sells a unit.”

El Monte RV’s motorhomes are professionally maintained throughout the rental period. The company provides a complete service history along with the original manufacturer’s owner care packet with operating manuals.

El Monte RV has a new website,, exclusively for dealers to view vehicles and even place an order online.

For more information, please contact Jeff Gibson at (562) 318-6440 or email at

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U.S. RV Reps Speaking at Chinese Leisure Fair

February 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

China RV show logoA noted RV historian as well as other American representatives of the RV industry are speaking at the Hangzhou International Outdoor and Leisure Fair in China March 4-7.

Al Hesselbart, historian of the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., said he was approached by representatives of the Chinese RV industry while at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., last December.

“I jumped at the opportunity,” said Hesselbart. “This is an exciting adventure and an honor. Somebody someplace thinks I did a good job, I guess.”

Other American RV representatives speaking at the event include Joe Laing, director of marketing, El Monte RV in El Monte, Calif., and Bob MacKinnon, owner of MacKinnon Campground Consulting, Murrieta, Calif. The European RV industry will be represented by Wolfgang Bock of Munich, Germany.

The men will be speaking to Chinese provincial government officials as well as industry trade leaders on their assigned topics.

Hesselbart will talk about the evolution of the RV lifestyle and its effect on American society.

“I am going to show the evolution of what camping was like from the World War I era up to today when 30 million people are a part of it,” he said.

“What they are looking for me to touch on is the future of the RV rental market in China,” Laing explained. “I will talk about what has happened in the United States in the RV rental market over the course of time and what we see as some possibilities in China. They have an affinity for this, but need education and understanding. They need to develop campgrounds, their publications and infrastructure.”

“What we see for China is this is not something that will happen overnight, but we think this has great long-term potential,” Laing added. “If the RV industry develops in China, there is the potential for Chinese tourists to come and rent RV’s here in the United States.”

MacKinnon will present an overview of campground development.

“I will be talking to them about the key issues a campground developer is concerned about, including site selection, market conditions and design of a park,” he said. “I hope to walk them through what they need to look at when they are selecting a site, and get them thinking about key markets to look at. This is an important initial step in their determination to move forward with their own RV industry. The site selection and design are contingent on the market they are going to serve.”

Outdoor Lifestyle Hangzhou is jointly organized by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Light Industrial Products and Arts and Craft, and Hangzhou Municipal Government. The event will be held at the Hangzhou Peace Exhibition Center. For more information visit

The upcoming visit to China is the latest in a series of cultural exchanges between the RV sectors of the two countries.

A portion of the Chinese delegation that attended the National RV Trade Show last December in Louisville, Ky.

A portion of the Chinese delegation that attended the National RV Trade Show last December in Louisville, Ky.

A large delegation representing the growing Chinese RV industry attended last December’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, meeting with U.S. manufacturers and suppliers, touring the show booths and attending a reception the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) hosted in their honor, the RVIA noted.

The delegation of approximately 60 included Chinese manufacturers looking to form joint ventures with U.S. manufacturers, companies looking to develop campgrounds in China, government officials, and private equity firms. One delegation was led by the Beijing office of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Several RVIA member companies reported enjoying substantive conversations with the Chinese delegates about the burgeoning industry’s plans for the future.

“I was impressed by the number of Chinese representatives who attended this year’s show and the great interest in RVing that seems to exist among the Chinese people,” said RVIA President Richard Coon, who was interviewed extensively by Chinese media during the show. “Next year, the Department of Commerce hopes to bring an even larger delegation over and to schedule additional meetings between U.S. and Chinese manufacturers.”

In addition to attending the National RV Trade Show, some of the Chinese delegations also visited campgrounds in Nevada and California as well as RV manufacturing facilities in Indiana and California.

In May 2008, a delegation representing the American RV industry attended the 2008 China RV and Camping Show in Shanghai. The American delegation encouraged Chinese manufacturers to adopt U.S. standards and educated Chinese government officials on internal infrastructure issues within China that might affect the RV market there.

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New Go RVing Travel Vignette Debuts Friday

February 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Rutledge Wood and family

Rutledge Wood and family

As the first new Go RVing television spots for 2010 are rolled out on Friday (Feb. 12) on SPEED, a new one-minute RV travel vignette starring Rutledge Wood (pictured at left RVing with his wife and baby), one of the network’s favorite personalities, will also debut, according to a news release.

Scripted and produced in collaboration with Go RVing, the vignette was shot Jan. 12 in Los Angeles. Wood, joined by his wife and 10-month-old daughter, gives a lighthearted comparison of the benefits of taking an RV vacation in comparison with flying – including savings, convenience, comfort and flexibility.

“You can take along whatever you need, with no baggage fees, and never lose your luggage,” says Wood, as the family loads up toys and baby paraphernalia in a Class C motorhome. “Sit wherever you want, window or aisle, with no cramped seats and no hidden fees,” he raves. El Monte RV provided the Fleetwood Tioga rental motorhome used in the production.

The vignette will be shown approximately 35 times throughout the NASCAR season along with three Go RVing vignettes shot with former NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace – now an on-camera personality for SPEED — and his wife.

Go RVing’s new “Ambassadors of Affordability” spots will air eight times the weekend of Feb. 12-14 on heavily-viewed programming leading up to the Daytona 500, including the Sprint Cup Daytona Practice, Trackside Live, Weekend Engine Block and NASCAR Live Speed Week Edition. The Go RVing vignette with Rutledge Wood airs Feb. 12 between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Trackside Live.

Also that weekend, Go RVing launches a series of 105 commercials during Olympics programming on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA and Universal Sports. “Go RVing will have a great presence in programming surrounding two of the biggest events in the sports world: the Daytona 500 and the Olympics,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer.

The new TV spots feature entertaining, animated versions of the animals in the print ads, communicating the timely message to “Go Affordably. Go RVing.”

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Family Wins Lawsuit Over RV Rental Dispute

February 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Renting a motorhome for one Bakersfield, Calif., family started out so good, but it ended up so bad, according to the Bakersfield Californian.

The customer service Todd Brendlin received from a Montclair business ranged from “fantastic” to “almost zero,” he said. It led to him winning a nearly $5,300 judgment this week against the business, Open Road RV and its owner, Jeff Collins.

Brendlin, 43, the head of the organic farm division of Grimmway, said he was very pleased in the beginning. On July 15, an employee of the business, Juan, delivered a 34-foot motorhome to his home in Bakersfield for a long-planned family trip to Yellowstone National Park, he said.

Juan went over everything and made sure everything worked. The next day Brendlin, his wife, Erin, 39, and their two children, Trevor, 12, and Keely, 9, set out for their adventure. Though it was hot outside, the air conditioning kept the motorhome comfortable.

That is until somewhere between Barstow and Baker, where the air conditioning started blowing out nothing but hot air, he said. It was 113 degrees outside and perhaps another 10 degrees hotter inside the motorhome, he said.

He said he called Collins, who suggested possible fixes, but nothing worked. Collins asked the family to continue to Las Vegas, still about three hours away, and if they still had a problem to call him to work something out, according to Brendlin.

The heat was sweltering, like a sauna, Brendlin said. His children stripped down to their underwear. HIs wife got sick. They all had symptoms of heat exhaustion, he said.

They pulled into a motel to cool off that evening.

The next morning, Brendlin said, he called Collins. “His exact words to me were to ‘deal with it and get a life,'” Brendlin said. The customer said he would expect a full refund and Collins replied, “Absolutely not,” according to Brendlin.

A reporter called Open Road RV several times during business hours last week. A recording described the business hours and asked callers to leave a message. None of the messages were returned.

Brendlin paid for an inspection and found out that the compressor locked up with an estimated replacement cost of $3,700 on parts that had to be ordered. He faxed the work order to Collins and told him he would leave the motorhome safely at a dealership for him to pick up.

The family rented another motorhome at El Monte RV of Las Vegas, whose manager was so sorry about how they were treated that he gave them a night free on the rental, Brendlin said.

The manager, Roger Brewer, said in a telephone interview Friday that they swap out RVs all the time for mechanical breakdowns and what happened to Brendlin “is not something we would have done.”

Brewer said he gave the family a free night because they already lost a day on the trip. “We always try to make it good,” he said.

The family continued to the Tetons, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, Wyo., for a “great trip,” Brendlin said.

What did he learn from the experience? To call the Better Business Bureau before dealing with an unknown business, he said. That would have saved him from this experience, he said.

He sued Open Road RV in small claims court in Kern County for the price of the Open Road rental, the repair inspection, a night’s lodging and the cost of rental vehicles to get from Las Vegas to Bakersfield.

He and a friend served a secretary at the business with lawsuit papers about a month ago. Collins didn’t show up for the hearing, so he won by default, court records show.

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Thanksgiving is a Busy Time for RV Rentals

November 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

El Monte RV logoA little more than 2 million Southern Californians traveled for Thanksgiving, 85% via the automobile, according to a study conducted for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

“The main reason is probably a plane trip is going to be more expensive,” said Automobile Club of Southern California spokeswoman Marie Montgomery. “A lot of costs can be associated with a plane trip, including car rentals and hotels.”

El Monte RV rented out 56 recreational vehicles to local families Wednesday, General Manager Edward Calderon told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

“This is our busiest holiday for rentals,” Calderon said. “All of our biggest RVs are rented.”

Paul Peterson of La Crescenta rented a smaller RV, about 25 feet, Wednesday to drive with his wife and two children to California City.

“We join a group of about 20 to 30 people at a campground,” Peterson said. “We did it last year for the first time, and decided to do it again this year.”

While Peterson is renting a motorhome for a Thanksgiving camping trip, others rented out RVs to park in their driveways and put up family members, Calderon said.

“Some people have more family members than rooms,” Calderon said. “Instead of sending them to hotels, they’re renting RVs.”

The top cost-saving measure taken by many travelers this holiday season is staying with friends and families instead of in hotel rooms, Montgomery said.

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El Monte RV Targets Antique Season Market

August 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

El Monte RV, one of America’s leading motorhome and RV rental and sales companies, is now offering antiques buyers travel planning and antiques fair information to keep them moving down the road.

As the fall antiques season heats up, El Monte RV rental clients will be searching for treasure at New York City’s Antiques Week, antiques festivals throughout the south and large-scale West Coast street fairs, according to a news release.

With more than 50 motorhome rental locations nationwide, El Monte RV makes it convenient for bargain hunters traveling the antiques circuit to rent the recreational vehicle that best suits their needs. The company’s website features full-service travel assistance for every budget.

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‘Great American Road’ Trip A Boon for RV Industry

August 20, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

great-american-road-trip-logoThe joys of family RV travel received great exposure this summer with NBC’s prime time reality show Great American Road Trip, featuring seven American families traveling in motorhomes on a cross-country road trip competition, according to a release from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

The show’s two remaining families – the Cootes and the DiSalvatores – are in the running for a $100,000 prize to be awarded during the show’s finale, set to air at 8 p.m. Monday on NBC.

“Our RV became our home away from home.  I would do it again in a second,” said Amy DiSalvatore about her family’s experience on the program.

Over eight episodes this summer, the show followed seven families from diverse backgrounds as they traveled iconic Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles in their own motorhomes, through cities large and small, while competing in a medley of humorous challenges.

Great American Road Trip provided terrific exposure for the RV industry just as American families were focused on summer travel,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer. “The competing families all found the experience of RVing to be rewarding and fun, with many families who were sent home saying that the trip itself brought them closer together, and that family bonding was the real prize.  That’s a great message for the show’s viewers.” he continued.

El Monte RV, a national RV rental company, provided the motorhomes used in the Great American Road Trip. The units are Bounder Class A motorhomes built by Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. RVIA’s Public Relations Department worked with the program’s producers on content and messaging.

glenn-martin-dds-logoMeanwhile, as Great American Road Trip finishes its run for the summer, an animated program prominently featuring an RV recently premiered on the Nick at Nite cable network. Glenn Martin DDS follows the adventures of an RVing dentist, Glenn Martin, and his family.

After learning that his favorite childhood park is about to be destroyed, Glenn takes his family on a cross-country road trip to protest the demolition. Although the protest is unsuccessful, Glenn and his wife Jackie realize the RV trip has brought their family closer together and they decide to keep traveling.  The half-hour program airs at various times on Nick at Nite throughout the week. Check for the schedule.

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El Monte RV Promoting California’s Wine Country

August 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

el-monte-rv-logoTo showcase the joys of touring California’s lush wine country, El Monte RV is providing tourists with plenty of information about autumn California Wine Country events by RV rental. 

Wine festivals such as the Lodi Grape Festival, the Taste of the Central Coast in Arroyo Grande and the California Beer and Wine Festival in Yuba City invite RV travelers to experience the scenic cities nestled in the vineyards of Northern California and the Central Coast region, according to a news release.

 “Coming to California and traveling wine country by RV can be the experience of a lifetime. The autumn wine fests allow visitors to the area to sample the best of California’s vineyards, as well as the spectacular scenery,” said Joe Laing, director of marketing for El Monte RV.

El Monte RV hopes to encourage more visitors, American and international, to visit this legendary region. With links to wine festival information, comprehensive trip planning services and full-service RV rentals, the RV rental and sales firm provides a single point of planning for visitors traveling to the area.

El Monte RV is one of America’s leading motorhome and RV rental and sales companies, catering to both international and domestic travelers. The company has experienced rapid growth throughout the United States, thanks to its reputation for exceptional customer service. El Monte RV is the only nationwide motorhome rental company to offer the larger Class A luxury vehicles for rent. For more information about El Monte RV, contact (800) 337-2141 or visit  the company’s website

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