Four years after the height of the economic downturn, North American RV industry participants believe they’re heading in the right direction, according to results of a survey conducted by GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) business unit of 150 attendees at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th National RV Trade Show.
“I think the biggest thing I take away from this survey is that, as dealers are looking out at 2013, they feel relatively optimistic about their opportunities,” reports Tim Hyland, commercial leader of CDF’s RV group, upon on the release this morning (Dec. 10) of the results of a survey circulated Nov. 26-28 during the Louisville Show.
• 43% of survey respondents expect sales to increase 5% to 10% in 2013.
• 27% were most optimistic about consumer demand going into next year.
• 29%, a similar percentage, listed that same issue — consumer demand – as their biggest business concern followed by qualms over financing solutions and product affordability and availability.
“These survey results are consistent with what we are seeing in the market and hearing from our customers,” said Hyland, a 19-year GE sales veteran. “Consumer demand drives the industry, so it’s naturally an area of optimism as well as concern. However, economic indicators, such as an uptick in housing starts, give us reason to believe that 2013 will be a good year for RV sales.”
Hyland wasn’t surprised by the extent of survey respondents’ optimism with regard to 2013 and the fact that they actually marginally exceeded those of RVIA’s own prognosticator, economist Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Research Center.
“You know, we looked at this earlier in the year and, again, we were looking at 3% to 4% growth,” Hyland told RVBUSINESS.com. “I read recently that RVIA is predicting shipments up about 4 1/2% for next year, and so a 5% to 10% growth range on behalf of the dealers is reasonable for what we’re seeing. You know, as far as what we see ourselves, inventory levels are solid and turning. So, it’s a positive indicator.”
Nor does Hyland see any inconsistencies in respondents’ level of concern over credit availability. “The fact that a significant number of the survey subjects at Louisville expressed some concern about consumer demand and credit availability is probably not a complete surprise,” Hyland noted, adding that he feels that floorplan lending – GE’s chief service to North America RV dealers — continues to ease.
“Yeah, I think that when we look out at the market,” he added, “we see that on the wholesale side there is significant availability in the marketplace and we therefore don’t view that as a concern for the dealer base in the market right now.”
Fifty percent of the Louisville Show survey’s subjects, in turn, told GE that the trend that will most likely have the largest impact on the RV industry in the year ahead is the popularity of “base” or low-cost models. In a response that mirrors recent RVIA shipment reports, an overwhelming 70% of survey respondents said travel trailers would be in highest demand, with fifth-wheel trailers a distant second at 15%.
“During the downturn, the market shifted more towards the towable side of the business because it’s a more affordable way for people to enjoy the RV lifestyle,” said Hyland. “And today, consumers are still looking at value. But the market appears to be supporting higher dollar values as well, which bodes well for all price points across the industry. Towables are doing really well, but motorized is coming back, and we expect to see improvement across all price points and classes.”
Bottom line, said Hyland, the survey provides further evidence of the fact that the industry continues to heal from the Great Recession. “Yes, there tends to be a strong correlation between housing and consumer confidence, being that housing tends to be the largest asset that people own. So, as you see housing improve, you would expect to see consumer confidence improving. And I think we, based on that, expect to see continuing improvement in 2013.”
Fairfax, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) announced today (June 3) the addition of GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) as a Gold Sponsor of the 2011 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
Sponsored by RVDA, RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center, the expo is scheduled for Oct. 3-7 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
“There is no way RVDA or the RV Learning Center could provide the variety and depth of continuing education sessions offered at the convention without the support GE Capital and other sponsoring companies,” said RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman Peter Albano of American RV in Olive Branch, Miss. “We thank them for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to their dealer business partners.”
GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance is a leading provider of specialized financing and servicing programs in the U.S. and Canada that facilitate the manufacture, distribution and sale of RVs, watercraft, motorsports, technology products, electronics and appliances, industrial equipment, outdoor power equipment, office products, musical instruments, trailers, and other consumer durables.
“GE Capital supports the mission of the RVDA, particularly the dealer education component,” said Peter Lannon, managing director for CDF’s RV business. “We are dedicated to the RV industry in the USA and Canada, and we continue to invest in effective means to strengthen RV dealers. GE Capital is proud to increase our sponsorship for the 2011 Dealer Expo.”
Themed “ReVolution: Take Charge Today,” the convention will feature new, in-depth “super sessions” covering the top issues RV dealers and their employees are facing right now. The education program will include information on building sales through innovative marketing strategies to reach new customers and an overview of the short and long-term trends that will impact the RV industry.
To make the convention as affordable as possible, the registration fee for dealership employees is the same as last year. RVDA is also offering special registration plans including an “Easy-Pay” plan of four payments and the ability to “lock-in” early bird savings for additional employees with one paid convention registration.
Visit www.rvda.org and www.rvlearningcenter.com to register for the convention and for regular updates about the convention. You can also get updates by following the convention on Linkedin and Facebook. Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext 103 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) business has announced two new initiatives designed to demonstrate its commitment to the trailer industry.
It launched a new financing program for dealers of all types of trailers that will extend suppliers’ standard financing terms by 60 days; this includes dealers in the cargo, race car, horse, marine, dump and flatbed markets, among others. In addition, CDF recently became a member of the North American Trailer Dealer Association (NATDA), according to a news release.
“After listening to our manufacturer customers, we’ve decided to offer this new promotional financing program,” said Marvin Solomon, managing director for CDF’s strategic industries group. “Our goal is to create an environment in which dealers can feel more comfortable building inventory. We think it will be an effective way to help trailer manufacturers grow their business by adding to their dealer base.”
The “Extra 60″ promotion will add 60 days to suppliers’ terms for all dealer invoices purchased within the first 30 days from the credit activation date and financed via CDF. The promotion is available to new and current dealers that add additional product or brand lines; it is in effect until June 30, 2011.
CDF provides financing for floorplan purchases from a variety of trailer manufacturers. Dealers are encouraged to speak with their CDF representative to obtain complete offer details. Dealers may also call (800) 451-5944 or visit the CDF website: https://sec.cdfconnect.com/surf/si.
Solomon noted that CDF recently joined the NATDA to increase its participation in the trailer industry. The NATDA is a trade association that unifies all members of the industry, including product and service vendors, financial institutions and insurance companies as well as trailer manufacturers and dealers.
The RV industry’s retail scorekeeper, Tom Walworth of Statistical Surveys Inc., will lead a high-powered panel discussion delving into the market and credit forces impacting the RV industry on Oct. 7 during the 2010 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
The panel of industry experts is:
- Ron Fenech, RV Group president, Thor Industries Inc.
- Peter Lannon, group president – RV & Motorsports, GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance.
- Craig Kennison, senior research analyst for Consumer Products & Automotive Services, Robert W. Baird & Co.
The panel will focus on minimizing risk factors with RV floorplan loans, a manufacturing outlook on the future of RV product development and distribution, financial markets, and the impact the issues will have on the dealer’s bottom line.
“This session is sure to be extremely informative for everyone attending the upcoming convention,” said RVDA Convention Chairman Peter Albano. “It will provide some important steps that dealers can take to reduce their risk and successfully meet the financial challenges we are all facing today. The Convention/Expo Committee secured an outstanding group of RV industry experts to participate in this event.”
The panel discussion, titled “RV Market Outlook?” will be the second general session on, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. This is just one of the workshops that are planned for the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, which will be held Oct. 4-8 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) business in Canada announced today that it has entered into an agreement with RV Care Network Ltd. of Vancouver, Britsh Columbia, to provide expanded benefits to its inventory financing program for RV Care members, a network of independent recreational vehicle dealers across Canada. This agreement is effective immediately.
“RV Care and GE Capital share a common goal of meeting the financial needs of our dealer network,” said Earl Manning, RV Care vice president. “We are pleased with our new arrangement and look forward to working with GE Capital to provide innovative financing programs and business insights to help our dealers grow.”
GE Capital provides inventory financing to RV manufacturers and RV dealers throughout Canada, offering programs tailored to the unique dynamics of this industry.
“CDF Canada is excited to enter into this agreement, which further evidences our ongoing commitment to provide financing to the Canadian RV industry,” said Peter Ringler, president and CEO of GE Capital’s CDF Canada business. “We look forward to working together and providing smart growth for the group’s dealer network for the long term.”
The RV Care Network was originally formed in 2000. Today the group includes 49 independent dealers across Canada, and is looking forward to adding more dealerships to serve the RV Care customers. The main goal of the RV Care Network is to help RV owners enjoy a safe and worry-free RV lifestyle.
To learn more about RV Care, visit www.rvcare.ca