Manheim Specialty Auctions has introduced “Platinum RV Collection Sales,” a new opportunity for dealers to exclusively buy top-quality, highline RV units valued at $75,000 or more.
The new monthly sales, currently held at two Manheim locations, are also accessible nationally through Manheim Simulcast, according to a news release. The combination of in-lane and online buying opportunity gives dealers convenient, targeted access to the cream of pre-owned luxury RV inventory, saving them time and hassle in the process.
“We are constantly looking for new ways to improve the auction experience for our customers by listening closely to their unique needs,” said Karen Braddy, general manager, Manheim Specialty and Heavy Truck & Equipment. “Our highline RV buyers and sellers have told us that the diversity of products within the RV category often means they waste valuable time searching for just the right configuration – and that feedback drove the creation of our Platinum program.”
The first Platinum Sale was held at Manheim Lakeland, Fla., in February of this year, and strong sales results prompted an expansion to Manheim Tucson in June. Based on the success of these sales, additional locations are expected to be added in the coming months, including Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth.
More than 160 buyers participated in Manheim Tucson’s first sale both in-lane and online via Manheim Simulcast. Commercial consignors, such as Bank of America and GE Money reported blue-ribbon days, with Bank of America selling 100% of its inventory.
“Our customers have told us that the key to successful customized sales is having enough specialized inventory to make attendance worthwhile,” said Jeanie Hinz, general manager, Manheim Tucson. “The positive results from our first sale confirm that Manheim is definitely meeting the needs of these buyers.”
Kelly O’Banion, purchasing/pre-owned manager, Motor Home Specialist, located in Alvarado, Texas, agrees that specialized sales save time for everyone. “As a buyer, one benefit of having the Platinum units sold at a separate event is definitely that it takes less time to get to the units you’re interested in buying. My target inventory is late-model units $100,000 and up, so these events decrease the amount of time that I have to spend away from my lot.”
Sellers also benefit from the targeted marketing, red-carpet presentation and dedicated buyers of Platinum Sales units.
“Manheim understands that there is a unique set of buyers for highline RV units,” said Martin Smith, vice president, remarketing, Bank of America. “When the Platinum units are sold at separate sales, my target buyers from all over the country travel to attend the sales or purchase units online. The higher quality of buyers ensures that I maximize my return.”
Manheim Specialty Auctions’ Platinum RV Collection Sales are hosted monthly at each of the designated locations. Manheim Lakeland hosts its sale the first Tuesday at 2 p.m. and Manheim Tucson presents Platinum RV units the fourth Tuesday at 3 p.m. Transportation options are available for dealers located outside of the normal pick-up area for these locations.
For more information, visit www.manheimspecialtyauctions.com and click on the RV tab.
Three months after incorporating, Thor CC Inc., Irvine, Calif., dba Thor Credit Corp., has begun accepting retail loan applications from customers at about 200 Thor Industries Inc. dealerships in eight Southeast and East Coast states.
”We are rolling out in a prudent fashion,” said Thor Credit President Ed Arienti. ”It’s better to roll out in a regional manner rather than trying to do it all at once and not getting it right. We are bringing a well-needed service to Thor dealers.”
States included in the initial rollout are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
When the national rollout is complete, Thor Credit intends to make retail credit available to ”prime” and ”super-prime” consumers at some 1,600 Thor and MVP RV Inc. dealers.
Arienti declined to speculate when Thor CC will expand into other states or which states the company will target next.
The company will finance new RVs manufactured by Thor subsidiaries that include Keystone RV Co., Airstream Inc., Damon Motor Coach, Dutchmen Manufacturing Ind., Komfort Corp., Breckenridge, CrossRoads RV, Four Winds International Corp. and Mandalay Luxury Division. In addition, Thor Credit will offer financing for Thor dealers on qualified used products built by other companies.
Arienti will lead a team of former GE Money executives that include Margaret Gandolfo, senior vice president of finance and operations; Nancy Hartmann, senior vice president of sales; Bob Kennedy, senior vice president of credit; and Mike Rapp, senior vice president of marketing. Bruce Richards has been named Thor Credit’s East Coast sales manager and will be located in Worcester, Mass.
Thor and GE Money ended a lending partnership in May 2008 following GE’s decision that it would no longer make retail RV loans, although GE continues wholesale dealer financing with tighter policies. Following the dissolution of the partnership, Thor announced in November that it would create its own stand-alone financing unit for dealers that sold its products.
”We’ve had a lot of good fortune,” Arienti said. ”Start a business in this environment is challenging — particularly in the capital marks sector.”
Thor Credit is being assisted in the rollout by Carillon Capital Partners, which will manage Thor’s capital market efforts by coordinating the purchase of loans that Thor makes to other lending institutions. ”The on-going strategy is for us to introduce banks to Thor and help educate them on the RV loan product,” said Rob Snow, Carillon Capital managing partner.
”Most of the banks that we are talking to will put them on their balance sheet and hold them there,” said Snow, who also has been a financial adviser to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and companies in the marine sector.
”Overall, the economy is still incredibly weak,” Snow said. ”Ultimately, the RV industry won’t come back in full until there is some underlying strength in the financial industry.”
Although Snow predicted that the recent expansion of Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for dealer floorplan financing will help the RV industry, it won’t happen quickly. “The traditional SBA lenders are not immediately set up to do floorplan financing and the traditional floorplan financiers are not SBA lenders,” Snow said. “The big lenders are trying to figure out how to integrate SBA loans into the mix. It will take awhile, but in the long run it will be positive. It will take three to four months before there is any noticeable impact from it.”