A strong turnout is expected Tuesday (Jan. 11) and Wednesday at an open interview for jobs at General RV Center’s new store set to begin operation this spring in Huntley, Ill.
Notices from the Wixom, Mich.,-based company promise “over 30 positions to be filled” in management, sales, service, parts, clerical and billing with nice benefits like medical, matching 401k contributions and paid vacations, The First Electric Newspaper reported.
General RV’s Huntley superstore now under construction south of the Auto Mall is planned as its first entry into the Chicago market. The company claims it’s the fourth largest RV dealer in the nation.
Interviews for jobs at the new center are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at West Dundee’s Courtyard Marriott West off Route 31 just south of the cemetery and just before the tollway. Applicants are advised to “dress for interview,” according to one notice.
As FEN reported last month, online applications for a job at General RV are available at http://www.generalrv.com/contact-us-employment.aspx
It’s going to be a good year for recreational vehicle sales, say RV dealers and manufacturers and the RV trade organization.
“We had an excellent year in RV sales in 2010. We feel that 2011 is going to be the best year we have ever seen in the RV industry,” Gary Miller, owner of Wana RV in Shipshewana, Ind., told The Goshen (Ind.) News.
Miller’s expectations are for his growing RV sales business. As a whole, the industry is expecting an increase of 3.9%. That number is based on a consumer survey by Richard Curtain of the University of Michigan. Curtain has been an analyst from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) for many years.
After three years of declines, the RV industry rebounded in 2010 with a 47.7% gain in shipments. As of November, the year’s total shipments reached 224,000 units.
This month, retail shows are beginning across the country and manufacturers and dealers are trying to gauge if Curtain’s prediction for another year of gains will come true.
“… If I can go by my two days of sales, we are up compared to last year,” said Joe Weider, operations manager for General RV Center in North Canton, Ohio. Weider’s sales staff was at the RV show in Cleveland, the biggest indoor sales event in the country. “My crystal ball says we should have a pretty good year.”
Weider said his sales center is the largest motorhome dealership in Ohio and also sells fifth-wheels and travel trailers. They have added some new manufacturers and products this year. But Weider said the sales year is too young to gauge if there will be any trends this year.
Phil Sarvari, executive vice president of Gulf Stream Coach Inc. in Nappanee, Ind., said the year’s sales will depend on consumers’s attitudes.
“As long as people feel good and they know they are going to have jobs, they will be willing to spend,” Sarvari said.
Americans have embraced RVs, he said, and want to continue camping and using that outdoor experience to bond with their family and friends. “It is a way of life. It is relaxing. They support each other, they tell stories and play games. You know, that is important,” Sarvari said.
At Jayco Inc. in Middlebury, the storage lots have many newly made units ready to be shipped.
“We’ve garnered a lot of momentum with the introduction of new products,” said Jim Jacobs, a vice president at Jayco.
Jacobs said the company has added new products and new price points to generate business. “That is what is going to carry our momentum. You have to be innovative to survive in this industry,” he said.
Motorhome sales dipped drastically when the recession began, and since it has ended the RV segment has continued to struggle. In 2010, Class A luxury motorcoaches averaged around 1,000 units shipped each month. The Class C motorhomes averaged even less.
But if manufacturers offer a quality product, Jacobs said there are buyers wanting them.
“In the Class A line, we have been extremely happy with the performance of the Entegra line,” Jacobs said. “Not only from the response from the dealer network, but the response from the consumer network. There are a lot of consumers out there still buying high-end diesel products. That customer is still there.”
To the east of Jayco’s Middlebury complex, Miller is getting ready for the upcoming RV show at the Century Center in South Bend. He plans to take 24 units and his son Justin will help with sales.
Miller has added units from Forest River Inc.’s Rockwood line made in Millersburg. He also has Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. and CrossRoads RV products.
He expects a good show in South Bend as financing is more available for buyers this year.
“As far as retail financing RVs, it definitely has gotten better than it was a year ago,” Miller said. But financing has changed. He said two years ago buyers could make a purchase without a down payment. Now a 10% down payment is standard practice.
“It really is a good thing because people will pay that 10% so when they are ready to sell it or trade it in they are not upside down on the unit. They don’t feel like they are taking such a loss,” Miller said.
Robert Jensen figures that sales of recreational vehicles will tell you a lot about the state of the economy: “We lead in and out of recession.”
And the Sportsmen’s Vacation and RV Show at the South Towne Expo Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is whispering to him that families are spending and credit is flowing once more, according to the Deseret News.
It’s not a flood, mind you. But the credit well’s no longer dry, either.
“In my 30 years, yesterday was the best-ever first day of an RV show in terms of qualified buyers,” Jensen, of General RV Center in Draper, said on Friday (Feb. 19). “Banks are loosening up. And they know that people will (keep up payments) because they want to protect their RVs.”
While the crowd size is about the same as last year, he said, “more people are actually buying.”
“More motivated” is how Shane Kramer of Motor Sportsland in Murray described the shoppers he was seeing. And he believes the recession has played a big role in that. The rough economy has led people to vacation closer to home. Throw in the combination of more credit unions stepping in to provide financing, money in general becoming more available and the RV manufacturers creating lighter, more fuel-efficient rigs and it’s a winner for someone who wants an RV, he said. You can go into the mountains for a nice vacation for the whole family for the equivalent of a single plane ticket.
That doesn’t mean it’s boom town at the show, Kramer noted. He estimated that last year’s show was down about 40% from pre-recession attendance. And it’s still down. But it is looking better.
“I see a lot of optimism,” said Jay Jensen of Sierra RV in Sunset. “Consumer confidence is back.” And while he said credit is still a little sluggish, RVs are moving. He said at a national manufacturer’s show — where dealers go to select the models they want to carry — expectations were for a big bump in business for 2010. And that about describes his expectations.
The last year ended well for his business, he said, with sales and new hires and the opportunity to snag some great deals on pre-owned RVs.
As for what’s selling, Jay Jensen said younger families are going after smaller units, while older shoppers are drawn to motorhomes and bigger fifth-wheels. Robert Jensen has seen great interest in 25- to 32-foot RVs in the $15,000-to-$30,000 price range. And he also noted that manufacturers are introducing new models this year, not just trying to clear inventory. So they’re apparently feeling optimistic, too, he said.
The show also drew browsers like Clyde and Laris Nichols of Farmington. He’s a woodworker, searching for ideas on ways to improve some cabinets he doesn’t love in their 27-foot RV.
They don’t get out in the RV as much as they’d like, he said, but this is the year they’re hoping to go farther — and stay longer.
It’s also the year that Ryan and Renee Woolf of Syracuse hope to add a solar power generation system to their three-year-old fifth-wheel RV.
She noted that the prices have dropped from what they were when they bought their RV. “You can get bigger and nicer for less than we paid,” she said.
The show ended Sunday.