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Louisville Keys on Industry’s Rising Optimism

December 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

RVIA marked the 50th anniversary of its national trade show with a cake cutting ceremony

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th National RV Trade Show, held Nov. 27-29 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky., showcased 2013 product lines as well as the upbeat outlook and spirit of innovation that has seen the industry recover from the recession with three consecutive years of growth.

“Among exhibitors and attendees there was a real belief that the RV industry is strong and resilient and is well positioned for future success,” said RVIA President Richard Coon in a press release. “We still have some challenges in the market, but RV shipments are growing because people love RVs – what they represent and what RVs allow them to do.”

The RV industry’s premier event included 68 manufacturers and 235 suppliers displaying their newest and most innovative products across more than 725,000 square feet of exhibit space. Attendance totaled 7,658, down 6% from 2011. Total buying attendance, representing individual attendees in the RV dealer, accessory store, campground owner and warehouse distributor categories, was off 9%, declining to 2,978.

While attendance was lower than in previous years, manufacturers reported steady traffic and sales.

“We had an outstanding show that exceeded our expectations,” said Matt Buckman of Navistar RV. “We had steady traffic in our booth, and our sales through the first two days exceeded our three-day sales from last year by 40%.”

“KZ had a good show,” said Andy Baer of Shipshewana, Ind.-based KZRV LP. “Dealer traffic was lighter, but the quality was excellent. They were engaged with the product and were here in Louisville to buy.”

“We weren’t sure what to expect at Louisville because we had a big Open House,” said Nate Goldenberg of Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., based in Goshen, Ind. “But, we’re 52% ahead of last year’s Louisville show, and 2011 was a record year for us.”

As part of the Outlook Breakfast that annually kicks off the Louisville Show, RVIA released details of a new shipments projection for 2013, prepared by economist Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan and RVIA’s Market Information Committee. The RV industry recovery from the economic downturn will continue to build strength in 2013, as shipments are expected to rise to 289,900 – a 4.5% increase over the projected 2012 total of 277,300 units.

The rise in shipments to 277,300 units by year-end 2012 would be a nearly 10% gain (9.9%) over the 2011 total of 252,300 and include double digit gains in conventional travel trailers and Class A motorhomes. The expected increase in 2013 would mark four consecutive years of RV market growth.

The 51st National RV Trade Show will take place Dec. 3-5, 2013, at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

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Indiana Firms Show New Product in Louisville

December 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

New products and innovative ideas were on display last week at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

As reported by The Goshen (Ind.) News, the show draws RV dealers, manufacturers and suppliers from across North America as well as visitors from around the world. New products shown by Elkhart County companies included:

Lippert Components Inc.

This Goshen, Ind., company introduced its All American Hitch, a fifth-wheel hitch for towing RVs and cargo trailers. Air cells in the hitch absorb the energy transfer between the hitch and tow vehicle, according to the company, which provides a quieter ride with less vibration.

Other introductions were:

• A wireless leveling system that uses a remote control or computer tablet to control the leveling.

• A friction hinge that is an option on all Lippert entry doors, which allows an RV door to stay open in up to a 15 mph wind, according to the company.

• An integrated locking system for RV entry doors. The RV Lock is a keyless system.

Jayco Inc.

Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco introduced several new units at the show, including he Redhawk Class C motorhome. Jayco now has four Class C product lines.

A new floorplan for the Pinnacle fifth-wheel was displayed. The unit has a front living room and is offered in a 38-foot length.

Two new models in the Jay Feather Ultra Lite travel trailer line were showcased, the 20M and the 23M. The units feature “murphy beds” that allow the smaller trailers to have full-sized beds.

The Seismic toy hauler was shown with a new partial paint option and a six-point leveling system.

A new floorplan for the White Hawk travel trailer was shown and the trailer now has an insulation option.

Three new fifth-wheels in the Eagle line were displayed, as well as a number of upgrades in that line.

Jayco overhauled the exteriors of its Octane sport utility trailers with new graphics featuring gray and white side metal with black trim and accents.

In its pop-up camper line, Jayco showed off a new “stepper door.” The new feature functions as an entrance door and a swing-down entrance step.

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC

EverGreen in Middlebury displayed five lines of travel trailers and fifth-wheels at the show. Included were the all-new Bay Hill fifth-wheel and the new Sun Valley travel trailers.

Gulf Stream Coach

The Ameri-Lite division of Gulf Stream Coach displayed a wider travel trailer based on its 21MB unit. The new, wider trailer has an 8-foot wide interior, which provides more living space and allows for pass-through storage.

KZRV LP

• KZRV introduced its Spree Sandlewood lightweight travel trailer. The trailer has a champagne-colored exterior. The Spree line also has three new floorplans, including one unit with three sliderooms. The trailer is offered in 24- to 36-foot lengths.

Newmar Corp.

• Newmar in Nappanee introduced its Newmar Professional Product Institute.

The institute is an online training academy and certification program for retail sales people who sell Newmar motor homes, according to the company.

The training program consists of 14 modules covering the company and its nine motorhome lines.

Starcraft Inc.

Middlebury-based Starcraft introduced its AR-ONE WideBody series of travel trailers. They range in length from 21 to 27 feet long and can accommodate from four to 10 sleepers.

The company also displayed its redesigned camping trailers and new options for its Galaxy units and its AR-ONE and Launch.

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach introduced its new 33SW Class C motorhome in its Four Winds and Chateau brands.

The unit is built on a Ford F-550 chassis and is powered by a 6.7 -liter diesel engine.

The company also added a 34-foot diesel pusher unit to its Tuscany Class A motorhome line.

Also, the company featured a redesigned Outlaw toy hauler motorhome that features more storage and sleeping capacity.

Venture RV

Shipshewana-based Venture RV displayed its new SportTrek line of lightweight travel trailers. The line offers three lengths from 26-feet to 35-feet and come with an enclosed underbelly.

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Baird: Optimism Building Across RV Industry

November 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: Representatives of Robert W. Baird & Co. met with industry sources at the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., earlier this week. Following are highlights of their takeaways from that event.
After a steep and prolonged downturn, the mood was decidedly optimistic. Consumer demand is improving and dealers are building confidence – driving robust orders in recent months. Meanwhile, inventory appears balanced if not lean, but the fiscal cliff and tax policy threaten to stall an otherwise upward trend.
Optimism is building. Optimism is building in every corner of the industry, including lenders, suppliers, manufacturers and dealers. After an extended downturn, seasoned veterans see promise in: rising consumer confidence, low interest rates, lean/balanced inventory, and less negative equity. Bullish investors see the industry as a derivative play on a housing recovery as pent-up demand returns and dealers restock.
Uncertainty invites caution. Despite the genuine optimism, our group of industry veterans and investors identified a handful of issues that could derail a recovery, including persistent discounting, the impact of the fiscal cliff on consumer confidence, tax policy on discretionary wealth (including potential end for favorable treatment of interest), and the potential for dealer exuberance to create an inventory bubble. Bearish investors see artificially boosted backlogs driven by an earlier order cycle and aggressive discounting fueling a small inventory bubble ahead of the fiscal cliff.
Inventory balanced, if not lean. After an extended destocking cycle, dealer inventory is fresh and turning well. In anticipation of a better year next year, dealers have begun to build inventory again, transitioning from lean to balanced. We believe the restocking effect could persist for several quarters, but the growing inventory introduces risk to the industry in the event consumer demand fails to materialize. Our dealer checks indicate motorhome inventory is still lean, while towable inventory is balanced.
Other comments follow.
•Preliminary reports indicate that trade show attendance fell 7%, consistent with the sparse feel we observed. Importantly, attendance has been slipping in recent years as more dealers participate in a new show in Elkhart, Ind., which takes place in September. At some point, the two shows may need to merge.
• RVIA raised its shipment forecast during the show. Shipments are expected to increase 10% to 277K units (from prior forecast of +8%, 274K) in 2012 and 4.5% to 290K units (from prior +1%, 275K) in 2013. Many of our contacts considered the forecast conservative.
• Auction values have stabilized, which should help limit negative equity and support trade-in activity.
• Grand Design RV, a startup manufacturer founded by Bill Fenech, Ron Fenech and Don Clark, formally introduced itself to industry partners. The former Thor executives are widely respected across the industry and rightly viewed as a viable long-term threat to entrenched leaders.
• “Go big or get out.” Dealer consolidation has become a more important trend. Multi-site dealers now represent over 15% of all dealerships, two to three times the percentage prior to the recession. The trend provides these dealers with better leverage during negotiations with manufacturers. Soon, some experts believe 80% of industry retail will go through 20% of RV dealers.
• Recent corrections to industry registration data that effectively reduced the measurable level of dealer inventory led Drew to become more optimistic about the industry shipment outlook.After a long destocking period, dealer inventory became excessively lean. Overall inventory levels have rationalized since then, as motorhome inventory remains somewhat lean and towable inventory is more balanced.
• RV ownership is at its highest level ever (8.5% of the U.S. population) due in part to improved marketing and a broad array of product offerings to appeal to a variety of demographics, according to industry participants.
• January retail shows will be the next indicator of consumer demand.
• While the fiscal cliff weighs on the minds of investors, manufacturers and dealers, many noted that the issue is not top-of-mind with RV consumers.
• While there is little doubt that Obamacare will have an impact, industry participants indicated there is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the regulations and their implications, including the timing of the impact. In many parts of Indiana, employees do not participate in company-sponsored healthcare plans based on religious traditions.
• There is some concern that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may regulate dealer-arranged financing – a move that would be detrimental for the industry.
• The possible elimination of the second mortgage interest deduction weighed on the minds of investors and was acknowledged as a potential headwind.
• Discounting has persisted due to competitive pressures as OEMs look in the fall to secure shelf space for the Spring season.
• Floorplan financing is more than affordable for well-qualified dealers (near 4%).The consumer loan portfolio remains healthy overall, with post-2009 originations in “pristine condition – better than ever” according to industry lenders.
• Loan-to-value averages near 90% (based on wholesale) – high quality borrowers may hit up to 120%.Kentucky Exposition Center.
To subscribe to this and other Baird reports, contact Craig R. Kennison at ckennison@rwbaird.com.
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Trouble Shooter Clinic Demo Set for Louisville

November 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) will host a special Trouble Shooter Clinic demonstration at the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show to provide industry members with an in-depth look at the comprehensive technical training available through the association’s Trouble Shooter Clinics.

The demonstrations will take place during show hours over the course of the three-day event, Nov. 27–29, in Conference Room C101 in the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Trouble Shooter Clinic instructors will be on hand to answer questions and provide hands-on instruction demonstrations. Those stopping by the Trouble Shooter Clinic Demonstration will be given a 10% discount on attendance to any of the U.S. 2013 clinics.

The tentative 2013 Trouble Shooter Clinic schedule includes sessions in Denver, Colo., in January; Orange County, Calif., in February; South Bend, Ind., in March; Tampa, Fla., in August; and Calgary, Alberta, in November.

RVIA’s Trouble Shooter Clinics now offer participants more class time, smaller class sizes and expanded hands-on training in a track-oriented format featuring four specialty areas.

Participants attend one track at a time and need to complete the Foundation track, or already be a certified RV service technician, before taking any of the other three tracks. The tracks being offered in the 2013 sessions include:

• Foundation/Plumbing – three days (24 hours) for $480 per person.

• Running Gear, Hydraulics, Slide-Outs & Towing – two days (16 hours) for $320 per person.

• Appliances – four days (32 hours) for $640 per person.

• Power Sources – three days (24 hours) for $480 per person.

The registration fee equates to approximately $20 per credit hour. Trouble Shooter Clinic attendees will receive a 10% discount on any RV service technician certification testing, if taken within 90 days following the clinic.

For more information about the Trouble Shooter Clinic Demonstration or the 2013 schedule, visit the RVIA Education Booth at the National RV Trade Show.

 

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Louisville to Feature Robust Seminar Schedule

November 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) will offer a robust seminar schedule for the 50th National RV Trade Show, taking place Nov. 27–29 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, that will help dealer attendees boost sales and increase profitability.

The sessions kick off on Nov. 27 with “Dealing with Uncertain Market Conditions – Not Knowing What Will Happen Next Puts a Strain on Financial Planning” conducted by Randy Sobel of Sobel & Associates at 12:30–1:30 p.m. This seminar will focus on helping dealers with business planning and forecasting in uncertain markets so they can be more productive and profitable.

Sobel is president of Sobel Associates Inc., a marketing, training and consulting firm to the retail sales industry that has trained over 50,000 managers and salespeople in more than 400 dealerships throughout the United States and Canada.

On Nov. 28, three seminars are scheduled, including:

• “Measuring and Getting ROI from Social Media” from Dennis Galbraith of DrivingSales.com, taking place from 8–9 a.m. This session will examine a comprehensive formula for measuring the return on investment (ROI) from social media and demonstrate how to capture the benefits of social media and determine the value of those efforts. Galbraith leads Research and Business Intelligence for Dealers at DrivingSales.com. He previously ran the Internet division of J.D. Power and Associates and served as vice president of advertising products and training at Cars.com.

• “The Power of 5 — The 5 Main Ingredients to a Sale” from Michael Rees of A World of Training will take place from 12:30–1:30 p.m. This session will focus on the ingredients that every sale must have and cover which parts of the process are vitally important for each ingredient. Rees is a hands-on, results oriented leader with a comprehensive successful background in RV and automobile sales, management, training and overall dealership operations.

• Galbraith returns for Wednesday’s final session, “Profit Potential All Around Us – Capitalizing on Business Intelligence for Dealers” from 3–4 p.m. This seminar will demonstrate how to combine local knowledge with first-class business intelligence to boost business.

On Nov. 29, Rees will present “The Wow Factor – Making a Difference for Your Customers” from 8:00–9:00 a.m. This workshop will walk dealers through three easy steps – service tour, video e-mail followup and surprise delivery gift – that will help sales soar by blowing customers away with an unforgettable experience.

All seminars will take place in South Wing Conference Room C108.

 

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Airstream Unveils Land Yacht ‘Concept Trailer’

November 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Jackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream Inc. will display its expanded product lineup of travel trailers and touring coach models during the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show Louisville, Ky.

Included in the display will be the launch of the Land Yacht concept trailer featuring:

• Crafted with quality materials and equipment throughout, including high-luster teak and white wood inlay boat deck flooring, LED panel lighting elements, Corian® solid surfaces and plush Ultraleather.

• The contemporary look was created by Tecnoform’s engineering department in partnership with Mauro Micheli, the long-time designer for Riva Yachts.

• Features include a bedroom up Front, a bathroom amidships and a rear social space including a galley that can be hidden when not in use.

Other new models from Airstream include:

• 30FB Flying Cloud – This new model features a main bedroom with a north-south walk-around queen bed and a rear bedroom with a lower double bed and an additional bunk overhead.

• International Series Signature – New interior options for all new models include a Mojave color scheme that comes with premium fabrics by Sunbrella.

• Interstate and Interstate EXT – Now available in a new floor plan that seats up to nine adults. A new black Ultraleather option is available for the Onyx and Camel décors.

 

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‘Outlook 2013′ Set to Kick Off Louisville Show

November 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” will kick off the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th National RV Trade Show on Nov. 27 with an informative, entertaining program that will honor the rich heritage of the event while emphasizing the fundamental opportunity found in a new RV, a new show and a new year.

According to a press release, the free program will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast in the Kentucky Exposition Center’s (KEC) South Wing Mezzanine Ballroom. One of the most anticipated annual industry events with more than 1,000 RV dealers and show exhibitors expected to be on hand, “Outlook 2013” will entertain and inform attendees with fast-paced, insightful presentations.

Hosted by RVIA Chairman Doug Gaeddert, “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” will feature “Time to Shine” with RVIA President Richard Coon’s thoughts on the state of the industry and where it is headed in the year ahead.

“Mining Media Gold,” is a multi-media presentation highlighting the most impactful advertising and public relations achievements in 2012, while previewing what’s in store for 2013. The presentation will be led by Go RVing Co-Chairs Bob Olson and Tom Stinnett as well as RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst.

RVIA will also welcome business expert Larry Winget to the Outlook lineup. Winget is a five-time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose books offer solid, common sense advice for improving your business. With his direct, irreverent, dead-on approach, he is also a popular and frequent guest on Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, MSNBC and NBC’s Today show.

The “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” program and breakfast are free for attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. All National RV Trade Show attendees are welcome, and no reservations are necessary. Show registration will be available in the South Wing Lobby C Entrance prior to the event.

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RVIA: All Industry Sectors to Meet in Louisville

November 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Backed by four consecutive years of growing shipments and a steady recovery, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th National RV Trade Show is the “one place” where the latest products, manufacturers, suppliers and RV dealers convene, according to a press release. The show will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, Nov. 27–29.

“Our 50th annual trade show is a testament to both our industry’s strength, as well as evidence of the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “This show brings the industry together in one place where attendees can see the best that our entire industry has to offer, meet with each other, conduct business and develop the relationships that drive the innovation that has kept RVs relevant with the American people for decades.”

The RV industry’s premiere trade event will feature 63 manufacturer and 222 supplier exhibitors displaying the latest RV products across more than 720,000 square feet of exhibit space. More than 8,000 attendees including RV dealers, warehouse distributors, accessory store owners, campground operators and exhibitor personnel are expected to be on hand for the show.

In addition to the latest RVs and RV products that will be on display, the show will also offer attendees informative programs and seminars. Below is the event schedule for the National RV Trade Show.

50th National RV Trade Show Schedule 
 Tuesday, November 27
  7:30 am 7:30 am – 9:00 am – Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity
KEC South Wing Mezzanine Level Ballroom
Complimentary Full Breakfast Served at 7:30 a.m.
 9:00 am     To 5:30 pm  Exhibit Floor Open
 12:30 pm     To 1:30 pm   Randy Sobel, Sobel & Associates, Inc.
Dealing with Uncertain Market Conditions —
Not Knowing What Will Happen Next Puts
a Strain on Financial Planning!
South Wing Conference Room C108
$60 On-Site — Lunch included; served at 12:00 noon.
 Wednesday, November 28
 8:00 am      To 9:00 am  Dennis Galbraith, DrivingSales.com
Measuring and Getting ROI from Social Media
 South Wing Conference Room C108
$60 On-Site — Breakfast included; served at 7:30 am.
 
 9:30 am      To 5:30 pm   Exhibit Floor Open
 12:30 pm      To 1:30 pm  Michael Rees, A World of Training
The Power of 5 — The 5 Main Ingredients to a Sale
 South Wing Conference Room C108
$60 On-Site — Lunch included; served at 12:00 noon.
 3:00 pm      To 4:00 pm  Dennis Galbraith, DrivingSales.com
Profit Potential All Around Us, Capitalizing on
Business Intelligence for Dealers
South Wing Conference Room C108
$60 On-Site — Light refreshments included.
 Thursday, November 29
 8:00 am       To 9:00 am  Michael Rees, A World of Training
The Wow Factor — Making a Difference for Your Customers
 South Wing Conference Room C108
$60 On-Site — Breakfast included; served at 7:30 am.
 9:00 am       To 3:00 pm  Exhibit Floor Open

 

 

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Louisville RV Show to Feature 50th Celebration

November 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the National RV Trade Show, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau (LCVB) and the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) will celebrate with cake and beverages for show attendees on the afternoon of Nov. 28.

According to a press release, the centerpiece of the celebration will be a cake baked in the form of an early 1960s RV. This cake will be displayed throughout the show in the South Wing Lobby C foyer.

A cake-cutting ceremony, featuring brief remarks from RVIA President Richard Coon,, Jim Wood from the LCVB, and Harold Workman of the KEC will take place at 2 p.m. Following the cake-cutting ceremony, cupcakes featuring a special “50″ logo and beverages will be served to show attendees in the South Wing Lobby C Foyer and the restaurant area in the West Wing.

This is RVIA’s 50th National RV Trade Show – 49 of the 50 have been held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

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Rollin’ on TV to Marquee RVB’s ‘Best of Show’

November 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Rollin’ on TV” (ROTV), a 3-year-old production company from Mattapoisett, Mass., will be producing a special video episode on RVBusiness magazine’s annual “Best of Show” promotion during the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th Annual National RV Trade Show, Nov. 27-29 in Louisville, Ky.

The half-hour segment is set for a primary airing in late December and early January through a growing TV network reaching 20 million viewers in 27 states and will focus on three new RVs that the magazine’s Indiana-based staff deems the 2013 model year’s most interesting new products on display at Louisville — one of which will be designated as the “Best of Show.”

All three will also be publicized in RVB’s Jan./Feb. issue.

“People ask whether ‘Best of Show’ honors are for a unit we think will gain the most market acceptance and, therefore, the most sales — or whether it’s for the most innovative and cutting-edge design, regardless of marketability,” said RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “But the fact of the matter is that it ordinarily winds up being a combination of both.”

This segment and a separate trade show-related ROTV episode being taped at Louisville will be seen — and often rebroadcast — on an array of TV outlets affiliated with ABC, Fox, My NetWork TV and the WB Network. Additionally, it will be shown on three regional sports networks and will receive national coverage on the Dish Network on Cox Sports Network, reported ROTV Executive Producer Joe Moniz.

“Besides the overall show coverage,” said Moniz, “this special episode, for which we’re currently working to line up an anchor sponsor, will include interviews and segments on the award-winning RVs with company representatives for both the main ‘Best of Show’ manufacturer as well as those representing the other units in contention for the honor.

“We think that RVBusiness is on to something with this ‘Best of Show’ idea, and we would like to help them amplify this whole concept in the future like Motor Trend’s ‘Car of the Year’ award.”

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