Multi-location dealer Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores claimed the distinction as California’s No. 1 dealer in unit sales for 2011 followed closely by McMahon RV, according to figures compiled by the California Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
Representatives for the association noted that the totals, collected from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, reflected registrations for new RVs.
A breakdown showed:
• In the motorized category, Mike Thompson’s RV captured a 21.2% market share for the year while McMahon RV posted a 20.1% share and La Mesa RV Center had a 10.7% share.
• Towable sales were led by Mike Thompson’s RV with a 7.6% market share followed by McMahon RV (7%) and Giant RV (6.8%). Best RV, Turlock, and Richardson’s RV Center both posted a 5.3% share.
“This is a huge accomplishment for Mike Thompson RV because our team has a rich history of taking care of its customers and supporting them not only during, but after the sale as well,” said Mark Rosenbaum, sales director the dealership, which operates five locations in California, including Santa Fe Springs, two outlets in Fountain Valley, Colton and Cathedral City. “We fully understand that satisfied customers provide repeat business and that referrals make up the majority of our business. Achieving the No. 1 dealer status is an affirmation by our customers, they are confident to spend their money with us.”
As the 58th Annual California RV Show turns toward the home stretch of its 10-day run at Pomona’s Fairplex, the weather appeared to be clearing on Friday (Oct. 22) for the finale weekend.
And that’s a good thing, because six days of on-and-off rain have tested the nerves of participating dealers and the 43 RV manufacturers who have stepped up to show some 800 units at the Fairplex show, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) only sponsored retail event.
On the other hand, there were encouraging signs at the 460,000-square-foot exposition — versus 420,000 square feet of exhibit space last year — that the Southern California marketplace is gradually coming back to life.
As Marsha McGinnis, RVIA’s western show director, pointed out: “The shoppers have been here. They’ve come out with their rain gear.”
Statistically speaking, attendance by Friday was probably running a bit ahead of last year’s show, which ultimately registered 18,200 attendees, according to McGinnis.
And the weekend weather forecast was looking rather good, as were some of the visitors’ buying habits. “Everybody has the notion that we save our best prices for the weekend,” said McGinnis. “The banks are here and the credit companies are here and the sales have been up. The buyers have been coming out in the inclement weather and buying in a greater percentage over 2009. That’s reflected on the move-out lists.”
The dealers with whom we spoke came down on both sides of the fence with regard to Pomona.
Of course, given the weather, show reports were mixed at week’s end.
Bob Barouti, of Montclair, Calif.-based Giant RV, which had several displays incorporating about 125 to 150 Fleetwood, Thor, Heartland, Forest River and MVP lines, didn’t sound all that enthused.
“We are not totally happy, but are thankful for what we are doing,” said Barouti, who had sold about 75 units by Friday. “Of course, we are not doing what we did several years ago. We used to do 300 to 400 units at the show. This year, we’re doing much better than last year, but the economy is still sluggish here in Southern California, which has put a damper on sales.”
“You would think we’re in the Pacific Northwest,” noted Mike Lankford, general sales manager at McMahon’s RV, with stores Colton, Irvine and Palm Desert. “It’s been damp, cool and misty. People in California are fair weather fans, but the buyers do come out. This separates the buyers from the shoppers, which isn’t necessarily a bad deal at all,”
Despite the rain, Lankford says he’s meeting his goals for the Pomona Show. “We’ve had an even selection of interest,” said Langford, who was showing everything from entry-level towables to Monaco Class As. “Nothing has dominated. Our target was (to sell) 300 units, and we’re tracking about 250. We’ve sold about 15 diesels, 20 Class A’s and 30 C’s. The weather has circumvented some of our business we had targeted, but we are up significantly from last year. For example, on Thursday, we sold five diesels in the rain.”
“Before the rain, we were substantially ahead of last year,” added Frank DeGelas, president of Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. “And, frankly, we’re ahead of last year, despite the rain. It’s a pretty positive show, but it would have been a very good show if it hadn’t been for the rain. The buyer interest is high. The credit quality is good. I think we’re seeing all the indications of a pent-up buying demand. It will be real interesting to find out what happens this final weekend if, in fact, we get good weather.”
DeGelas, for his part, can’t ever remember rain like this, keeping in mind that there were times when torrential rains washed out the show back when it was located at Dodger Stadium. But no one can remember sustained rain like this. “This is unprecedented for California,” he noted, “and I think that if this thing were happening in Washington State, where rain is commonplace, I don’t think the rain would have hurt it so badly. Around here, we just don’t go out in the rain.”
Weather aside, DeGelas sees the cup half-full in a business sense because he sees a turnaround in Southern California. “This year is a whole different ballgame than it was a couple of years ago,” says DeGelas. What I’m trying to say is that the volume is up, but the margins are up more significantly.
“Now, I’m not saying that it’s unleashing vigorously,” he told RVBUSINESS.com. “I’m convinced it will. What will trigger it? I don’t know. You know, the local politics and economic situation are pretty tough. But, that said, we see things coming back. Our dealership is significantly ahead of last year.
“But what’s the old saying? ‘It’s hard to fall out of bed when you’re laying on the floor. So, we have no way to go but up, and we are up.”
Barring the unforseen, DeGelas says 2011 looks to be a decent year.
“For Mike Thompson, next year will be decent,” he said. “We’re now well-positioned with our product and we’re profitable — certainly not much, but profitable — and going into next year, not competing with the new and used distressed merchandise like last year, it’ll be better. The question is how much.
“One of my concerns is whether we’re in a position as an industry to ramp up next year quickly enough. You know, I’ve been doing this a number of years and I see the back end of recessions generate pretty good sales when the pent-up demand unleashes. Granted, this downturn seems different because there’s such high unemployment. But we don’t want to endure all this pain and not be positioned for the upswing when it does occur, as it will sometime. The question is when.”
Lazydays in Seffner, Fla., has been named Tiffin Motorhomes’ No. 1 dealer for 2010. The Red Bay, Ala.-based Class A motorhome manufacturer announced its top dealers today (Aug. 23) in a news release.
Lazydays opened in 1976 in a mobile home on a leased 1.75-acre lot with two travel trailers in inventory and $500 in capital. In 1996, Lazydays moved into its 126-acre SuperCenter, which has more than 1,000 motorized and towable RVs on display, 273 service bays and a 300-site RV park.
The other Top Tiffin Dealers for 2010 are Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores in Sante Fe Springs, Cal.; La Mesa RV in San Diego, Cal.; North Trail RV Center in Fort Myers, Fla.;, Davis Motorhome Mart in Memphis, Tenn.; Horizon Lussier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Bankston Motor Homes in Huntsville, Ala.; Dixie RV SuperStores, in Hammond, La.; Vogt RV Centers USA in Fort Worth, Texas; Colton RV in North Tonawanda, N.Y.; Marlin Ingram RV Center in Montgomery, Ala.; and Bucars RV Center in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Tiffin Motorhomes, founded in 1972, received one of three prestigious 2009 Quality Circle Awards presented by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) to Class A motorhome manufacturers for design, reliability, quality, value and competitive price.
Tiffin has earned the Quality Circle Award 11 of the 14 years it has been presented by the RVDA in connection with its Dealer Satisfaction Index. The 2009 survey included 1,644 brand ratings from 322 dealers. Quality Circle Awards are made to manufacturers receiving at least 15 dealer responses and scoring at least 80% in overall dealer satisfaction.
In addition to the consumer-related categories of the survey, Tiffin also was recognized with the Quality Circle Award for exemplary warranty, parts, sales and communications support to dealerships.
For additional information including dealer locations visit www.tiffinmotorhomes.com.
Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., Kitchner, Ont., announced today (Feb. 22) that Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores in California has signed with Roadtrek to sell and service its No. 1 selling Class B motorhomes.
Mike Thompson’s is one of the largest and financially strongest dealers in the U.S. Roadtreks will be sold at all of its four southern California locations: Santa Fe Springs, Fountain Valley, Colton and Cathedral City.
“Mike Thompson’s is a perfect fit for Roadtrek,” stated Roadtrek chairman Jeff Hanemaayer in a news release. “Like us, they’ve been around for almost 40 years. They offer award-winning customer service from great service and parts facilities achieving a Customer Service Index of 97%. We couldn’t be happier having them there to take care of the many current and new Roadtrek owners in the largest Class B market.”
“Their professionalism and enthusiasm for the business has been obvious in all our dealings from the start,” noted Roadtrek President Jim Hammill. “Their reputation in the industry gives us great comfort that we are teaming up with the best.”
“Mike Thompson’s RV Superstores is already the No. 1 RV Dealer in California and with great product lines. Roadtrek gives us the opportunity for significant incremental sales by helping us enter the Class B van motorhome market with the industry leader in market share, quality and CSI.” said Mike Thompson’s owner Frank De Gelas. “We are very impressed with the Roadtrek manufacturing facilities, their product and their people.”
“An RV is not an investment; it’s a lifestyle,” General Manager Jim Hardy said. “It gets in your blood, and nobody’s willing to give it up.”
Mike Thompson’s RV sells new and used coaches at 68-318 E. Palm Canyon Drive and is already ahead of sales projections for February, Hardy said.
While the RV industry was hit as hard as any by the economy, it is already starting to bounce back, he said.
“It seems to be picking up every day,” Hardy said.
The Cathedral City center is the chain’s newest location and gives local customers the additional advantage of searching inventory in the Santa Fe Springs, Fountain Valley and Colton locations for a larger selection.
The center will deliver RVs for potential customers to test-drive and buyers who live out of state.
Mike Thompson’s came to Cathedral City to serve the Snow Birds visiting the large number of RV parks in the Coachella Valley.
“This is one of the strongest markets in the country in the winter,” Hardy said.
Jim Roberts, who travels to Cathedral City from St. Louis for the winters, recently checked out an Allegro Bus at Mike Thompson’s RV that came loaded with wood cabinets, tile floors and leather interior among other amenities.
Roberts has been into RVs for about 35 years.
“You’ve got everything with you,” and don’t have to worry about the hassle of airports and hotels. “It just makes it nice that you can be everywhere you want to be, no suitcase.”
Though a new RV ranges from about $30,000 for a towable to $400,000 for Class A diesel pushers, the convenience and travel style that hooked Roberts is keeping buyers coming back, Hardy said.
“We sell fun,” he said.
Fleetwood RV Inc. recognized its 2009 Top Dealers and Circle of Excellence award recipients this week during the 47th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
Fleetwood’s Top Dealer awards are given to dealers who have retailed the most units in a 12-month period. The Circle of Excellence is awarded to dealers who have achieved superior customer satisfaction with at least 93.5% of their customers in a 12-month period, according to a news release.
“We have the best dealer network in the industry,” said John Draheim, Fleetwood president and COO. “Our dealers are a crucial part of our success, and the Top Dealer and Circle of Excellence awards help us acknowledge their sales and customer service excellence, as well as thank them for their ongoing support.”
Fleetwood’s 2009 Overall Top Dealer award winners are:
- Lazydays RV SuperCenter, Seffner, Fla., Overall Motorhome Top Dealer (single location) and Overall American Coach Top Dealer (single location).
- Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Overall Motorhome Top Dealer (multi-location).
Fleetwood RV also presented 2009 Top Dealer awards to eight dealerships who were the No. 1 motorhome brand retailers.
In addition, over 20 dealers achieved Fleetwood’s 2009 Circle of Excellence Award. Particularly noteworthy were Tom Johnson Camping Center in Marion, N.C., and Farnsworth Camping Center Inc. in Elysburg, Pa., both of which have achieved the Circle of Excellence every year since the award’s inception in 1991.