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Louisville Bridge Repair Could Pose Challenges

November 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

RVIA National RV Trade Show

The Sept. 9 closure of a key I-64 bridge over the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky could pose some challenges for those attending RVIA’s 49th Annual RV Trade Show, Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Louisville, Ky.

Just how much depends on whom you talk to.

Crews this week are preparing the nearly 50-year-old Sherman Minton Bridge, which was unexpectedly closed Sept. 9 after several cracks were found in steel support beams for an elaborate $13.9 million fix. The repairs will add 2.4 million pounds of new steel plating along both sides of the 1,600-foot span. Around-the-clock efforts are expected to lead to a March reopening.

In the interim, it’s fair to say, the closure of the I-64 bridge, one of three spanning the Ohio River at Louisville, has frustrated commuters who have been largely funneled over to the I-65 bridge at Clarksville, Ind.

Don’t worry about it, says one unnamed Louisville Metro Police Department official consulted Monday (Nov. 7) by RVBUSINESS.com. He claims things are moving smoothly, even in the morning and evening rush hours. Just plan a little extra time for the commute to the Kentucky Exposition Center, he suggested, and you’ll be fine.

“Well, it’s been two months and, right now, the traffic’s been moving smoothly for work hours in the morning and at night,” he said. “It’s not a big deal. It might take a little more time than if the other (I-64) bridge was open. But the way that they’ve rerouted traffic – you can either still go I-65 or the Clark Memorial Bridge off of Second Street — I wouldn’t see where you’re going to have much problem.”

However, another Louisville Metro spokesman who also asked that her name not be used, was a bit more direct. “The bridge traffic is pretty awful,” she told us. “Oh my gosh, depending on what time of day, you can be on that (I-65) bridge for an hour. It’s 80 different kinds of awful.”

 

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SPEED Channel’s Wood Joins Outlook Agenda

October 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rutledge Wood

Popular television personality and NASCAR racing analyst Rutledge Wood will appear at “Outlook 2012: Up and Away,” RVIA’s popular all-industry pep rally kicking off the 49th National RV Trade Show on Nov. 29 at 7:30 a.m. in the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) Mezzanine Level Ballroom.

According to a news release, Wood is a roving race analyst for the SPEED Channel and one of the hosts of History’s “Top Gear.” For the past two years, he and his family have starred in RV travel vignettes produced by Go RVing that have appeared on SPEED’s NASCAR programming. Another vignette is planned for next year as part of Go RVing’s advertising on the SPEED Channel.

“We are excited to have Rutledge at the Outlook program. He and his family have done a tremendous job in letting young families know about the fun of RVing through their vignettes,” said Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst. “As a fan of racing and a fan of RVing, he will have some compelling stories to share.”

Hosted by RVIA Chairman Gregg Fore, “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” will also feature “What’s Up!” with RVIA President Richard Coon providing his thoughts in key RV industry issues and detailing how RVIA is working to help the industry soar.

In “Away We Go!,” Go RVing Co-Chairs Bob Olson and Tom Stinnett will team with RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and Ashurst for a joint multimedia presentation recounting 2011 accomplishments in the advertising and public relations arenas and reviewing new approaches for the upcoming year.

The program culminates with Stan Richards, founder and creative principal of the Richards Group, unveiling the agency’s new Go RVing “AWAY” national advertising campaign and sharing marketing insights drawn from his long career as one of the advertising industry’s respected leaders.

 

As always, special guests and surprises will be part of the show lineup.

 

The “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” program and breakfast are free for attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis. All National RV Trade Show attendees are welcome, and no reservations are necessary. Show badge registration will be available in the South Wing Lobby C Entrance prior to the event.

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‘Away’ Campaign Debuts at Outlook Breakfast

October 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Outlook Breakfast

“Outlook 2012: Up & Away” will kick off the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 49th National RV Trade Show on Tuesday, Nov. 29, with an informative, entertaining program culminating with the debut of Go RVing’s new “AWAY” national advertising campaign.

The free event will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a complimentary sit-down 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 2012″ will entertain and inform attendees with a combination of insightful presentations and high-energy fun, according to a news release. As always, attendees are urged to arrive early as lines form well before the doors open.

Hosted by RVIA Chairman of the Board Gregg Fore, “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” will feature “What’s Up!” with RVIA President Richard Coon discussing key industry issues and examining how RVIA is working to help the industry soar.

In “Away We Go!,” Go RVing Co-Chairmen Bob Olson and Tom Stinnett will team with RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst for a joint multimedia presentation recounting 2011 accomplishments in the advertising and public relations arenas and reviewing new approaches for the upcoming year.

The program culminates with Stan Richards, founder and creative principal of The Richards Group, unveiling the agency’s new Go RVing “AWAY” national advertising campaign and sharing marketing insights drawn from his long career as one of the advertising industry’s most respected leaders.

As always, special guests and surprises will be part of the show lineup.

The “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” program and breakfast are free for attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis. All National RV Trade Show attendees are welcome, and no reservations are necessary. Show badge registration will be available in the South Wing Lobby C Entrance prior to the event.

 

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Louisville RV Show Expands Seminar Schedule

September 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is offering an expanded seminar schedule at the National RV Trade Show that features business experts providing valuable information on how to boost business and increase profits in a challenging marketplace.

Sessions on the schedule include:

• “Exploring Aftermarket Accessories – A New Revenue Source” with SEMA Director of Councils Zane Clark on Nov. 29 from 2:30–3:30 p.m. Attendees will learn simple, industry-proven accessory practices that will help the bottom line, differentiate your product and sell more units.

• “How to Have Your Best Year in Service” with Jeff Cowan of Jeff Cowan’s “Pro Talk” on Nov. 30, from 8–9 a.m. Cowan will discuss proven techniques that will help replicate what highly successful RV service centers are doing to be profitable.

• “Social Media 101” with Jared Hamilton, founder and CEO of DrivingSales.com, on Nov. 30 from 11 a.m.– noon. This session will examine the social media landscape and the tools each dealership needs to thrive in this new advertising space.

• “More Down Payments Equal More Deals Financed” with Randy Sobel, president of Sobel and Associates, on  Nov. 30, from 2:30–3:30 p.m. This timely seminar will help dealers learn how to increase down payments and structure deals to gain bank approval in today’s new financing environment.

• “New Ways to Increase Gross Profit and Close Educated Buyers” with Randy Sobel on Dec. 1, from 8- 9 a.m. Sobel will explore new and easier-to-teach techniques to implement with your sales staff to close more deals and boost profits.

All seminars will take place in South Wing Conference Room C108. The cost for each session is $50 in advance or $60 on-site. For more information, contact Kelly Smith in RVIA’s Shows department at (703) 620-6003, ext. 365 or kbsmith@rvia.org.

The National RV Trade Show is taking place Nov. 29–Dec. 1 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.

 

 

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RVIA Nearing Sellout for Louisville Trade Show

September 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite the nation’s sluggish economy, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is approaching a sellout for the 49th National RV Trade Show, scheduled for Nov. 29–Dec. 1 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.

Supplier exhibit space is completely sold out while 98% of manufacturer space has been sold. In total, the National RV Trade Show will feature 307 companies displaying the latest RVs and related products across more than 730,000 square feet of exhibit space.

In addition to the extensive manufacturer exhibits, 240 supplier companies will showcase their latest products and innovations.

The National RV Trade Show is expected to draw 8,500 RV dealers, warehouse distributors, accessory store owners, campground operators and exhibitors.

For more information about the National RV Trade Show, including the availability of show space, call RVIA’s Shows Department at (703) 620-6003, ext. 365.

To view the full list of manufacturers signed exhibiting in Louisville go to http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/rvia/issues/2011-09-15/index.html

 

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RVBusiness Staff Sets Aggressive 2011 Agenda

April 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

RVBusiness logo (blue)Special “Open House Week” and “Louisville Show” issues plus unique new trade promotions and Internet offerings are all part of the 2011-12 agenda for the new owners ofRVBusiness, according to a Monday (April 18) press release.

Partners Sherman Goldenberg, publisher, and Beverly Gardner, vice president of national advertising sales, announced in late March the acquisition from Affinity Group LLC of the RVBusiness brand — trademarks, domain names, the print publication and the RVBUSINESS.com website.

In the process, RVB, along with Editor Bruce Hampson, has moved from its Southern California headquarters to Elkhart, Ind.

RVBusiness has assembled a team of editorial and sales people under its new ownership, G&G Media Group LLC, that’s positioned to maintain and enhance its competitive edge and move it ahead aggressively on all fronts throughout 2011 and beyond,“ says Goldenberg.

“We think the industry will appreciate the continued presence of a professional mainstream trade journal with an enhanced eye to all industry factions,” he adds. “RVIA, RVDA, RVAA, REDEX, Route 66, Camping World, RV D@ily Report, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, the Louisville Show and northern Indiana’s emerging Open House Week are all on our radar as we plot a centrist course toward mainstream – fair and balanced – news. And we intend to remain the ‘A-book’ for RV manufacturers.”

Gardner, best known for the Elkhart-based publishers’ rep firm that bears her name, Beverly Gardner & Associates, is backed up on advertising sales by her daughter, Ally Kollat, and sales associate Wendy Thorne. And the initial response from industry advertisers has been encouraging. “We’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead,” said Gardner, “both editorially and commercially.”

Goldenberg adds, meanwhile, that one well known tradition will, in fact, continue in the new age of RVB – the “Louisville Tea Party,” a popular soiree held annually on the last night of RVIA’s National RV Trade Show. “It’s part of the tradition that we’ve cultivated over the years – bagpipes and all,” says Goldenberg. “We couldn’t imagine dropping the ball at this point.”

RVB’s new contact information:

CORPORATE & ADVERTISING SALES OFFICES:

RV BUSINESS/G&G MEDIA GROUP LLC
2901 E. BRISTOL STREET, SUITE B
ELKHART, IN 46514
(800) 831-1076
(574) 266-7980, fax (574) 266-7984
WWW.RVBUSINESS.COM

SHERMAN GOLDENBERG, PARTNER/PUBLISHER
OFFICE: (574) 457-3370
CELL: (574) 457-6637
sgoldenberg@rvbusiness.com
sgoldenberg@g-gmediagroup.com

BEVERLY GARDNER, PARTNER/ VP NATIONAL AD SALES
(800) 831-1076
(574) 266-7980 x12
bgardner@rvbusiness.com
bgardner@g-gmediagroup.com

BRUCE HAMPSON, EDITOR
(800) 831-1076
(574) 266-7980 x13
bhampson@rvbusiness.com
bhampson@g-gmediagroup.com

ALLY KOLLAT, NATIONAL AD SALES
(800) 831-1076
(574) 266-7980 x11
akollat@rvbusiness.com
akollat@g-gmediagroup.com

WENDY THORNE, NATIONAL AD SALES
(800) 831-1076
(574) 266-7980 x14
wthorne@rvbusiness.com
wthorne@g-gmediagroup.com

TRINA NISSLEY, PRODUCTION MANAGER
(800) 831-1076
(574) 266-7980 x10
tnissley@rvbusiness.com
tnissley@g-gmediagroup.com

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RVIA Leaves National RV Show Timing Intact

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Manufacturers' shows in September put pressure on RVIA to adjust timing of National RV Trade Show.

Manufacturers' shows in September put pressure on RVIA to adjust timing of National RV Trade Show.

Although it didn’t require a vote, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) board last week decided to leave the timing of the annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., the week after Thanksgiving — despise some pressure from industry factions to move it up to September or October.

The non-action was based, in part, on a survey completed by 327 RV dealers nationwide who said the timing and location of the show shouldn’t change, according to RVIA President Richard Coon.

RVIA board members met Feb. 28-March 2 for strategic planning, executive board and full-board meetings at the Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz.

”Louisville came up during the strategic planning session,” Coon said. ”We talked about the show as a whole. There has been a lot of talk in the industry about what’s going to happen with Louisville.

”The bottom line is that we are not, at least at this time, going to move it.”

The ”talk” largely is the result of a spate of late September dealer shows during the last three years staged in northern Indiana by manufacturers, fully two months prior to the Louisville Show.

Two of the largest companies — Forest River Inc. and several Thor Industries Inc. subsidiaries — have been among them. And a significant number of people have argued that Louisville’s December time frame is too late for supporting dealers’ spring shows.

Coon said RVIA sent out surveys to 1,073 dealers who regularly attend the Louisville Show. Out of the 327 dealer principals who completed the survey, three-quarters said the timing and location of the show should remain the same, Coon reported.

”They were very verbal about not changing it,” Coon said.

RVIA Chairman Gregg Fore, president of Elkhart, Ind.-based Dicor Corp., said the RVIA executive board broadly discussed the Louisville Show as a ”product.”

”We talked about needing to make sure we are taking seriously what our product looks like,” Fore told RVBUSINESS.com.

”If we need to add some horsepower, we need to challenge the appropriate (RVIA) committees to do that. The show holds benefits for different members of the industry, and there is an evaluation of the product that will go on. It’s a standard evolutionary process.”

With regard to the September manufacturers shows, Fore said the industry is always shifting its needs and priorities.

”My philosophy all along is that this is not the first time we’ve had summer shows in this industry and it won’t be the last.”

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Walworth: Industry Retail Inventories in Line

December 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Tom Walworth

Tom Walworth

The atmosphere at the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., was clearly more upbeat than 2009’s convention and reflected an industry that is obviously mending from the most dire effects of the recent downturn.

But veteran industry statistician Tom Walworth noticed a fairly rampant theme at last week’s (Nov. 29-Dec. 2) Louisville Show that he’d like to address regarding U.S. RV shipments and dealer inventories because, Walworth maintains, there are some false assumptions out there that could skew forecasts and obscure the fact that the industry’s rebound is continuing in a serious way.

The bottom line, according to Walworth, is that dealer inventories – contrary to some perceptions – are in line as the industry heads into the final phase of 2010.

“The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has forecast that we will ship 235,000 units in 2010, and SSI anticipates that 180,00 of them will be sold (at retail),” Walworth, general manager of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI), told RVBUSINESS.com. “If you do the math, that would put us at a 55,000-unit gain in inventory. But what isn’t generally known in the RV industry is that the RVIA number also contains shipments to Canada.”

Those Canadian shipments, says Walworth, comprise approximately 20% of all annual shipments by RV manufacturers.

“If you take 80% of the forecast shipment number — 235,000 — we’re talking about 188,000 units shipped to the U.S.,” he said. “Since SSI expects to track 180,000 units at retail next year state-side, we actually are looking at just an 8,000-unit gain in inventory — not the 50,000-unit gain the raw numbers might suggest.

“The floor planners may want to hear this,” he added. “This would reassure the industry that inventory is not exploding on dealers’ lots.”

Walworth acknowledged that the shipments would be dispersed among fewer dealers in 2010 due to retail closings attributed to the recession, but this should present no long-term problems. “Fewer dealers would mean that there are more units on the remaining lots,” he said. “But this is manageable.”

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Recovery Talk Boosts Winnebago’s Stock Price

December 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Industries Inc. stock spiked up 6.02% to close Tuesday (Dec. 7) at $13.21 from its previous close of $12.46.

The stock is currently trading $2.67 above its 50-day moving average and $2.82 above its 200-day moving average with market capital of $384.62 million, Wall Street Grand Market News reported on Tuesday.

After the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., where there were leading dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and creditors, it has been believed that the industry is on the path of slow recovery into ’11 with towable RVs leading the way. It is expected that near-term growth comparisons year-over-year is going to be quite challenging and possibly be compounded by increasingly competitive manufacturer pricing.

In 2011, wholesale shipments of recreational vehicles, or RVs, are likely to grow about 4% compared to 43% growth in 2010. Shipments of RVs of 246,000 units have been forecasted for 2011, compared to 236,700 for 2010 and 165,700 for 2009.

Winnebago, which closed two plants during the recession, posted net income of $4.9 million in the fourth quarter ending Aug. 28, compared with a loss of $50.2 million a year earlier. That marked its second straight profitable quarter. Revenue more than doubled to $449.5 million for its full fiscal year. Now, RV makers such as Winnebago are starting to turn profits and have begun to hire. Profits are returning to the industry.

On Nov. 11, the company received ‘Fully Meets’ classification from Ford Motor Co.’s Truck Quality Program. The Truck Quality Program is the highest honor awarded to vehicle modifiers. It is based on an assessment of a modifier’s engineering capability, design and builds process controls, management commitment and quality control procedures.

The company also received on Oct. 29, 15th Consecutive Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Quality Circle Award.

So far in last five day trading sessions, the stock went up by 26.05% and in last three months trading sessions, the stock went up by 40.38%. The stock has 52-week range of $8.10 – $17.43. Volume of 590,453 shares has been traded compared to the daily average volume of 217,939 shares.

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‘Plenty to be Proud of at the RV Trade Show’

December 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece was written by Roger Schneider, city editor and business editor of The Goshen (Ind.) News.

You have to see it to believe it. That’s what I tell people about the National RV Trade Show. I spent a couple days this past week in Louisville, Ky., covering the show for The Goshen News. It was the second time I had attended.

The first show I was at was back in 2008, when the recession shut down many RV production lines in Elkhart County. The show back then was gloomy. Salesmen were nervously standing around with nothing to do. The wide aisles were clear of people and the few dealers who attended were not in the buying mood. I like to tell people that I could have rolled a bowling ball down any of the aisles and not hit anyone.

But that was back in 2008 and the contrast with this year’s show was sharp. Hundreds of people packed into the opening breakfast at 7 a.m. Tuesday and from then on the show was busy.

I talked to sales managers, dealers and RV company owners, all were in good spirits and confident that business was on the uptick. Many said they were selling more and buying more than during the past two years.

As I strolled around the massive Kentucky Exposition Center, I looked for trends. And what I saw were a lot of light-weight, smaller towable trailers. The industry people I talked to said the reason for the smaller units is the coming change in federal mileage standards for automakers. The federal government intends to put pickups and sport utility vehicles into the mileage pool, meaning massive, fuel-burning engines that make it possible to tow a fifth-wheel up the east slope of the Rocky Mountains at high speed, are likely to be downsized.

I have mixed feelings about the pending changes. On the one hand the RV industry makes some spectacular large towables that can house families on extended stays or cross-country trips. The construction of these trailers is vital to our community because they provide jobs and good salaries to our local families.

But, the inevitability is that fuel prices will climb as the world’s economy rebounds and the billions of people in India and China increase their consumption of gasoline and oil. We also will boost our miles driven as our incomes climb. So, while the federal government is the big stick in this situation, I believe that RV consumers will also be forcing change as they seek smaller, lighter towables to pull behind smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles they will buy due to higher fuel prices.

Another trend I noticed was that RVs are made better today than in the past. I only noticed one trailer, a prototype from a small company using traditional stick-and-tin construction, that seemed to be poorly made. It looked like something I would have put together in my backyard. The roof-wall seam was sealed with a whole lot of clear putty and the fitting of everything in the trailer was a little off. But every other motorhome and trailer I looked at was first-rate quality and were products everyone here in the RV capital of the world, could be proud of.

And that brings up my final observation, that our local work force does an awesome job of putting these products together.

When I looked at the tight-fitting rabbets on the cupboard doors, I knew that a local worker had put that together. When an interior design oozed grace and elegance and I wished my livingroom was so plush, I knew that those window and furniture coverings were sewn locally. And as I walked through the supplier displays and marveled at the wiring harnesses and hitches, I knew they were proudly made in Elkhart County.

And all of those products were on display for dealers and manufacturers from all across North America, Australia, Europe and even China, to take a look at and buy or compare to what they are using. For me, a guy from outside the industry, it was an impressive spectacle I will never forget.

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