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RVDA Requesting DSI Survey Responses

June 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following article on the Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) Survey appears in the current issue of RV Executive Today, a publication of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).

Many manufacturers tell RVDA they use DSI results to adjust policies and procedures that affect dealers, so it’s extremely important for all dealers to fill out the survey. The DSI is not a scientific study, but it measures dealers’ attitudes about their manufacturers’ performance in eight key areas identified by RVDA’s Industry Relations Committee. Those areas include:

  • Sales support
  • Sales territory
  • Vehicle design
  • Vehicle reliability/quality
  • Competitive price/value
  • Parts support
  • Dealership warranty support
  • Overall dealer communications

RVDA will release the DSI results to Brand Committee chairmen in time for Partners in Progress meetings at the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct. 1-5 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Make sure to fill out the survey, preferably online so RVDA can process results faster. Or you can print the form and fax or mail it to RVDA. Be sure to rate all brands and manufacturers whose new products you carry. RVDA dealer members can click here to access the survey (member login required).

For more information, send an email to info@rvda.org or call the dealer service hot line.

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RVDA Con/Expo Brand Meetings Scheduled

May 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

RV dealers are urged to make plans to attend the Partners in Progress Brand Committee meetings that will take place during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas Oct. 1-5.

According to a news release from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), the following meetings have been scheduled so far:

Monday, Oct. 1

  • Forest River Inc. – 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Jayco Inc. – 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 2

  • Keystone RV Co. – 9:30 to 11 a.m.

More Partners in Progress Brand Committee meetings will be announced as the convention approaches. The schedule is subject to change.

As a result of requests from dealers, an additional 15 minutes will be added this year to the Forest River and Keystone meetings because of their size and range of product offerings. Each manufacturer’s ratings in this year’s Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey will also be available for review during their brand committee meeting.

Brand committee meetings are confidential and only dealers selling new rolling stock built by a particular manufacturer will be allowed to attend that manufacturer’s brand committee meeting.

The Convention/Expo and all brand committee meetings will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Register at www.rvda.org or www.rvlearningcenter.com.

 

 

 

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Deadline Set On Learning Center Scholarship

May 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The deadline for applying for the RV Learning Center Scholarship Program is June 4, according to a press release from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).

The program awards a $2,500 scholarship annually to deserving college sophomore, junior and senior undergraduate students majoring in business, finance, economics, accounting or other RV-related subjects. RVDA said that dealers and other industry partners are able to offer this opportunity to their team specifically because of their employment in the RV industry. Visit www.rvlearningcenter.com for an application.

Scholarship applicants must:

• Have a 2.8 or better cumulative grade point average, and a 1050 minimum SAT score (1575 minimum on the 2400 point scale). A minimum ACT composite score of 22 is also acceptable.

• Be a rising sophomore, junior or senior college undergraduate student.

• Complete a 500-word essay on their goals and objectives for attending college.

• Submit a copy of their Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form which is available from guidance counselors or for download at no charge from the U.S. Department of Education at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

• Demonstrate the ability and willingness to fund a portion of their educational expenses on their own.

• Attend an accredited four-year college or university as a condition of receiving the scholarship.

All items must be submitted by June 4. Dealer principals, their family and dependents are not eligible. A four-color poster describing the RV Learning Center scholarship program suitable for display in employee break or lunch areas is also available to download at www.rvlearningcenter.com.

The scholarship program is possible due to the generosity of the Newt and Joanne Kindlund Family. The Kindlunds are the founders of Holiday RV Superstores—the first publicly-traded RV dealership. The Kindlunds sold the company in 1999. Newt Kindlund remains an active participant in RV industry affairs and currently serves on the RV Learning Center Board of Directors. The Kindlund Family has fully funded the $270,000 Foundation scholarship endowment.

For more information on the RV Learning Center scholarship program, send an e-mail to info@rvda.org or visit www.rvlearningcenter.com. The RV Learning Center is a tax-exempt organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions may be tax deductible as charitable donations.

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Ingrassia Underlines Importance of DSI Survey

May 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Phil Ingrassia

Editor’s Note: The following is a column from Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association President Phil Ingrassia, appearing in the May issue of RV Executive Today, stressing the importance for retailers to participate in the Dealer Satisfaction Index Survey (DSI). Input from the survey has provided a long-standing gauge of manufacturers’ performance while offering a working guide to improving OEM-dealer relationships.

The annual RVDA Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey is under way right now, and it’s a great time to review a basic question – what exactly is the DSI?

The DSI is not a scientific study. Its purpose is to measure dealers’ attitudes about their manufacturers’ performance in eight key areas developed by dealer leaders serving on RVDA’s Industry Relations Committee. Those areas include:

• Sales support

• Sales territory

• Vehicle design

• Vehicle reliability/quality

• Competitive price/value

• Parts support

• Dealership warranty support

• Overall dealer communications

 

Several manufacturers have told RVDA they use DSI results to adjust policies and procedures that affect dealers, so it’s extremely important for all dealers to fill out the survey. When more dealers fill it out, more brands can get ratings . . . and it has more impact.

To prepare for this year’s survey, RVDA staff worked with brand committee dealer leaders and the many towables manufacturers to update their lists of brands that will be rated in this year’s DSI in order to best reflect what’s happening in the marketplace.

RVDA will release the DSI results to Partners in Progress/Brand Committee chairmen in time for the meetings at the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct. 1-5, at the Rio in Las Vegas. While the DSI will be available at those meetings, the Industry Relations Committee has decided it won’t be the focus unless the participating dealers want it to be.

Recent DSI results have shown an overall improvement in manufacturer ratings, which should be encouraging for everyone in the industry and, of course, our customers. When dealers and manufacturers are working together, RVers have a better buying and service experience.

So please make sure to fill out your DSI survey, preferably online to help RVDA process results faster. Or, you can print the form and fax or mail it to RVDA. Be sure to rate all brands and manufacturers whose new products you carry.

 

 

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Registration Available for ’12 RV Dealers Expo

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Registration is now open for the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Oct. 1-5, sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center.

Themed “The Road to Opportunity,” the convention will feature educational super sessions designed to help dealers navigate the issues and opportunities they face today, strategies to reach new customers through new technology and harness the power of social media, and a new series of fixed operations workshops for service and parts managers to improve efficiency and profitability.

According to a news release, the 2012 convention will also feature an exhibit hall filled with the RV industry’s top companies offering products and services to help dealers improve profitability. RVDA’s Partners in Progress Brand Committees will also meet to work on important dealer-manufacturer issues.

RVDA, RVDA of Canada, and the RV Learning Center will have a series of announcements on speakers, workshops, and special events planned for the convention in the coming weeks.

Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext. 103 or send an e-mail to scharter@rvda.org.

Visit www.rvda.org and www.rvlearningcenter.com to register for the convention and for regular updates. The industry can also get updates by following the convention on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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RVDA to Launch Annual DSI Survey This Week

April 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) is asking dealers to “confidentially express their level of satisfaction with their manufacturers and/or specific brands” in the 19th annual Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey.

According to RVDA, dealers should get an e-mail with the DSI survey link this week.

RVDA said that manufacturers use DSI results to adjust policies and procedures that affect dealers. The DSI is not a scientific study, but it measures dealers’ attitudes about their manufacturers’ performance in eight key areas identified by RVDA’s Industry Relations Committee. Those areas include: sales support; sales territory; vehicle design; vehicle reliability/quality; competitive price/value; parts support; dealership warranty support; overall dealer communications

RVDA will release the DSI results to brand committee chairmen during meetings at the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct. 1-5 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

 

 

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RVDA Continues Battle Against CFPB Oversight

February 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) filed its fourth set of federal comments this week with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), asking for clarification on the issue of whether RVs constitute “dwellings” and, more importantly, whether the CFPB has the legal authority to regulate RV dealers under Regulation Z.

According to an article in RV Executive Today Online, RVDA provided numerous justifications why all RV sales should be treated as motor vehicle sales and not as mortgage-type transactions, and why RV dealers should face only one set of regulations enforced by the FTC, rather than an additional set of rules and regulations administered by the CFPB.

In 2010, RV dealers were given an exemption from CFPB oversight in return for more vigorous scrutiny and enforcement by its current regulators – the Federal Trade Commission enforcing rules established by the Federal Reserve. Now, however, it appears that the CFPB is formalizing a back route to regulate RV dealers when they sell RVs to full-timers, since this may be seen as a mortgage type transaction on a dwelling rather than a traditional vehicle sale. This would bring RV dealers back into CFPB oversight. RVDA is highlighting the difficulties and expenses this would cause to the industry.

RVDA said that RV dealerships, which are overwhelmingly small-business enterprises, would face unconscionable financial risks and logistical difficulties when selling an RV to a full-timer unless the CFPB clarifies that an RV is not a dwelling when sold to a small market niche of RV enthusiasts.

 

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Registration Open for RVDA 2011 Con/Expo

April 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Revolutionlogo_jpegRegistration is now open for the 2011 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 3-7, sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center.

Themed “ReVolution: Take Charge Today,” the convention will feature new, in-depth super sessions covering the top issues RV dealers and their employees are facing right now, according to an RVDA news release. The education program will include information on building sales through innovative marketing strategies to reach new customers and an overview of the short and long-term trends that will impact the RV industry.

“Today’s RV market is more complicated than ever, and dealers cannot afford to get left behind,” said RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman Peter Albano of American RV in Olive Branch, Miss. “This year’s convention will have the information that all RV dealerships need to know, so they can prosper in our hyper-competitive retail environment.”

The 2011 convention will also feature an exhibit hall filled with the RV industry’s top companies offering products and services to help dealers improve profitability. RVDA’s Partners in Progress Brand Committees will also meet to work on important dealer-manufacturer issues and results of RVDA’s Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI).

RVDA, RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center will have a series of announcements on specific speakers, workshops, and special events planned for the convention in the coming weeks.

To make the convention as affordable as possible, the registration fee for dealership employees is the same as last year. RVDA is also offering special registration plans including an “Easy-Pay” plan of four payments and the ability to “lock-in” early bird savings for additional employees with one paid convention registration submitted by May 31.

“The convention/expo is worth every penny. I am a very small dealer and I find I could never get the advice, knowledge, or expertise on my own,” said Gloria Morgan of The Trail Center in North Charleston, S.C., who was the first dealer to register for the 2011 event.

Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext. 103 or send an e-mail to scharter@rvda.org.

Visit www.rvda.org and www.rvlearningcenter.com to register for the convention and for regular updates about the convention. You can also get updates by following the convention on Linkedin and Facebook.

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Is the Internet Turning RVs into Commodities?

April 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien


Editor’s Note: The following column from the latest issue of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s RV Executive Today magazine was written by Tim O’Brien, RVDA chairman and owner of Circle K RV’s, Lapeer, Mich.

I was recently reorganizing some old magazines in my home office when I came across the Harvard Business Review from March-April 2000. The “Thinking About” article was titled “Cost Transparency: The Net’s Real Threat to Prices and Brands,” written by Indrajit Sinha, assistant professor of marketing at Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management.

I was curious to reread an article written 11 years ago on the Web’s potential effect on pricing and brands. I will paraphrase the author’s observations, and you can decide for yourself if he got it right.

Sinha noted that sellers have a natural interest in keeping their costs opaque to the outside world, and that buyers have a natural interest in knowing the seller’s costs. It’s virtually impossible for buyers to find out what a seller’s real costs are. So the buyer is left to infer those costs by evaluating brands and offerings. People most often use the cheapest price or brand as a benchmark in order to determine if more expensive brands really offer the quality or status that justifies their higher price.

But the Internet would make cost transparency possible, Sinha predicted, by its abundance of free, easily obtained information. As cost transparency increased, so would the problems it raised for companies, said Sinha. Specifically, it would:

  • Severely impair a seller’s ability to obtain high margins.
  • Turn products and services into commodities.
  • Weaken customer loyalty to brands.
  • Damage companies’ reputations by creating perceptions of price unfairness.

Sinha also predicted that the Internet would force companies with varying prices to re-examine their price structures and policies. In a non-wired world, companies had discreetly practiced selective pricing for different markets. But with the advent of online stores, companies would realize that strategy created resentment and perceptions of price unfairness among customers who were charged higher prices – even if that pricing strategy was based on legitimate cost differences associated with serving different markets.

The author noted that proponents of so-called smart pricing appeared to have overlooked its most obvious pitfalls. Because the Internet would allow customers to easily share information with one another, smart pricing would likely create widespread perceptions of unfairness that could prove devastating to businesses in the long run. Consumers would be unhappy if they believed they’d paid more for a product than someone else who was more persistent, more adept at bargaining, or just plain lucky. So, companies should tread carefully when thinking about smart pricing, Sinha said. For most consumers, fixed prices are a security blanket that helps them feel they’re being treated fairly – or at least no worse than the next customer.

In the end, Sinha concluded that better quality products, creative pricing strategies and innovative thinking could help keep cost transparency from overwhelming a seller’s ability to maintain brand loyalty and maintain profit margins. Companies that understood the dynamics of cost transparency on the Internet would be best prepared for the challenge.

So, after 11 years, do you think Sinha got it right? Have we?

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RVDA Surveys Satisfaction with Manufacturers

April 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

DSI LOGO 18thThe Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) is asking dealers to confidentially express their level of satisfaction with their manufacturers and/or specific brands in the 18th Annual Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey.

RVDA dealer members can click here to access the survey. (Member login required).

Many manufacturers tell RVDA they use DSI results to adjust policies and procedures that affect dealers, so it’s important for all dealers to fill out the survey, RVDA stated in the online edition of RV Executive Today. The DSI measures dealers’ attitudes about their manufacturers’ performance in eight key areas identified by RVDA’s Industry Relations Committee:

  • Sales support
  • Sales territory
  • Vehicle design
  • Vehicle reliability/quality
  • Competitive price/value
  • Parts support
  • Dealership warranty support
  • Overall dealer communications

New this year is a survey question on whether a particular brand adds overall “value” to your dealership.

RVDA will release the DSI results to brand committee chairmen in time to be presented at brand committee meetings at the 2011 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct. 3-7 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Make sure to fill it out, preferably online to help RVDA process results faster. Or, you can print the form and fax or mail it to RVDA. Be sure to rate all brands and manufacturers whose new products you carry.

For more information, send an e-mail to info@rvda.org or call the dealer services hotline.

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RVDA’s Landmark Virtual Expo Starting Today

March 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Landmark event begins today.

Landmark event begins today.

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) first virtual expo opens today (March 15) and runs through Thursday.

The expo will be available on demand through April 15.

Registration for RV industry representatives is free and available through www.rvda.org.

The virtual expo provides attendees the opportunity to visit with exhibitors in an online environment from their home, office or anywhere with Internet access, RVDA noted in a news release.

In addition to an exhibit hall, the expo features information on a number of RV Learning Center programs, including the RV Technician Certification Preparation Course.

Exhibits include many useful links, product and service information to download, videos and more. During the live days of the expo, attendees will be able interact online with exhibitor representatives.

Exhibit booths for the virtual expo are:

  • Bank of the West
  • Blue Ox
  • TRA Certification – Green RVs
  • Go RVing Dealer Program
  • MBA Insurance Inc.
  • Protective XtraRide
  • Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.
  • RVDA Endorsed Products & Services
  • RVDA Member Resource Center
  • RV Learning Center

The RVDA Virtual Expo is a partnership with 6Connex. For registration information, visit www.rvda.org or www.rvlearningcenter.com.

RVDA virtual expo homepage

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RVDA’s Virtual Expo Set to Go Live March 15

March 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

6.-Exhibit-Entrance_copy_1The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) first virtual expo is set to go live March 15-17 and will be available on demand through April 15.

Registration for RV industry representatives is free and available through www.rvda.org.

The virtual expo provides attendees the opportunity to visit with exhibitors in an online environment from their home, office or anywhere with Internet access, RVDA noted in a news release.

In addition to an exhibit hall, the expo features information on a number of RV Learning Center programs, including the RV Technician Certification Preparation Course.

Exhibits include many useful links, product and service information to download, videos and more. During the live days of the expo, attendees will be able interact online with exhibitor representatives.

Exhibit booths for the virtual expo are:

  • Bank of the West
  • Blue Ox
  • TRA Certification – Green RVs
  • Go RVing Dealer Program
  • MBA Insurance Inc.
  • Protective XtraRide
  • Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.
  • RVDA Endorsed Products & Services
  • RVDA Member Resource Center
  • RV Learning Center

The RVDA Virtual Expo is a partnership with 6Connex. For registration information, visit www.rvda.org or www.rvlearningcenter.com.

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RVDA Board Acts to Revitalize Convention/Expo

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

RVDA logoThe Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) board of directors met in Fairfax, Va.,  Monday through Wednesday (March 7-9) to review and adjust the association’s strategic plan.

As part of the process, the board identified four key strategic result areas that will help the association fulfill its mission, which is to “assist dealer members in being professional, successful and profitable in order to achieve total customer loyalty through education, industry leadership, member services, proactively influencing legislation and market expansion.”

The four key strategic areas identified by the board are: education, advocacy in government/industry affairs, market expansion and convention/expo.

To help RVDA develop strategies to reach its goals, the association has revised its committee structure, which includes Industry Relations, Government Relations, Convention/Expo, Dealer Financial Services, Market Expansion and a new Membership committee. The education function is fulfilled by the RV Learning Center.

In preparation for strategic planning, RVDA surveyed its Board of Delegates as well as the general dealer membership on their priority issue areas for the association. The facilitator for the sessions was Rick Horsey, former RV Learning Center chairman of the board.

“It was a very productive meeting that clears the way for volunteer leaders and staff to make RVDA an even more effective organization for dealers,” said RVDA President Mike Molino. “In the coming months, RVDA committees will be working on a number of initiatives in the four key strategic areas to help dealers. To me, the most significant result was a commitment from the entire board to revitalize and make the October RV Dealers International Convention/Expo the best ever for both American and Canadian dealers.”

Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), briefed the board on a proposed RV service center certification program, which could be formed under the auspices of Go RVing. The board took no action on the issue while the program undergoes further review by both RVIA and RVDA. Currently, RVDA and RVIA work together to certify individual technicians through the RVDA-RVIA Certification Governing Board.

Jeff Sims, director of membership and public affairs for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), and Karl Etshied, executive director of the Recreation Vehicle Aftermarket Association (RVAA), also updated the board on their associations’ activities.

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RVDA’s Board Preparing for Strategic Planning

February 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

RVDA logoThe Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) board of directors will meet March 7-9 in Fairfax, Va., to “review and adjust” the association’s strategic plan, the national association’s leadership reported in a news release.

“Over the past several weeks, RVDA surveyed its members on a number of issues and the board will use the input as a basis for implementing strategies designed to help dealers and the industry,” RVDA stated in a press release being distributed today (Feb. 25).

RVDA, in turn, is in the process of updating its committee structure, which includes Industry Relations, Government Relations, Convention/Expo, Dealer Financial Services, Market Expansion and a new Membership Committee.

“These committees, which include many members of the RVDA Board of Delegates, will play a crucial role in implementing the RVDA board’s strategic direction in key areas of dealer-manufacturer relations, dealer advocacy and advancing the Go RVing national advertising program,” said RVDA President Mike Molino. “With our partners at RVDA of Canada, the Convention/Expo Committee will also work to make the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo an even better experience for dealers and exhibitors.”

As part of the meeting, the RVDA board will consider a proposed RV service center certification program, which could be formed under the auspices of Go RVing. Currently, RVDA and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) work together to certify individual technicians through the RVDA-RVIA Certification Governing Board.

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RVDA Statement on SeeDealerCost.com Site

February 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) has released the following statement about the website www.seedealercost.com, whose sponsors say they’ll begin soon to post RV prices on their website.

RVDA is aware of the SeeDealerCost.com website. According to media reports, the proposed site is owned by former boat manufacturer executives. The company has stated it plans to include RV information on its site.

As the National RV Dealers Association, RVDA contends that RVs should not be sold like commodities, with a customer’s buying decision limited to price considerations. There is so much more to a successful RV dealer and RV customer relationship. Unlike automobile dealers, RV dealer agreements and RV franchise laws do not always require RV dealers to perform warranty work on all of a manufacturer’s vehicles under warranty. Customers who purchase an RV based solely on price may find they must travel to the selling dealership’s location to have warranty work performed – assuming that selling dealer’s location maintains a service department – or they are placed at the back of the warranty service line until the local dealership has taken care of all its buying customers.

It is important for everyone in the RV industry to note that invoice pricing information is sometimes addressed as confidential information in RV dealer and RV manufacturer dealer agreements. Sharing confidential information with a third party could be a breach of the RV dealer agreement and lead to termination of the dealer agreement for cause. RVDA urges dealers to review their dealer agreements and state laws on this issue. Many states prohibit or restrict a motor vehicle dealer’s ability to directly or indirectly advertise “invoice prices” since they conclude this advertising may be deceptive to the buying public.

RVDA has long fought for fair and equitable treatment of its dealer members, and there is much that can appropriately be done together. But as RVDA stated earlier this month, these efforts have been undertaken with the clear understanding that the relationships between dealers and joint actions by dealers regarding vehicle pricing against suppliers and competitors are rife with serious and complex legal implications. For this reason, RVDA’s activities are closely monitored by experienced legal counsel to protect both the association and its members.

Before an RV dealer or an RV manufacturer shares invoice price information with third parties for publication, we urge dealers and manufacturers to review their dealer agreements, and any related state laws.

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