If you find yourself on the road this Memorial Day weekend, you might want to keep track of the recreational vehicles you see.
MSN Money reported that while not exactly a surefire economic bellwether, RV sales have been coming back after a disastrous recession for the industry, and they may be another indicator of a strengthening economy.
Elkhart, Ind., is the heart of the business, with about 83% of all North American RVs manufactured in the region. Unemployment in Elkhart soared to more than 20% in 2009 as the economic downturn deepened, RV sales plunged and several manufacturers closed their doors or disappeared through consolidation.
“When the stock market went to hell in a hand basket, when the ability to get credit went to hell in a hand basket, when your home (value) all of a sudden . . . went down so drastically, your wealth factor is pretty low. That stops motor home buying,” Richard Coon, the president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), said recently at an industry breakfast.
But according to the RVIA, a stronger economy has pulled the industry out of a ditch. The trade group predicts more than 307,000 recreational vehicles will be manufactured and shipped this year. That number is still below the pre-recession high of 353,400 reached in 2007, but it’s nearly twice as high as the low point of just under 166,000 in 2009.
Recreational vehicles come in a wide variety of types and price ranges. Units that fit on the back of a pickup and popup camping trailers start at about $3,500. They go all the way up to tour-bus-size “home away from home” Class A vehicles, which can run anywhere from $50,000 to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And of course you need to factor in gas prices.
Richard Curtin, the director of the Consumer Research Center at the University of Michigan, says a combination of factors is behind the recent growth in recreational vehicle sales, including an easing of credit terms and better availability of consumer loans, as well as modest gains in household income.
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The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration in a program to allow RVIA members enhanced access to international trade resources offered by the federal government.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two organizations, RVIA and the U.S. Commercial Service’s network of worldwide offices will work together on marketing, education programs and events leveraging both entities’ expertise to help make businesses — and particularly small and medium-sized firms — more export savvy. Joint activities may include building awareness through outreach at trade shows and online registration for resource support.
As a strategic partner with the U.S. Commercial Service’s New Market Exporter Initiative, RVIA member companies will receive:
• Expert advice on new export markets.
• Access to free on-line market research reports.
• Opportunities for export training.
• Access to trade counseling through Commercial Service’s worldwide network by registering at www.export.gov/rvia.
• Assistance in complying with regulatory and documentation requirements.
• Expert advice, local contacts and market intelligence from specialists located in targeted markets.
• Services to connect to local distributors and representatives.
“We’re pleased to welcome RVIA as a partner in our efforts to strengthen the U.S. economy and support local jobs through expanding U.S. exports,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. “With more than 95% of potential customers living outside U.S. borders, it’s imperative that American companies of all sizes consider the benefits of selling their products abroad.”
“The RV industry is growing and thriving in established and new markets in countries across the globe,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “The services and expertise offered through the New Market Exporter Initiative will be very useful to our members who are looking to explore opportunities in global markets. We are very proud to partner with the U.S. Commercial Service, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, in this initiative and urge our members to take full advantage of the tools and resources available through the effort.”
For more information about the New Market Exporter Initiative and to begin using the program’s services, go to www.export.gov/rvia. For additional information, contact Craig Kirby, RVIA vice president of international business and general counsel, at email@example.com.
Economist Richard Curtin, director of the Consumer Research Center at the University of Michigan, will provide the initial outlook for RV wholesale shipments in 2014 during remarks at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week 2013 at the Joint Committee Luncheon, taking place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on June 3.
According to a press release, his presentation will also include the latest projections for year-end 2013 totals and an examination of the general economic climate.
Curtin authors RVIA’s RV Roadsigns, the association’s quarterly forecasting newsletter and has directed RVIA’s RV consumer demographic research since 1980.
RVIA’s Committee Week 2013 will take place June 2–6 at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington in Washington, D.C. Over the course of the five-day event, standing committees, the Executive Committee and the RVIA board will meet to set the association’s plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The Go RVing Coalition will also meet on June 3. The event concludes with the board meeting on June 6 where committee recommendations are reviewed.
For more information about Committee Week, contact Doreen Cashion in the Meetings and Shows Department at (703) 620-6003 (ext. 324) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) public relations team has been working throughout the winter and early spring to promote the RV industry and lifestyle in the media nationwide.
According to a press release, the effort has resulted in a multitude of positive RV stories highlighting the industry’s growth in shipments, as well as key messages about the affordability, fun and flexibility of RV travel.
Stories have appeared in national and local media outlets. Here are a few highlights from the national media:
• On March 1, USA Today reported that motorhome shipments rose 13.6% in 2012 and were expected to rise approximately the same amount in 2013. The story cited RVIA statistics, included quotes from industry executives, and discussed the falling unemployment rate in Elkhart County.
• On Feb. 21, The Wall Street Journal published an article about the RV industry bouncing back from the recession. The story focused primarily on upscale design features now available in towable RVs.
• A Jan. 28 story that appeared on Today.com reported on the Kelloggs — a family with 12 children that sold their house to live full-time on the road in an RV.
• On Jan. 27, RV tailgating was highlighted on the FOX News morning show “Fox & Friends.” The segment featured sportswriter Kerry Byrne, who also published blog entries and videos highlighting the RV lifestyle on the popular NFL site ColdHardFootballFacts.com.
RVIA has also worked with show promoters across the country to generate media coverage of the new products and record crowds reported at RV shows. Positive stories about the industry’s growing sales and popularity appeared in dozens of local media outlets around the country. For full details, visit the “News Room” at RVIA.org.
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) members will visit members of Congress and their key legislative staff during the association’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, scheduled for June 5 during Committee Week.
“Advocacy Day is one of the highlights of Committee Week for attendees and a vitally important element in RVIA’s efforts to increase awareness of the industry and our issues at the federal level,” said Jay Landers, RVIA’s senior director of government affairs, in a press release. “These visits and meetings help strengthen relationships between RVIA members and the members of Congress who represent their states and districts.”
RVIA’s Government Affairs staff schedules appointments with elected officials, provides briefing materials and accompanies members on visits. The program also gives participants the opportunity to have photos taken with Congressmen and Senators.
Advocacy Day begins with a morning meeting during which RVIA members are briefed on the issues they will be discussing with congressional members and their staff. The briefing includes rehearsal exercises that help RVIA members practice discussing key issues before they set out to meet elected officials.
For more information on RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day visit http://www.rvia.org/?ESID=CHAD or contact Monika Geraci at email@example.com or (703) 620-6003 (ext. 318).
Shipment reports released by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) show that after a steady 2012, park model shipments were up sharply to start 2013.
According to a press release, this follows a trend seen across the entire RV industry. RVIA is reporting that 2,770 units were shipped in 2012, a small improvement over the 2,761 units that the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) reported were shipped by manufacturers in 2011.
According to RVIA Executive Director of Recreational Park Trailers Matt Wald, “Park trailer shipments began surging in October of 2012 and that has continued into 2013. In fact, shipments in January of 2013 were an incredible 138% higher than shipments reported in January 2012. Through February 2013, park model shipments are about 75% higher compared to the first two months of 2012.”
He added, “The bottom line is that the park model industry has been red hot for the past five months.”
Wald points to a number of factors for the surge in shipments, including growing interest in seasonal camping as Baby Boomers continue to retire in droves as well as a push by many campgrounds to reap the benefits of making deluxe camping accommodation rentals available to their customers.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Nominating Committee has issued a call for candidates from the association’s membership to run in this year’s board election.
According to a press release, there are seven positions up for election this year including seats for one manufacturer, one recreation park trailer manufacturer, two at-large, and three supplier representatives.
The RVIA board has the highest level of authority in the association’s organizational structure. It is responsible for association affairs on a broad policy basis. The board meets three times per year: in March, during Committee Week in June, and in mid-September.
“The RVIA Board plays an integral role in guiding the work of the association and shaping the future of the RV industry,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We encourage any association member with an interest in working on the key issues facing the RV industry to run for a seat on the RVIA board.”
Each RVIA manufacturer and supplier member company is afforded a single vote in the association elections, scheduled to take place electronically in August. Newly elected board members will begin serving their terms on Oct. 1.
Those interested in becoming a candidate for the RVIA board elections should contact RVIA’s Mac Bryan at (703) 620-6003, ext. 334, or firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration by the RVIA Nominating Committee.
That group is chaired by Jeff Rutherford of Carefree of Colorado and includes Andy Baer of KZRV LP, Gregg Fore of Dicor Corp. and Jim Sheldon of Navistar RV.
RVIA’s Committee Week 2013 will take place June 2–6 at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington in Washington, D.C., according to a press release.
Over the course of the five-day event, standing committees, the Executive Committee and the RVIA board will meet to set the association’s plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The Go RVing Coalition will also meet on June 3.
In addition to the full slate of committee meetings, other key events on the schedule include:
• 2014 RV Market Outlook – Economist Richard Curtin, director of consumer research at the University of Michigan, will provide the first forecast for the RV market in 2014 and examine the current economic climate at the Joint Committee Luncheon on June 3.
• RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day – RVIA members will visit Capitol Hill on June 5 to meet with legislators and their staff to discuss key issues critical to the RV industry.
• Networking Events – Several joint committee luncheons and receptions, including the opening reception the evening of June 3 at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, will give Committee Week participants the opportunity to establish, renew and build upon the relationships critical to business success.
The Mayflower Renaissance Washington is a luxury hotel and historic landmark. Proclaimed by President Truman to be Washington, D.C.’s “Second Best Address” after the White House, the hotel is on the National Registry of Historic Places and a Historic Hotel of America.
Located just blocks from the White House, metro stops and dining and cultural hot spots, the 4-diamond property offers a splendid center for exploring the city.
For more information about Committee Week, contact Doreen Cashion in the Meetings and Shows Department at (703) 620-6003 (ext. 324) or email@example.com.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association RVIA board elected two new members to the Executive Committee and three new members to board seats during its March 4 meeting in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the association’s Annual Meeting.
Garry Enyart of Cummins Power Generation and Matt Miller of Newmar Corp. were elected to the Executive Committee as treasurer and secretary, respectively. The two join Chairman Doug Gaeddert of Forest River Inc.; 1st Vice Chairman Derald Bontrager of Jayco Inc.; 2n Vice Chairman Bob Parish of GE Capital; Chairman Ex Officio Gregg Fore of Dicor Corp.; and RVIA President Richard Coon. They replace Bob Olson of Winnebago Industries Inc. and John Regan of Fabric Services who both resigned from the RVIA board and Executive Committee.
The new board members are Chad Reece of Winnebago, assuming the manufacturer seat vacated by Olson; Tim Stephens of Atwood Mobile Products, appointed to the supplier seat vacated by Regan; and Dave Schutz of Dometic Corp., assuming the supplier seat vacated by Doug Whyte).
In other action at the meeting, the RVIA board:
• Decreased the cost of the RVIA seal from $17 to $16, effective July 1. The new $16 seal fee will apply to all member manufacturer vehicle types. The Go RVing per unit assessment remains unchanged at the current levels of $46 for folding camping trailers and truck campers; $61 for travel trailers and fifth-wheel travel trailers; and $74 for motorhomes.
• Allocated an additional $150,000 to the fiscal year 2013 budget for the Education Department to accelerate and enhance the educational and training efforts for RV service technicians and to increase technician participation in programs.
• Approved changing the show hours for the California RV Show to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays.
• Set the RV manufacturer do-it-yourself booth rate for the California RV Show at $2.65 per square foot, up from $2.50 per square foot in 2012.
• Increased the height limit for manufacturer exhibits at the National RV Trade Show from 16 feet to 20 feet.
Bob Ashley, a columnist for RV Business and Woodall’s Campground Management magazines, has been honored by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) with its “Distinguished Service in RV Journalism” award.
The award was announced at the RVIA Annual Meeting last week in Orlando, Fla.
Ashley is an Indiana-based freelance writer/editor and a 25-year newspaper veteran who has focused on the RV industry and national recreation issues for 18 years. He writes a regular column, titled “Public Domain” for RVB while also freelancing for other RV trade and consumer publications.
In a press release, RVIA noted:
“The Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award is presented to journalists for exemplary coverage of the RV industry or RV travel. Bob Ashley has covered the RV industry for nearly 20 years as both a trade writer for RVBusiness and a reporter for enthusiast publications such as Motorhome and Trailer Life. He specializes in writing about the research, development and production of RVs and in his career has covered the industry’s evolution in product development from the frontlines. He also examines key legislative issues affecting the RV industry in his “Public Domain” column in RVBusiness.”
The award will be presented during Committee Week in June.