RVIA: RV Shipments Will Increase 4.5% in 2013

November 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

RVIA's James Ashurst addresses Outlook Breakfast audience.

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, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Vice President James Ashurst, standing in for President Richard Coon, told attendees today (Nov. 27) at “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity,” the kick-off event to the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show.

Addressing approximately 1,000 RV manufacturers, dealers and industry representatives on, Ashurst presented a positive outlook for the industry’s future, based on new projections from Dr. Richard Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, in RVIA’s quarterly forecasting newsletter RV Roadsigns.

The rise in shipments to 277,300 units by year-end 2012 would be a nearly 10% gain (9.9%) over the 2010 total of 252,300 and include double digit gains in conventional travel trailers and Class A motorhomes. The expected increase in 2013 would mark three consecutive years of RV market growth.

“RV shipments are trending up,” Ashurst said. “We’ve had good crowds and strong business at fall shows, and demographics are in our favor. It is time to shine for the RV industry.”

According to the new forecast, most of the 2013 gain will come in conventional and fifth-wheel trailers and by type A motorhomes. Conventional and fifth-wheel trailers are expected to account for 86% of all RV shipments in 2013 — which would be an all-time high.

The continued strength in 2013 RV shipments is due to rising consumer confidence and improved economic conditions; however, a failure by America’s political leaders to bridge the “fiscal cliff” could significantly alter the industry’s fortunes in 2013, Ashurst cautioned.

“Our forecasts are affected by volatility in the economy,” Ashurst said. “If Congress and the President don’t act on the fiscal cliff before the end of the year, federal tax rates will rise, mandatory cuts in government spending go into effect, and the economy could go into recession.”

During his presentation, Ashurst walked the audience through RVIA’s 2013 projection for each of the major RV product types:

  • Travel trailers: up 5% to 180,200 units.
  • Fifth-wheel trailers: up 7% to 68,800 units.
  • Truck campers: up 3% to 3,500 units.
  • Folding camping trailers: down 17% to 9,000 units.
  • Class A motorhomes: up 8% to 15,400 units.
  • Class B motorhomes: up 10% to 2,300 units.
  • Class C motorhomes: down 2% to 10,700 units.

“We’ve had a good year in 2012 in terms of sales and in how we’ve been able to promote RVs to our core markets,” Ashurst said. “There’s a lot of versatility in the RV market — many products, price points and how they’re used. There is strong demand for RVs, and we are optimistic about our industry’s future.”


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RVDA Hands Out DSI Awards on RV Show Eve

November 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

RVDA Chairman Jeff Hirsch (left) with Keystone RV management Matt Zimmerman, president, and group general managers Andy Cripe, Jeff Runels and Ryan Juday.

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) recognized an array of North American RV builders Monday evening (Nov. 26) on the brink of the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., as Quality Circle Award winners for having excelled in the 19th Annual Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) Survey.

On hand for the festivities at the Crowne Plaza hotel near the Kentucky Exposition Center was a big crowd of dealers and manufacturers.

“Tonight we honored the manufacturers that the dealers in the United States and Canada voted as doing the best job in a number of areas — everything from their manufacturer policies, which include things like territory, to parts and warranty policies to product quality and value,” RVDA President Phil Ingrassia told RV Business. “So, all those areas are measured in the DSI and these are the manufacturers who scored the highest with 15 or more responses from dealers.”

Four hundred and sixty-one dealers responded to the DSI between April and July and provided 2,709 brand ratings, an average of nearly six per dealer. Winners received at least 15 dealer responses and scored 80% or above for overall dealer satisfaction.

Jeff Hirsch (left) presents DSI award to Gary Conley of Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp.

Towable RV manufacturers/brands receiving awards were (in alphabetical order): Airstream Inc.; CrossRoads RV (Zinger/Z-1/SE/Hampton); Forest River Inc. (Flagstaff travel trailers and fifth-wheels, Palomino RV travel trailers and fifth-wheels, Rockwood/Roo expandables, Sierra/Sandpiper, Indiana-built Surveyor/r-pod); Heartland RV LLC (Big Country/Elk Ridge, Bighorn/Landmark, Cyclone/Road Warrior/Torque, North Trail/Wilderness, Prowler); Jayco Inc. (Eagle/Super Lite/HT, camping trailers, Jay Feather/Select, Jay Flight/Swift/SLX, Pinnacle, White Hawk); Keystone RV Co. (Bullet/Premier, Cougar/X-lite, Passport, Raptor); KZRV LP (Durango, Sportsmen/Sportsmen Classic, Spree/Spree Escape); Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. (truck campers); and Prime Time Manufacturing Inc. (LaCrosse/Trace, Crusader/Sanibel).

The six motorized RV brands/manufacturers receiving awards: Forest River; Jayco/Entegra; Leisure Travel Vans/Triple E RV; Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd.; Tiffin Motorhomes Inc.; and Winnebago/Itasca/ERA.

Bob Wheeler of Airstream Inc., Matt Zimmerman of Keystone RV Co. and Debbie Brunoforte, Little Dealer Little Prices, Phoenix, Ariz.

When rating the brands/manufacturers, RVDA asks dealers to express, confidentially, their level of satisfaction on eight core issues: Sales support; sales territory; vehicle design; vehicle reliability/quality; competitive price/value; parts support; dealership warranty support and overall dealer communications.


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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, 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 He previously ran the Internet division of J.D. Power and Associates and served as vice president of advertising products and training at

• “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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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,
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,
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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Gaeddert Eager to Begin RVIA Chairman Term

November 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Doug Gaeddert

Editor’s Note: The following is a letter from Doug Gaeddert, recently elected Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) chairman for fiscal 2013, that appears in the latest issue of RVIA Today. Gaeddert, general manager of Forest River Inc., offers his thoughts on taking over for Gregg Fore and some of the issues the organization will be facing in the coming year.

As I begin my term as RVIA chairman, I would like to thank the RVIA Board of Directors for their vote of confidence in electing me. I am looking forward to leading this selfless group of individuals who dedicate their talents and time for the greater good of the RV industry.

In my decade of service on the board, I’ve participated in many board meetings, and I remain impressed by the fact that although many “competitors” sit around the same table, it’s rare that a “partisan” attitude is displayed. Washington could learn a lot from most of these folks! Even though differing positions are often staked out originally, facts are dug up, arguments are made, and compromises are reached. The results prove to be good decisions the majority of the time. For those decisions that don’t produce the desired results, it’s also a Board that’s humble, nimble and confident enough to change course as opposed to running aground or into an iceberg!

I’m also eager to work with our outstanding RVIA staff, which I liken to a formidable football team. They are led by RVIA President Richard Coon, who has become an “elite quarterback.” The way he confidently and competently stepped in to lead the association following the retirement of Dave Humphreys reminds me of Aaron Rodgers taking over for Brett Favre…it’s too early to use the Andrew Luck-Payton Manning analogy!

And just like Aaron Rodgers, Richard is surrounded by great players in the “skill positions.” This includes the seasoned group of wily veterans with years of experience — Vice President of Administration Mac Bryan, Vice President of Meetings and Shows Mike Hutya, Vice President of Standards and Education Bruce Hopkins, Vice President of Government Affairs Dianne Farrell and Vice President of International Business and General Counsel Craig Kirby. James Ashurst, vice president of public relations and advertising, is the closest thing to a rookie, but he is proving to be an RGIII or Andrew Luck type of draft pick.

Without question, one topic that will continue to draw the attention and discussion of the entire RV Industry is the “Fall Schedule” as it has come to be known. This is the series of shows, meetings and events beginning with America’s Largest RV Show, hosted by PRVCA in Hershey, Pa., in September, and culminating with RVIA’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville at the end of November.

In between are various other events including RV Open House Week in the greater Elkhart area; RVDA’s Convention and Expo in Las Vegas; RVIA’s California RV Show in Pomona; Route 66’s annual meeting; and, various 20 Group meetings, and supplier shows, etc…

The question is which ones does a person attend and where do they invest their energy, time and money with so many options available? To me the answer is potentially different for each individual or individual company. There is no set answer for the entire industry as the needs, wants and opinions are too diverse to list. The ultimate answer is where you feel you get the best return for yourself and/or your company. The beautiful part about playing a role in a free market economy is that it’s ultimately decided by the votes you cast with your time, energy and money in that free market.

I like to apply the phrase “you can’t make somebody love you”! My wife Lisa and I have used it with our kids as they’ve grown up and I’ve also used it with countless sales people over the years. It holds true pertaining to the “Fall Schedule” conversation as well. People will love you, or your “event,” or your product because they truly want to, not because you told them that they have to.

The “Fall Schedule” debate won’t be answered by a small amount of experts, it will be answered by the free market and industry members voting with their time and money to attend those “events” that they love attending because they’re so valuable and rewarding that you never want to miss them!

In closing, I’d like to thank Gregg Fore for his tremendous work as RVIA Chairman for the past two years. He did an exemplary job in guiding the association as we looked to rebound from the market downturn. In applying another football analogy, I hope it works out as well as it has for the Steelers with Mike Tomlin (me) taking over for Bill Cowher (Gregg)!


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RVIA Tech Subcommittees Review Standards

October 19, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) four technical subcommittees – heating, electrical, plumbing, and fire & life safety – met the week of Oct. 1 in Ft. Myers, Fla., to review and discuss various standards issues, according to a news release.

The subcommittees took action on proposed handbook updates based on the 2011 editions of NFPA 1192, ANSI 12V, and NEC. In addition, the subcommittees reviewed action taken on 2014 ANSI 12V, NEC & NFPA 1192 code change proposals to determine if any comments were necessary to be submitted into ANSI or NFPA.

This also marked the first time that recreational park trailer members were represented on all four technicals to consider Recreational Park Trailer Handbook Update proposals and 2014 ANSI A119.5 code changes up for review and action. All recreational park trailer recommendations resulting from the technical subcommittee meeting will be reviewed by RVIA’s Standards Steering Committee and then be forwarded to the Recreational Park Trailer Committee for final approval.

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Outlook Breakfast Opens 50th Louisville Show

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Outlook 2013

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

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. As one of the industry’s most anticipated annual events, an enthusiastic crowd of more than 1,000 is expected to be on hand at Outlook 2013, and attendees are urged to arrive early as lines form before the doors officially open.

Hosted by RVIA Chairman of the Board Doug Gaeddert, “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” will feature “Time to Shine” with RVIA President Richard Coon’s thoughts on the future direction of the RV industry.

In “Mining Media Gold” Go RVing Co-Chairsmen 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 to showcase high-impact advertising and public relations achievements in 2012 and preview what’s ahead for 2013.

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 and finances. With his direct, irreverent, dead-on approach, he is also a popular and frequent guest on Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC and MSNBC.

The “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” 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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Workshops Scheduled at RV World Conference

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) will hold a series of concurrent workshops on Jan. 18 at the 2nd World RV Conference, covering several topics of key interest to RV industry executives from across the globe. The 2nd World RV Conference will take place from Jan. 17–20, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.

According to a press release, the 50-minute sessions will take place every hour from 2–5 p.m., except for the World Product Standards workshop that will run the bulk of the three-hour time period. Conference attendees can choose which three sessions to attend based on their specific interest. The lineup of sessions includes:

• The World Product Standards Workshop: This session will focus on developing a list of standards information from the U.S. and Europe for attendees interested in the export of RVs/caravans to each country. It will include information relating to both the RV living section and vehicle (chassis) standards.

• The Advertising and Promotion Workshop: This workshop will provide a broad overview of how the popular Go RVing effort in North America is funded and managed while also examining campaign specifics such as creative executions, strategic media planning, audience segmentation, emerging digital and social media applications, media and brand partnerships and media relations.

• The World Campground Standards Workshop: In this workshop, a panel of international campground operators and industry professionals will discuss what marketing messages are used to attract and retain consumers and keep the camping/RVing experience “top of mind” in today’s competitive leisure travel market.

• The RV/Caravan Rental Business: This workshop will give attendees an opportunity to learn from colleagues around the world how an RV rental business might run more efficiently, be better advertised and promoted, be more consumer friendly and provide information on how to start an RV/caravan rental operation.

• The RV/Caravan CEO-Chairman Panel Discussion: This panel discussion, featuring the world’s top RV/caravan CEO’s, presidents, and chairmen, is designed to open the doors of the board room and give everyone a seat at the table. RVIA President Richard Coon will lead this unique panel with a number of association leaders rotated in as the workshop sessions progress through the afternoon.

• The Newest Emerging RV/Caravan Markets: After London, the next two Olympics will be held in Russia and Brazil respectively. Throw in a World Cup, sizable populations, lots of territory and a growing middle class and you have a recipe for an emerging RV/caravan market. Come learn about how the Russian and Brazilian RV markets are developing and see and hear what opportunities exist for these markets going forward.

More information on the workshops as well as complete event and registration information is available through the digital 2nd World RV Conference brochure. Industry members are urged to register before Oct. 1 to take advantage of discounted registration fees. The cost will increase after Oct. 1.



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Fed Award to Aid RVIA in Tapping China Market

September 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has received a federal award from the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) that will provide funding and technical assistance for the association’s efforts to facilitate the involvement of U.S. RV companies in the developing Chinese RV market.

According to a press release, the award, provided through the ITA’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP), provides $1 in funding for every $2 invested by RVIA in eligible expenses, up to $300,000 over a three-year period.

The award will help fund RVIA efforts to promote U.S. RV products in China; establish RV standards in China that are compatible with U.S. RV standards; remove regulatory barriers impeding the U.S. RV industry’s participation in the Chinese RV market; and establish an RVIA office in China.

“While the U.S. continues to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, U.S. exports remain a bright spot for the American economy. The awards given by the Commerce Department’s Market Development Cooperator Program will help us continue to make progress toward achieving the president’s goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “Higher exports lead to more jobs: in 2011, jobs supported by exports increased by 1.2 million over 2009. These investments in AMT and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association will help boost exports, which mean more jobs in the United States.”

“We are very appreciative of this award. Like many in the RV industry, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the ITA recognize that the developing RV market in China holds tremendous export, business development, and job creation opportunities for U.S. companies,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “In addition to the financial support, another key benefit is the development of a team by the ITA of international business and government policy experts in Indiana, Washington, D.C. and China that will work hand-in-hand with us to help achieve our objectives.”

RVIA submitted the award application in February as part of a competitive process developed by ITA.

The MDCP awards include financial and technical assistance from ITA to support well-defined business plans aimed at increasing exports and U.S. competitiveness within certain industries. An MDCP award establishes a partnership between ITA and nonprofit industry groups to help strengthen global competitiveness and create jobs through exports. Since MDCP’s inception in 1993, the program has issued 121 awards. In an average year, MDCP projects generate $372 million in U.S. exports.

The nine recipients of the 2012 Market Development Cooperator Program awards are:

• American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), New York, NY – $284,300

• The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, D.C. – $299,139

• AMT-The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), McLean, Va. – $290,762

• Evergreen Building Products Association (EBPA), Tacoma, WA. – $299,063

• Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation (iCET), South Pasadena, CA – $300,000

• Mississippi River Parkway Commission, Madison, Wis. – $240,000

• Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI), Cleveland, OH – $165,704

• Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Inc. (RVIA), Reston, Va. – $300,000

• World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara, Buffalo, NY -$218,771


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Curtin Expects 8.4% Year-End Shipment Gains

September 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Richard Curtin

RV shipments are expected to total 273,600 units in 2012, a gain of 8.4% over 2011’s total of 252,300 units and the highest level since 2007, according to the fall quarterly forecast of wholesale RV deliveries to dealers prepared for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) by Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan Consumer Survey Research Center.

Curtin expects RV shipments to edge up in 2013 to 275,000 units, with conventional travel trailers again posting most of the gains.

Indeed, the story of the industry’s gradual resurgence from the global recession is pretty consistent in terms of categorical strengths, with travel trailers posting particularly good numbers in a second quarter that grew 5.7% overall – the best performance, again, in nearly five years and the fifth best quarter ever.

Despite the challenging economy, notes Curtin, the strong appeal of these towable RVs has powered the revival.

“The dominance of conventional and fifth-wheel travel trailers has transformed the industry by acquiring shares from motorhomes and folding campers,” writes Curtin. “For every motorhome shipped, 9.4 travel trailers are expected to be shipped in 2012, nearly double the 4.8 recorded in the last decade, and well above the 2.2 to 1 ratio in the 1990s and the 1.3 to 1 in the 1980s. Folding camping trailers now account for 1 of every 25 RV shipments, down from 1-in-5 in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Curtin, meanwhile, points out in RVIA’s quarterly Roadsigns newsletter what it will take in his view for the weaker product categories to regain more relative strength.

“While the RV segments that are now the weakest will always retain devoted buyers, to regain the old segment shares requires new innovative products that provide consumers with more value for the dollar,” maintains Curtin, reiterating a theme he focused on back at RVIA Committee Week in June. “Winning back customers is never easy. In the absence of robust growth in consumer’s ability to buy, new products must energize their willingness to buy.”



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RVIA Gets Results From Vehicle Loan Program

August 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following story, authored by Mark Kahler for, is yet another result of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) vehicle loan program using a Winnebago Via, RVIA reports. The Reston, Va.-based trade association also arranged to have three vehicles in New York City Saturday morning, a Roadtrek N6-Active Class B, a Fleetwood Tioga Class C (from El Monte) and the Winnebago Via, for tours and highlights on Fox News in segments that promoted the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally in Indianapolis.

It’s not often that someone offers me a test drive. When they do, it’s usually because they want me to buy a new car.

So I was intrigued when the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association asked if I would be willing to test drive an RV for a week, and then write about the experience. I was allowed to choose a route anywhere in the U.S., and it did not have to begin and end in the same place. Although the vehicle was supplied, I paid all the other expenses: fuel, camping fees, propane refills, park admissions, groceries, etc.

Despite a challenging economy in recent years, RVIA reports wholesale RV shipments in the first half of 2012 were up 7.6%t over the same period in 2011. That might suggest many travelers see RVs as a way to hit the road with efficiency and comfort while bypassing expensive hotels and restaurants.

I knew just enough about that approach to be interested in the offer. As a child, our family owned a travel trailer for a few years. By the time I was age 10, I had seen both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Rockies, the Redwoods and major cities like Boston, Toronto, Seattle and San Francisco. Those trips were a lot of work for my parents, but they kindled a lifelong love of travel in me.

As an adult, I had no experience driving an RV. Nonetheless, I accepted the offer to maneuver a 25-foot Winnebago Via 25Q. I chose a punishing but scenic route through the mountains and canyon lands of Colorado and Utah, with a final stop in Las Vegas.

To read Kahler’s full review click here.



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Eight Representatives Elected to RVIA’s Board

August 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) members elected eight board members in the association elections that took place in August, according to a news release.

In the election for five manufacturer seats, Andy Baer, vice president of sales and marketing, KZRV LLP, John Draheim, president & COO, Fleetwood RV Inc., Jeff Hanemaayer, chairman, Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., and Tim Tiffin, general manager, Tiffin Motorhomes Inc., were re-elected as incumbents to three-year terms. Dan Shea, president of the Towable Division at Gulf Stream Coach Inc., was also elected to the board as a manufacturer representative for a three-year term. He previously served on the board from 2003-2011 but was required by RVIA bylaws regarding term limits to come off the board for a year before running again.

Incumbents Gary Enyart, director of RV Business, Cummins Power Generation, and Jeff Rutherford, president, Carefree of Colorado, were re-elected to three-year terms as at-large representatives.

Kevin Phillips, executive vice president, North America, Thetford Corp., was re-elected to a supplier seat on the board.

The RVIA board elections took place from July 30 to Aug. 24 with official representatives from member companies casting their votes electronically through an on-line ballot. Those elected to the board begin serving their terms on Oct. 1.

The RVIA board has the highest level of authority in the association’s organizational structure and is responsible for association matters on a broad policy basis.

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RVIA: July Shipments Gain 27.4%; YTD Up 10%

August 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) survey of manufacturer conducted for the month of July, wholesale shipments of all RVs were reported at 22,857 units, up 27.4% from this same month last year but off 17% from last month. Conventional travel trailers and fifth-wheel trailers grew by the largest number of units with only truck campers slightly behind. Through July, manufacturers have reported a total of 177,845 shipments to retailers, up 9.8% over this same period one year earlier.

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RVIA Board Elections Slated to End Next Week

August 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) members can continue voting through next week in elections to select eight representatives from a field of 13 candidates for seats on the association’s board, which holds the highest level of authority in the association’s organizational structure.

The elections began July 30 with official representatives from RVIA members companies able to cast their votes electronically through Aug. 24. Those elected to serve on the RVIA board will begin their three-year terms on Oct. 1.

Six candidates are in the running for five manufacturer seats, including Andy Baer, vice president of sales and marketing, KZRV LP; John Draheim, president and CEO, Fleetwood RV Inc.; Pam Graber, owner and vice president of operations, Open Range RV Inc.; Jeff Hanemaayer, co-chairman, Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.; Dan Shea, president – Towable Division, Gulf Stream Coach Inc.; and Tim Tiffin, general manager, Tiffin Motorhomes Inc.

Two at-large seats are in contention this year in the election. The four candidates are Garry Enyart, director, RV Business, Cummins Power Generation; Matt Grierson, general manager, Foremost Transport; Jeff Rutherford, president, Carefree of Colorado; and, Tim Stephens, president, Atwood Mobile Products LLC.

The three candidates vying for one supplier seat are Jon Corn, president, RV-ID Inc.; Craig Floyd, national sales manager, Technology Research Corporation (TRC); and, Kevin Phillips, executive vice president, North America, Thetford Corp.

The candidates were selected by RVIA’s nominating committee, which is chaired by Matt Miller of Newmar Corp. and includes Norm Jacobson of Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. and Doug Whyte of Dometic Corp.

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RVIA Revisiting Emerging Park Model Industry

July 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The following is an excerpt from a story in Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM) examining the evolution of the recreational park trailer industry and its new relationship with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). To read the entire article on the WCM website click here.

Campground owners and operators for a long time have had a good handle on “destination camping,” a concept that evolved from the development of the recreational park trailer (RPT) in the 1980s and blossomed through the expansion of traditional travel trailers into much larger units.

Whether they are called “seasonals,” “annuals” or “snowbirds,” the buyers or renters of these units have become a significant factor for both campgrounds and the RV manufacturers.

To be sure, there has always existed a certain disconnect between the campground industry and the RV builders about destination camping, but that may begin to disappear. Destination camping is finally getting the attention it deserves from its chief beneficiary, RV manufacturers.

This attention became apparent at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week June 11-13 in Washington, D.C., where the trade group’s ad hoc Destination Camping Committee embarked on a strategic plan to identify the scope of this rapidly growing segment of the market.

Mike Atkinson, director of lodging for Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and the lone campground representative on the committee, said this recognition by manufacturers is refreshing. “Having this melding of ideas is a great thing,” he said.

In the long-term, he sees campgrounds who purchase recreational park trailers or park models as rental units for their destination campers will benefit from the marketing dollars and governmental lobbying that RVIA will put into this segment of the industry.

In the meantime, RVIA is playing catch up.

While there is a variety of products that might qualify as destination camping types of accommodations, RVIA doesn’t really know how big this market is or how big it might yet get.

The concept of destination camping, which refers in part to “snowbirds,” RVers who keep their RV on one site all year or campers who rent an RV for a season at a single site, dates back at least to the 1980s and gained traction in the ’90s, according to John Soard, general manager for Fairmont Park Trailers, a division of Fairmont Homes in Nappanee, Ind. “The traditional concept of an RV being used on the road all the time is being circumvented by the customer parking their unit all the time,” he said.

“It’s taken the industry this long to recognize that’s a nice little market segment,” said Soard, who chairs the RVIA’s Recreational Park Trailer Committee and attended the Destination Camping Committee meeting, both of which were held during Committee Week.

Determining the breadth of that market is the focus of a survey the ad hoc committee commissioned through Precision Research, an Arizona-based firm that has done previous work for RVIA. Hard data is needed because everyone has an idea how big that market is but no one knows for certain, Soard says.

To read the entire article click here.

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