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U.S. Rep. Asks Halt to FEMA Trailer Sales

April 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was asked today (April 8) to block the distribution of tens of thousands of  trailers sold through government auctions, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a letter to Holder  that flooding the market with more than 100,000 units produced for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the wake of the deadly 2005 hurricane season could cripple the market. He wants the Justice Department to re-evaluate its decision to allow the trailers to be sold.

Thompson said there’s also a safety issue. Many of the trailers, already contaminated with formaldehyde, now have mold and mildew after being exposed to weather conditions for nearly five years, he said.

The Justice Department approved the sales after determining they didn’t violate antitrust laws, according to the letter. But Thompson said the federal agency’s method was flawed.

“An analysis that examines each individual sale does not consider the ‘big picture’ and thus cannot purport to scrutinize the effect on the market,” Thompson wrote.

Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said Holder’s office would respond to the letter.

The trailers haven’t been released to buyers yet.

FEMA bought 145,699 travel trailers and mobile homes at a cost of about $2.7 billion to provide shelter to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. More than 130,000 had been offered for auction, said FEMA spokesman Brad Carroll.

GSA auctioned large lots of trailers that had been staged in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas earlier this year. Thompson said those sales totaled 103,000 units.

He said he’s concerned because the industry estimated a total of 159,500 travel trailers were sold in 2009, and 203,500 are expected to be sold this year.

Thompson said “dumping” more than 100,000 more used units in the stream of commerce would create a “substantial and negative effect on the price and supply of trailers.”

Bill Gapow, executive director of Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), said he’s more concerned about unsuspecting buyers.

“There’s concern that they could end up in the general marketplace. They could be traded in on a brand-new unit. The dealer may or may not realize that the unit was a FEMA trailer,” Gapow said.

Some dealers say they’re feeling the effect of smaller lot sales held last year by GSA.

Jimmy Bankston, owner of Reliable RV Center in Biloxi, Miss., said that before Katrina he was averaging about 40 sales a month. Now, he’s selling less than half that. Bankston said people are buying the auctioned units because they get a better deal.

Units sold at auction average about $1,300, said J.D. Harper, executive director of Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association. He said the cheap prices have led to upstart operations.

“Just outside of Little Rock, an abandoned manufactured home lot that’s been vacant for several years now has a temporary office and has an inventory of travel trailers that are showing up for sale,” Harper said. He said some of the dealers aren’t licensed to sell the units.

In Louisiana, gas inspectors have come across resold FEMA units that have had problems with the propane systems. Terry McLain, who works for the state’s LP Gas Commission, said some of the units may have been sold without being tested.

“If someone didn’t know and they turned it on, you have a massive gas leak that could end up an explosion,” said McLain.

Henderson Auctions, based in Livingston, La., conducts gas pressure checks of its units before they’re sold, said Janet Henderson Cagley, co-owner of the business.

Henderson Auctions bought “a very large lot” through the GSA auction and has been selling units for $2,000 to $15,000, depending on the model, Cagley said.

The company has sold about 6,000 within the past six months.

So far, there have been few complaints, she said.

“Many of them don’t even look like they’ve been lived in,” Cagley said. “People have been very satisfied.”

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Park Owners Warned: Beware of FEMA Trailers

January 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Beware of FEMA trailers!

Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) Executive Director William Garpow issued that advisory on Jan. 13 during the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds’ (CalARVC) Education Day at Newport Dunes Waterfront RV Resort and Marina.

Garpow said park operators should be wary of thousands of trailers built for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – many of which are currently being auctioned off by the General Services Administration (GSA) — because they weren’t built to ANSI A119.5 park trailer standards. Nor, he maintains, were they inspected by RPTIA.

“The FEMA trailers are really non-conforming manufactured homes because they weren’t built to the manufactured housing codes, as federal law requires,” Garpow says in a press release, adding that these units could pose various liability risks to park operators.

In addition to these other issues, Garpow says many of these FEMA units also have visible sustained water and mold damage as a result of improper installation and maintenance by FEMA contractors. “Others may have water damage that remains out of sight,” he said. “But if that water was mixed with urea formaldehyde glues used in different wood products, the outcome could be renewed off-gassing of formaldehyde at high levels.”

Curiously, this advisory comes as some in the RV industry – including the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) — have been advocating that trailers and park models used as temporary housing for 2005 Gulf Coast hurricane evacuees be shipped to Haiti for housing tens of thousands of earthquake victims.

In fact, Garpow claims the GSA may be unwittingly participating in consumer fraud by marketing FEMA units as recreational park trailers that in reality are non-conforming manufactured homes. ”Any jurisdictional authority could demand the immediate removal of these units from your RV park,” said Garpow. “The costs incurred in purchasing or setting up these units for rental service would be lost as well as any disposal costs. Parks might also get into a problem situation if they allow individual owners to place these oversized units into the RV park as local zoning or state law may prohibit the placement of a manufactured home into an RV park.”

RPTIA member-manufacturers produce about 95% of the nation’s park trailer production, according to the release. The association’s members pledge that the recreational park trailers they build will be in compliance with the ANSI A119.5 Standard. Independent engineering firms approved by RPTIA conduct unannounced quarterly inspections of member factories to verify that the manufacturer’s pledge to build units in compliance with A119.5 is being honored.

Garpow, at this same CalARVC session, also warned attending park operators about the pitfalls of allowing guests to use park models as permanent residences,

Park operators, developers or RV dealers with park trailer questions may contact Garpow at (770) 251-2672 or wgarpow@rptia.com.

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Park Trailer Seminar Set for Newport Beach Resort

January 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoThe California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) reminds manufacturers, suppliers and campground owners located in the West to sign up for its recreational park trailer seminar scheduled for Jan. 13 at Newport Dunes RV and Waterfront Resort in Newport Beach, Calif.

A panel of park owners, operators and vendors will cover these issues:

  • Pros and cons of renting park trailers for vacation use, including marketing, usage policies, housekeeping issues and maintenance.
  • Pros and cons of long-term leases for seasonal/annual use, including marketing, policies on out-buildings, landscaping, age limits and upkeep.
  • How and whether to purchase or lease and financing considerations.

Speakers include:

  • John Pentacost, an attorney with Hart, King & Coldren, who will speak on the state’s eviction law for park trailers.
  • Brad Harward of California Housing and Community Development, who will speak on the state’s laws regulating park trailers, from park trailer design to installation.
  • William Garpow of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), who will provide an update on industry trends, new products and innovations.

The fee is $75 for the first attendee and $65 for each additional attendee.

Lunch will include brief introdutions from the program sponors. A tour of the resort’s park trailers also will be available.

For more information, contact CalARVC at (530) 885-1624.

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‘Very Close’ RPTIA Vote Ends RVIA Merger Talks

November 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association’s (RPTIA) decision to discontinue reunification talks with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) came on a ”very close” vote of the 35-member RPTIA board.

”It was a mixed bag,” said RPTIA Executive Director William R. ”Bill” Garpow. ”In dealing with an organization, you don’t have the same mindset all the time. Basically, we got to the point where there were strong feelings by many companies one way or the other.”

RPTIA announced late Thursday that it was ending ongoing discussions that had been expected to lead to RPTIA, representing less mobile park models, being reabsorbed into RVIA, an association of more conventional towable and motorized RV builders, in some fashion. The decision was made via written ballots submitted by RPTIA’s board members.

”The vote was not unanimous,” Garpow said. ”When we first got into the discussions, it was not unanimous either that we would go forth and examine the possibility. The board wanted to see if it was possible for us to do this. The guys who were against it pushed for a vote.

”The ballots came back and said to stop the negotiations right now. That’s what we are doing.”

Recreation park trailer manufacturers were RVIA members until October 1994 when they left the organization and formed their own group based in the Atlanta suburb of Newnan, Ga.

RPTIA currently has 30 manufacturer members and is operating this year on a $416,000 budget. Like all RV-related business, recreational park trailer manufacturers have been hit hard by the national recession, which appears to be easing.

The sale of RPTIA seals to park trailer manufacturers to affix to units they sell have plunged to about 3,000 through October 2009. That’s a little less than half of the 6,217 seals sold during the same period last year.

Nevertheless, RPTIA President Curt Yoder, vice president and co-owner of park trailer manufacturer Kropf Industries Inc., Goshen, Ind., said a majority of RPTIA board members apparently wanted to remain autonomous.

”A good portion of our board thought that our independence was more important than joining forces with RVIA at this time,” Yoder told RVBUSINESS.com. ”For 15 years we’ve been doing our own thing and a lot of our members felt if it wasn’t broke, don’t fix it. They didn’t see any upside for us to dissolve our association.”

RVIA President Richard Coon expressed surprise at RPTIA’s decision.

”My personal reaction is that their announcement was a bit of a disappointment,” Coon said. ”The two organizations being together is better than being separate. But they obviously don’t feel that way. I’m disappointed and a bit surprised.”

In the big picture, Coon said some recreation park trailer manufacturers may have lingering ill feelings about being asked to leave RVIA 15 years ago and a decision three years ago — since reversed — to exclude RPTIA members of RVIA’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., because of space constraints.

”Some of them were mad about that,” Coon said.

As a matter of fact, the upcoming Louisville Show Dec. 1-3 at the Kentucky Exposition Center is the last year that RVIA has guaranteed inclusion of RPTIA members.

Nonetheless, the discussions between the two organizations have had a positive effect, Coon said. ”I think we are better friends today than when we started the talks,” Coon said. ”We will continue to work with them.”

The decision to halt reunification talks also has rekindled the possibility that RPTIA will move its headquarters to Elkhart County, Ind., the RV manufacturing hub in the U.S. ”The move to Elkhart, that ultimately is our goal,” Yoder said. ”How soon that happens remains to be seen.”

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RPTIA Board Votes to End RVIA Negotiations

November 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

RPTIA logoThe board of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA voted recently to “cease all negotiations”  with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) for possible reunification.

The RPTIA announced late Thursday (Nov. 19) that the two organizations “have concluded a yearlong process of negotiations and discussions seeking a possible reunification between the two manufacturing associations.”

“The process was not a loss, however, as both associations now have a better understanding of each other,” according to the RPTIA statement. “It is hoped that the two associations can continue to work together on matters of mutual interest.”

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Hershey Show: More Signs of an Industry Upturn

September 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Show drew a record 31,710 visitors Sept. 16-20 at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., an increase of 14% over last year.

And by all accounts, manufacturers exhibiting at the East Coast’s biggest annual trade and retail show were pleased with the outcome.

“Traffic was real good,” said Tim Tiffin, general manager of Tiffin Motor Homes, Red Bay, Ala. “It was a good bit over what we had last year. We were very pleased. It concreted our assertion that business has been getting better over the last few months.”

Although space of 440,787 square feet sold before the show was a little more than half of what it was last year, 59 manufacturers represented by 47 dealers displayed about 700 units while 117 suppliers occupied indoor and outdoor booths.

“We weren’t off on the number of manufacturers, but many of them downsized their display a lot,” said Heather Leach, director of education and marketing for the sponsoring Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA). “But people were there to buy. From the dealers and manufacturers that we talked to, they all had an excellent show. Some told us it was the best show they had had in years.”

“It was a fabulous show,” said show Chairman Dan Saltzgiver, owner of Reichart’s Camping Center, Hanover, Pa., who sold all 17 Forest River Rockwood travel trailers Reichart’s brought to Hershey. “Hopefully it’s an indication that the economy and industry is turning around.”

The Chicago area-based Camping World dealership network sold almost 400 units at its nine dealership display in Hershey, said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO.

“We sold 393 units for the show,” Lemonis said. “The bulk, more than 150, were Keystone (towables). What was most surprising, though, was the number of motorized we did. We did 68, most of them Class A’s.”

“Their displays did very well for us,” said Bob Martin, Keystone RV Co. executive vice president. “We don’t have our tallies in yet, but it looks like we sold more than we did last year.

“It was a sale environment and customers were definitely in a buying mode, which bodes well for the fall buying season and for next spring. The Hershey show always is an indicator. We definitely see this as a positive for our company and the industry.”

While declining to provide specific sales numbers, Roger Martin, Winnebago Industries Inc. vice president of sales and marketing, said that show sales were up 30% compared to last year.

“Traffic was excellent,” Martin said. “We had a very nice mix of products retailed — from Class C’s to Class A gas to Class A diesel. Consumer interest in our new Winnebago Via and Itasca Reyo was stellar — with lines waiting to get inside the units.”

Brian Wilkins, general manager of Wilkins RV in Bath, N.Y., said he was busy Monday sorting out orders. “There seemed to be for everybody very brisk business activity,” Wilkins said, noting that most of consumer’s interest was in fifth-wheels retailing from $30,000 to $70,000.

Recreational park trailer sales apparently also did well. “There were some happy looking manufactures that I talked to who said that things were moving,” said Bill Garpow, president of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).

PRVCA’s Leach attributed part of the attendance boost to increased national magazine advertising and radio and TV promotions that reached into New York and Ohio. The weather also cooperated for a change.

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RPTIA Responds to New Jersey Park Model Flap

July 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following is an editorial that appeared in the Press of Atlantic City, N.J.

 

Bill Garpow

Bill Garpow

Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), (yes, there’s a national association for everything) wants to be perfectly clear:

He agrees that so-called “park model” campers, which are 400 square feet at their largest, are not designed to be year-round homes. And, in fact, New Jersey law clearly states that campgrounds cannot be full-time legal domiciles, says Garpow.

However, the current attempt by the state of New Jersey to allow people to use their park-model campers only six months of the year is arbitrary and foolish, says the head of the national association, which is based in Newnan, Ga. And he’s right. Why shouldn’t someone be able to enjoy their camper for a weekend in, say, late fall if they want to?

Furthermore, New Jersey is the only state in the nation to claim that the National Electric Code requires it to force campgrounds to close six months of the year because of the wiring in park-model campers. New Jersey, says Garpow, is “interpreting (the code) uniquely.”

There’s a surprise, huh?

Last year, the state Department of Community Affairs began imposing a six-month limit on how long campgrounds can be open; the six-month period starts on opening day of a particular campground.

The state says this is necessary because under the National Electric Code, the wiring in park models is not sufficient. Nonsense, say Garpow and others. They say the wiring, at least in newer models, is the same as in a single-family house.

So … what is the state up to?

Garpow says he isn’t sure. At best, the state is using a backhanded approach to ensure that campgrounds don’t become full-time, year-round residences for people — particularly, we suspect, for people who might send children to the local schools.

But the issue here is whether people who own park models should have access to them for weekend getaways or vacations whenever they want — or only when the state of New Jersey says they can.

The New Jersey Campground Owners Association, which is based in Middle Township, is fighting the new rules. A spokesman for the state Department of Community Affairs says it is willing to work with the association to come up with a reasonable solution.

May we suggest that the first step should be for the state to be honest about what it is hoping to accomplish and why?

If the issue is really campgrounds that morph into full-time residences more like trailer parks — and then, presumably, “overload” local services and schools without paying a “fair” share of taxes — then talk about that, rather than rely on some arbitrary and unique interpretation of the National Electric Code.

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Park Model OEMs Look Ahead for Brighter Future

June 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Like other RV manufacturers, recreational park trailer builders have been hard hit by the recession, with unit shipments being roughly half of what they were in 2006, when a record number of 10,100 shipments were recorded.

“I think the market is starting to improve. We’ve seen some movement in the marketplace. And a few manufactures even report having a small backlog, which is something that we haven’t experienced in the past year,” Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) in Newnan, Ga., told RV Business.

But manufacturers remain cautious about the economy, and generally don’t see the recreational park trailer or “park model” industry to rebound until the nation’s banks are in better financial shape.

“As I talk to my contemporaries, I’m hearing the same from everyone, that it’s really tough out there. And what business is out there is really tough to get,” said Tim Howard, president and CEO of the Breckenridge Division of Damon Corp., a Thor Industries Inc. company in Nappanee, Ind.

Like most manufacturers, Breckenridge has had to dramatically scale back its work force to remain viable during the current economic downturn. “We’re in very good shape,” Howard said. “Our balance sheet continues to be very strong. We have virtually no debt.”

But as a manufacturer, he said, it has been “heartbreaking” to have to let staff go because of the economic downturn. “You have an emotional bond to quality people and an investment in quality people,” Howard said, adding that Breckenridge has just over half as many employees as it did a few years ago, when the park model industry was experiencing record sales.

But even though all segments of the RV industry have been particularly hard hit by the current recession, Howard and other park model manufacturers and industry officials believe the park model industry still has a long ways to go to reach its full potential.

“I’ve always said this market is in its infancy, and I still do, especially given the trend from a transient to permanent camper,” said John Soard, a longtime park model industry executive who spent 20 years with Breckenridge and Middlebury, Ind.-based Woodland Park before becoming general manager of Nappanee, Ind.-based Fairmont Park Trailers in 2005.

Indeed, Soard and other park model manufacturers believe consumer interest in “destination camping” will continue to increase, and as it does so will demand for park models.

Soard, in fact, noted that many of the leading RV manufacturers are now building towable trailers up to the 400-square foot limit precisely because they believe consumer interest in destination camping is growing. “Each one of these major RV manufacturers has a destination travel trailer that’s intended to be parked, not towed,” Soard said.

Garpow, for his part, noted that park models remain one of the most profitable investments campground owners can make, a point that was underscored by Atkinson of KOA. Park model rentals typically generate two or three times as much revenue as a typical RV site, plus they stay rented for longer periods of time throughout the year. “Park models not only generate more revenue, but they do it for longer periods of time than a typical RV site,” Garpow said, adding that campground owners often generate enough income from their park models to pay them off in three years or less.

Garpow also noted that the Obama administration’s efforts to increase CAFÉ standards could further increase demand for park models. “One way to increase fuel economy is to produce lighter vehicles as well as vehicles with smaller engines, the net effect of which is to reduce the vehicle’s towing capacity. But as towing capacities are reduced, it’s going to be harder for consumers to find vehicles that can tow the biggest trailers, and that could lead to increased demand for park models or for destination camping.”

As a result, he said, many consumers may find it easier to purchase park models that are professional installed on permanent campsites than large travel trailers or fifth wheels that require a tow vehicle. This is precisely what happened when CAFÉ standards were increased in the late 1970s and 80s. In fact, the resulting reduction in vehicle towing capacities helped foster the birth of the park model industry.

Garpow also noted that many of the nation’s campgrounds have yet to open their doors to park models, either for rentals or sales, and that represents a significant growth opportunity for park model manufacturers.

Many campground operators say they are pleased with the return of investment on park models, including Jeff Gordon of Raintree RV Park in Rockport, Texas, which sits along the Gulf Coast roughly 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. In addition to 80 RV sites, Gordon also offers one cabin, two fifth wheels and four park models for rent.

“We’re actually going to phase out the fifth wheels and just go with park models,” Gordon said, adding, “All of our requests are for park models. They’re nicer accommodations, and that’s what people want in this area.”

Coincidentally, Gordon had to interrupt his interview with RV Business to answer questions from a woman who called on another line to reserve one of his park models. He said he’s also had some people change their vacation plans to coincide with days when he has park models available.

Such is the demand for park model accommodations, which is why campgrounds and RV parks continue to invest in these units, even during the current recession.

“Roughly 25-30% of the nation’s private campgrounds offer park models as rental units, and the numbers are growing,” said Garpow of RPTIA.

Mike Atkinson, facilities development manager for Billings, Mont.-based Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), said his company’s park models, which it markets as Kamping Lodges, have the highest occupancy rate of any category of rental accommodation in the KOA system. He said KOA parks had taken deliver of 163 park models as of early June.

KOA, like other campgrounds, furnishes its park models with beds, linens and kitchen utensils. “Our numbers show that the customers who are coming to our campgrounds want lodging that has amenities,” Atkinson said. “They want a bathroom. They want a comfortable bed. And they don’t want to pack their car with everything. They don’t want the labor.”

Park operators often invest in park models so that they can have rental units available for people who don’t have their own RV. Many park operators also take it a step further and form their own park model dealerships. This way, they can potentially make a profit on the sale of the park model in addition to  generating ongoing revenue from the campsites they lease to park model owners.

Some parks also set up rental pools using the park models they have sold at their parks. This way, the owners can make money on their park models when they’re not using them.

While park models have long been a rental option of choice for Winter Texans, Gordon of Raintree RV Park said boating enthusiasts also like to rent them as well. “We’re on the coast, so we get a lot of people from San Antonio, Austin and Houston and the surrounding areas,” Gordon said. “But if they’re pulling their own boat down, they can’t pull a camper, too.”

Park models are also ideally suited for campgrounds in popular tourist destinations that want to broaden their business base to compete with hotels and motels.

Crater Lake RV Resort in Fort Klamath, Ore., purchased three park models in 2006 and installed a fourth one this year. “They are our most requested cabin,” said resort owner Babe Hamilton, whose park also features 14 RV sites. “They’re just a nice looking cabin with the wood siding. They all have their own gas barbecue on the deck, and they’re right on the creek. It’s a very nice setting.”

Some private park owners are also finding that park models can be used for more than guest accommodations.

At the River’s Edge at Deer Park in Heber, Utah, which is close to the Deer Valley and Park City ski resorts, Cavco park models are being used not only as guest accommodations, but as seasonal employee housing for during the winter months, said resort owner John Kenworthy.

“We’re continuing to expand the lodging part of our business,” Kenworthy said, adding that his park models remain are in high demand.

Garpow and Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), are scheduled to discuss the merits of investing in park models on Sept. 15 during the 41st annual Pennsylvania RV and Campground Show in Hershey, Pa. The show features the largest park model expo in the country.

 

 

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RPTIA Preparing for April 29 RVIA Meeting

April 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The executive committee of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) will meet twice within the next two weeks to discuss an alliance the trade group is seeking to form with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). 
 ”We are at this point still trying to work out issues that we have concerning both parties,” said RPTIA ExecutivRPTIA logoe  Director William R. Garpow, who said RPTIA leaders will meet by phone next Tuesday and in person April 20 in  Elkhart, Ind. 
 ”The fact that we are talking is a good thing,” Garpow said.
A joint meeting between representative of the two associations is scheduled for April 29 in Chicago to discuss the relationship of the two associations going forward. 
At the core of the discussions are the square-footage standards for travel trailers and fifth-wheels that RVIA allows its members to build.
At a March 27 meeting, the RVIA board voted to authorize fifth-wheel manufacturers to immediately build units with a maximum 430 square feet in the setup mode — up from 400 square feet — and, in a compromise with RPTIA, to consider reducing travel trailer limits from 400 square feet to 320 square feet, the standard before Jan. 1, 2008.
Prior to that date, travel trailers over 320 square feet were considered recreational park trailers.
”We are pleased that they decided to put a cap on fifth-wheel square footage,” Garpow said. ”That was something that we were a little surprised about — positively. That’s a step in the right direction.”
During the March 27 meeting, RVIA’s board also appointed an ad hoc committee to discuss RPTIA rejoining RVIA 16 years after park model manufacturers left RVIA — at RVIA’s request — and set up their own association. In the meantime, the two associations are expected to establish an informal two-year alliance that also appears to have a lot to do with the tough economic times and the need for these once disparate elements to pull together. 
The maximum size of towable RVs has been a point of contention between the two associations for nearly two years. RPTIA claims standards authority over travel trailers exceeding 320 square feet, considering them to be recreational park trailers. The Newnan, Ga.-based trade group also objected to earlier RVIA efforts to increase fifth-wheel square footage in an era where larger units are gaining popularity.

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PRVCA Optimistic About September RV Show

March 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

prvca-logo The Pennsylvania Recreational Vehicle and Campground Association (PRVCA) will hold a drawing  May 5 for manufacturers, suppliers and seminar sponsors planning to attend the 41st Annual RV and  Camping Show Sept. 14-20 in Hershey, Pa.

 “We are probably going to be down a little as far as manufacturers are concerned, but so far, we’ve only  had one company say that they weren’t going to be here,” said Heather Leach, PRVCA director of  education and marketing.

 “The main thing is that we are trying to remain optimistic and we are hearing from our dealers lately that things are picking up. We are taking that as a good sign.”

Last year about 60 dealers displayed product from 74 manufacturers, while retail attendance was 27,838 – down 11.6% from 2007.
Sept. 14-15 have been set aside as trade-only days,

In deference to the soft RV market, just as it did last year, PRVCA will allow manufacturers to display      20% of units from the 2009 model year. However, with that option available last year, fewer than 5% of RVs on display were 2008 units.

“It’s hard to say how many people will take advantage of that option this year, but they seem to like to  have it,” Leach said.
Entertainer Bowzer from the ’70s acapella group Sha Na Na will perform Sept. 14 for trade members with Bowzer’s Rock & Roll Party.

Sales trainer Randy Sobel will be featured speaker during an opening breakfast Sept. 14 for trade members and retired Notre Dame and Pittsburgh Steeler running back Jerome Bettis will speak on “Choices that Make Champions” during breakfast Sept. 15.

Other trade seminar subjects will include distance learning for technicians by Gary Bunzer and park trailers in campgrounds by Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).

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