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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call the dealer service hot line.
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.
Protective Life Corp.’s Asset Protection segment is a Gold Sponsor for the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct.1-5, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The convention is sponsored by the National RV Dealers Association (RVDA), RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center.
“RVDA has endorsed Protective’s XtraRide service agreement since 1992, and Protective’s continuing support of employee education through their convention sponsorship is another example of its commitment to the association and its dealer members,” RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman Peter Albano of American RV in Olive Branch, Miss., stated in a news release.
“Protective and our field team have a strong track record of supporting continuing education” said Bill Koster, vice president of recreation and specialty products for Protective’s Asset Protection segment. “The workshops and other programs offered by the RV Learning Center at the convention help improve customer satisfaction and dealer profitability.”
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.
Themed “The Road to Opportunity,” the convention will present educational super sessions designed to help dealers navigate the issues and opportunities they face today and presenting strategies to reach new customers through new technology and to harness the power of social media. This year’s conference also introduces a new series of fixed operations workshops for service and parts managers to improve efficiency and profitability.
The 2012 convention will 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.
Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext 103, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Visit www.rvda.org and www.rvlearningcenter.com to register for the convention and receive regular updates. You can also get convention updates on LinkedIn professional networking services and Facebook.
For more information regarding Protective’s XtraRide RV program, dealers can contact their XtraRide agent or Protective at (800) 950-6060, ext 5738, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Protective’s website at www.protectiveassetprotection.com.
Tulane University’s Peter Ricchiuti will share his informative and entertaining perspective on financial markets during “Market Signals: What the Financial Markets Are Telling Us Now,” the keynote session held in conjunction with the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo on Oct. 3.
The convention, sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center, is scheduled for Oct.1-5, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“Dealers who understand larger economic trends that impact consumer spending are in a better position to manage their businesses,” said RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman Peter Albano of American RV in Olive Branch, Miss. “We are delighted that Peter Ricchiuti will be able to offer his insight on the state of the economy and how it will impact our dealerships in 2012 and beyond.”
During his presentation, Ricchiuti will discuss the outlook for interest rates, energy prices, and how politics and the deficit will impact the economy in the months ahead. Prior to becoming an assistant dean at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business, Ricchiuti enjoyed a successful investment career on Wall Street. He also served as state treasurer and chief investment officer for the state of Louisiana, and managed the state’s $3 billion investment and retirement fund portfolio and an additional $8 million in retirement funds.
In 1993, Ricchiuti founded the Burkenroad Reports investment research program. Since that time, he has earned praise for his management of the program, which involves leading teams of more than 130 Tulane University business students as they research and assess undervalued stocks in four southern states. His insight and humor have made him a popular financial speaker across the country, and he has twice been named Tulane’s top business professor.
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.
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 to harness the power of social media, and a new series of fixed operations workshops for service and parts managers to improve efficiency and profitability.
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.
Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext. 103 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Visit www.rvda.org and www.rvlearningcenter.com to register for the convention and for regular updates. You can also get convention updates on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Although it’s not an official association-hosted function, the leadership of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) will be holding a celebration dinner June 12 at the Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va., honoring former president Mike Molino.
According to RVDA, the evening will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by a sit-down dinner and program at 6:45 p.m. Cost for attendance is $100 and seats can be reserved through RVDA.
Molino stepped down April 2 after 16 years of service with RVDA. Phil Ingrassia succeeded him as president.
During his years with RVDA, the association extended its leadership role in RV industry affairs through development of the association’s Model Dealer Agreement and the Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey. Molino was a key leader in the formation of the RVDA Education Foundation, now known as the RV Learning Center, and also a strong supporter of continuing education and certification for RV dealership employees.
During Molino’s tenure, RVDA also played a key role in the formation of the Go RVing Coalition’s national advertising campaign, which is co-owned with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Molino is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and was elected to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2006.
Prior to his role with RVDA Molino served in the U.S. Army.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Convention/Expo Committee is currently accepting submissions to present a workshop at the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct. 1 – 5 in Las Vegas.
Hosted by the RV Learning Center, the concurrent education sessions will be Oct. 3-5, according to a press release. The Committee will evaluate the workshop submissions on a variety of criteria including:
• Timeliness and relevance of the topic
• Alignment between the session’s title, description, and stated learning outcomes
• Capacity to offer seasoned RV dealer and management-level employees new methods to improve dealership operations
• Potential to attract and stimulate the interest of RV dealers, general managers, sales personnel, and parts and service managers
The workshop submission form is available in both MS Word, and .pdf format. Submissions are due April 23 and notifications will be made by May 28.
Click here for more information about the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, including details on registration, exhibitor, and sponsorship opportunities.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealer’s Association (RVDA) is asking members to submit nominations for the prestigious James B. Summers (JBS) award, according to a press release.
Created in 1986, the award honors past RVDA Executive Vice President and CEO Jim Summers and recognizes individuals who make a consistent and outstanding contribution to the association and its members.
Summers attended the convention almost every year after the award was established to present it to the next recipient before losing a battle with cancer on the eve of the 2010 convention.
RVDA requests that submissions include a narrative explaining why the candidate should receive the award. All nominations will be reviewed by the RVDA, which will select the recipient of this year’s award by a majority vote.
The award will again be presented during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, to be held October 1-5 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Nominations for the 2012 award are due by May 21. Send submissions to Ronnie Hepp at RVDA headquarters via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (703/359-0152), or mail (3930 University Drive, Fairfax, Va., 22030).
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) board has approved revisions to its strategic plan that will guide the organization as it transitions staff leadership from outgoing President Mike Molino to President Phil Ingrassia, who assumed his duties today (April 2). Ingrassia previously served as the association’s vice president for communications.
“Our core purpose — to help dealer members achieve and maintain success — remains the same, and the board has enhanced the strategic plan to focus on the issues RV dealers and the industry face today,” said RVDA Chairman Andy Heck of Alpin Haus, in Amsterdam, N.Y. “It’s clear that RVDA needs to have a strong voice in government and industry affairs as well as be a catalyst for dealer solutions.”
Ingrassia noted, “As the association moves forward, the revised strategic plan will assist the board and staff in keeping RVDA resources focused in areas that will help dealers the most.”
Central to the strategic plan are five core organizational values:
• Professional development and education: RVDA facilitates the sharing of ideas and is a trusted resource for best practices.
• Professionalism and integrity: RVDA is dedicated to the highest standards of personal and professional integrity.
• Equitable member participation: RVDA encourages dealers of all sizes to participate in association affairs and supports diverse opinions.
• Industry teamwork: RVDA leads in the pursuit of excellence, innovation, and industry unity.
• Advocacy: RVDA is the leading advocate on public policy and industry issues that impact RV dealers.
“The current strategic plan builds on the good work of previous RVDA boards, including the core values and guiding principles, which are so important for stability and focus,” Heck said. “This is a great reflection on RVDA dealer and staff leaders past and present, because it shows that there is no confusion over RVDA’s long haul commitment to dealers.”
“This year’s planning process came at an ideal time for RVDA as a great leader, Mike Molino, steps down and I assume the duties of chief staff officer,” Ingrassia said. “I look forward to working closely with the RVDA Board of Directors, the membership and other industry stakeholders to achieve RVDA’s goals.” The revised strategic plan is available at www.rvda.org.
Before becoming RVDA President, Ingrassia served as the association’s vice president for communications starting in 2002 and joined the RVDA staff in 1996. In that capacity, he supervised the association’s membership, industry relations, market expansion and communications programs. He also served as RVDA’s staff liaison to the Go RVing Coalition. He earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2005.
Dealers surveyed in January generally have an upbeat outlook for the 2012 retail market and most feel their inventory levels are just right, according to the latest issue of RV Executive Today Online.
About 58% believe the RV retail market in January was the same as it was a year earlier, and 42%t believe it was better.
The survey showed that 75% of the respondents say there’s an adequate amount of credit available for inventory financing, and 71% say there’s adequate credit available for their retail customers.
For more survey results and charts, see the March issue of RV Executive Today, coming soon.
Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Mike Molino announced today (Feb. 9) that he will step down after 16 years of service as the CEO of the organization. The RVDA board named Vice President for Communications Phil Ingrassia as the association’s next president, effective April 2.
“Mike Molino’s impact on RVDA and the RV industry will last for years to come,” said RVDA Chairman Andy Heck of Alpin Haus in Amsterdam, N.Y. “He has been a strong advocate for RV dealers since he joined the association in 1988 and became the chief staff officer in 1996. Mike was instrumental in developing a strategic direction for the organization that will shape RVDA far into the future. We are fortunate to have an experienced successor in Phil Ingrassia, who is well qualified to manage a smooth transition of staff leadership and set the stage for continued success.”
“For over 50 years, I have been lucky enough to have had continuous employment with only two employers, the U.S. Army and RVDA,” Molino said. “The nature of the work in both organizations provided opportunities to work for more than 50 different bosses and with many great people. The staff at RVDA present and past stands out as the best team of colleagues that I have ever had. I can’t thank them enough for their loyalty and support. I am especially indebted to Vice President for Administration Ronnie Hepp who has been with us for 17 of my almost 24 years at RVDA and Vice President for Communications Phil Ingrassia whom I recruited 16 years ago when I became CEO. My life epitomizes the adage ‘do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.’”
Molino continued “It is time for someone with new energy and ideas to head the staff of RVDA. Last year, I asked the RVDA Board of Directors to start the process of finding a new president. It makes me proud to know that they saw the same great value in Phil Ingrassia’s talents and skills that I enjoyed for the past 16 years. I am delighted with their selection. Although I plan to be active in a different type of work, I will remain available to assist RVDA President Ingrassia in any way possible for as long as he desires.”
During Molino’s years with RVDA, the association extended its leadership role in RV industry affairs through development of the association’s Model Dealer Agreement and the Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey. Molino was a key leader in the formation of the RVDA Education Foundation, now known as the RV Learning Center, and also a strong supporter of continuing education and certification for RV dealership employees. During Molino’s tenure, RVDA also played a key role in the formation of the Go RVing Coalition’s national advertising campaign, which is co-owned with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Molino is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and was elected to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2006.
Ingrassia has served as RVDA’s vice president for communications since 2002 and joined the RVDA staff in 1996. He supervises the association’s membership, industry relations, market expansion and communications programs. He serves as RVDA’s staff liaison to the Go RVing Coalition and also earned the CAE designation.
“I am honored that the Board of Directors has chosen me to help lead the next chapter in RVDA’s history,” Ingrassia said. “Mike Molino has been an excellent mentor to me as well as to others on the staff and within the RV industry. I look forward to working with our volunteer leaders, members, business partners, and staff to advance the RVDA and the industry.”
RV dealerships have recently been investigated for failing to pass along a required federal disclosure certificate when they resell FEMA units, according to the latest issue of RV Executive Today.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) reminded members that they are legally required to pass along the “Useable Travel Trailer Certificate” notice informing buyers that these FEMA units aren’t intended to be permanent housing.
The RV trailers that FEMA bought after Hurricane Katrina and auctioned off by the General Services Administration (GSA) require this special disclosure at the time of that sale and must be passed to all subsequent buyers.
Dealers should be particularly cautious of trailer trade-ins from 2005 and 2006 and the need to confirm the vehicles’ histories. A customer may “forget” to pass along the required disclosure to the RV dealer when trading in the vehicle for a new RV. RVDA said that the best way to research vehicle history is to run the VIN against the GSA’s database of Katrina trailers or ask the trailer manufacturer for a vehicle’s history.
Not all of the affected FEMA units are white boxy models – some were purchased directly from RV dealer inventory. RVDA said that relying on the vehicle’s title may not be reliable, since Katrina trailers weren’t titled until after their first sale at auction.
A similar issue is developing with oversized park model trailers that FEMA bought more recently and are now being auctioned through the GSA. Park models over 400 square feet must comply with HUD code, and as RVDA understands it, these oversized park models are not built to HUD codes. Customers may be unable to title these vehicles in their state, and they may run afoul of local building codes. Specifically, they may be unable to place these units in a zoned park model RV park.
All oversized compliant and non-compliant park models sold at GSA auctions come with a “Usable Park Model Trailer Certification” that the buyer must sign and pass along to all subsequent purchasers. The certificate disclaims government liability for any future issues arising from these vehicles. Dealers face liability if they fail to pass along the certificate.
RV manufacturers are telling the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) that online dealer pricing figures released recently to consumers by SeeDealerCost.com are inaccurate, according to RVDA’s RV Executive Today online newsletter.
In addressing a press release generated by SeeDealerCost.com, RVDA reports that the one-year-old website is now listing what it claims are invoice prices and suggested manufacturer retail prices for several brands from Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., Keystone RV Co. and Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC along with a few models built by Jayco Inc., Forest River Inc., CrossRoads RV and Coachmen RV.
RV manufacturers told RVDA that they did not provide any pricing information to the website, and several questioned the accuracy of the data.
Dutchmen President Cam Boyer, Jayco Director of Marketing Sid Johnson, Heartland Vice President of Sales Coley Brady and Keystone Vice President of Sales Matt Zimmerman said they do not know where SeeDealerCost.com obtained its prices.
“The dealer prices quoted on the site for Jayco products are not correct,” said Johnson. “I don’t know where they got the numbers, but they did not get them from here.”
A disclaimer on SeeDealerCost.com also states the website is intended for use “as an online tool for consumers to obtain estimated pricing and costs. All such information is gathered from sources and/or based on algorithms or estimates. No assurance can be given that this information is accurate, complete or current.”
Heartland’s Brady said if a dealer was the source of pricing information, he or she may have violated the company’s dealer agreement.
RVDA Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs Brett Richardson said, “It’s important for everyone in the RV industry to note that invoice pricing information is sometimes addressed as confidential in manufacturer-dealer agreements. Sharing it with a third party could be a breach of the agreement and lead to termination 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 believe this advertising may be deceptive to the buying public,” said Richardson.
Editor’s Note: The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) issued the following concerning the passing of long-time President Mike Molino’s mother on Monday (Jan. 23).
Jennie Molino (nee Tepedino), wife of the late Angelo T. Molino, passed away peacefully at the Willow Oaks Assisted Living facility in the presence of family on Jan. 23. Born on May 10, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York, she grew up with 12 siblings; all but one, her brother Louis, have pre-deceased her. She married Angelo “Tom” Molino on Sept. 18, 1938 and they were together for 49 years until his death on Jan. 9, 1988.
The Molino’s moved from Brooklyn to Bayonne, N.J., and then to Springfield, Va., in 1984. Jennie was active in the Vincent F. Atene Post #3230 VFW Ladies Auxiliary and the “Forty Niners’ Group” at St. Bernadette Parish. She is survived by her three sons, Mike (Barb), Tom (Mary, known as Cissie to family), and John (Eileen); seven grandchildren (Mike, Andy, Tim, Bill, Chris, Sara and Matt); and six great grandchildren (Bella, Isabella, Alana, Spencer, Emaline and Cooper).
A viewing for family and friends will be held at the Everly Funeral Home on Main Street in Fairfax (date TBA), and a Requiem Mass is planned for St. Bernadette’s RC Church in Springfield, Va. (date TBA).
She will be buried with her late husband in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to Wounded Warrior Project to honor the more than 100 years of active military service she supported as wife, mother, and grandmother. (Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Rd, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Fla., 32256, or the Birmingham Green Foundation (8605 Centreville Rd., Manassas, Va., 20110).
The RV Learning Center scholarship 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. Dealers and other industry partners are able to offer this opportunity to their team specifically because of their employment in the RV industry.
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. 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 email@example.com 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.
Russ Patton of Byerly RV Center in Eureka, Mo., has donated an additional $10,000 to the RV Learning Center, bringing the dealership’s total contribution to $36,000. Byerly RV Center is celebrating its 65th year of serving customers this year.
“Russ Patton is a long-time supporter of the RV Learning Center and its continuing education programs for RV dealership personnel,” said RV Learning Center Chairman Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center in Hartville, Ohio, in a press release. “We appreciate his generous contribution which will help advance education opportunities for RV retail employees and improve customer satisfaction in the industry.”
The RV Learning Center is dedicated to providing dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through an array of education resources including publications, distance learning, live workshops, online products, training and certification programs for RV dealership personnel.
For more information on the Foundation’s RV Learning Center, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a fax to (703) 359-0152.