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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rvlearningcenter.com. The RV Learning Center is a tax-exempt organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions may be tax deductible as charitable donations.
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 email@example.com, or send a fax to (703) 359-0152.
The “Away” campaign makes its debut on TV, in print magazines and online in February and includes an entirely new version of GoRVing.com. According to a report on RV Executive Today Online, the website relaunches with new technology that will give visitors a more sophisticated level of information and interaction.
RV dealers can access leads generated through Go RVing by signing up for the optional Leads-Plus program. For more information, click here.
“The goal is to make the site our workhorse, delivering relevant information and engaging content to prospects and helping them move along the purchase process,” says Stan Richards, founder of The Richards Group, which developed the “Away” campaign.
The storytelling aspect of the new ads serves an important purpose. “The audience sees people just like them, spending time with loved ones in picturesque locations,” says Richards. “These locations are off the beaten path, yet completely accessible, and viewers see the RV as the hero that allowed the families to get there.”
All of the ads, whether print or electronic, “feature a strong call to action, encouraging viewers to visit the website to find a dealer and the RV that’s right for them.”
Dealers should review their advertising immediately to ensure it includes all federally-mandated credit terms and disclosures. According to a news release from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Assocation (RVDA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stated it plans to more vigorously prosecute deceptive dealership advertising this year while it reviews what, if any, additional regulations are needed.
Greater FTC scrutiny of dealership marketing and F&I practices was the trade-off for exempting dealers from oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and its implementing regulation, called Regulation Z, require that certain information be disclosed to consumers so they can compare credit offerings and shop for the best terms. Previously, advertisers could distort the true cost of the credit by publicizing only the most attractive credit or lease terms in order to get customers into the dealership.
For example, an RV advertisement might have read, “1968 fifth wheel–only $75 per month.” But the consumer couldn’t determine whether it was a good deal without knowing the down payment, number of payments, annual percentage rate and whether the transaction was a credit sale or a lease. TILA requires that advertisements tell the whole story.
If an advertisement contains certain trigger terms, it must also include certain additional information. Regulation Z trigger terms are:
• The amount or percentage of a down payment (i.e., “10% down,” “ $1,000 down,” “90% financing,” “trade-in with $1,000 appraised value required”).
• The amount or percentage of any payment (i.e., “monthly payments less than $250 on all our loan plans,” “pay $23.44 per $1,000 amount borrowed,” “$210.95 per month”).
• The number of payments.
• The period of repayment (i.e., “up to four years to pay,” “48 months to pay”).
• The amount of any finance charge (i.e., “financing costs less than $300 per year,” “less than $1,200 interest”).
If any of those trigger terms are used in an RV sales ad, then all of the following disclosures must appear clearly and conspicuously near the trigger term:
• The amount or percentage of the down payment.
• The terms of repayment (i.e., the number amount and timing of payments).
• The annual percentage rate, which may be abbreviated as “APR” (Dealers also must disclose if an APR can be increased after the credit transaction is complete).
The type of transaction you advertise — closed-end credit, open-end credit, or a consumer lease — determines whether a term is a triggering term and, if so, what disclosures are required. There are similar requirements for advertising an RV lease under Regulation M; however, RVs are infrequently leased to consumers.
For more information, contact Brett Richardson at Info@RVDA.org.
The industry’s quest for a more logical, efficient and timely approach to national trade shows could well lead to the consolidation of all three key current industry events as soon as 2013, RVBUSINESS.com has learned.
Much of the buzz among trade groups and key manufacturers like Thor Industries Inc., based in Jackson Center, Ohio, and Forest River Inc., headquartered in Elkhart, Ind., centers around a relatively early fall date in a centrally located city like Indianapolis.
Could it actually come to pass?
Well, it’s all talk at this point, we’re told, but it’s reportedly more than a casual conversation, as representatives of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), sponsor of the annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville; the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), host of the annual RVDA Con/Expo in Las Vegas; and manufacturers supporting Elkhart County’s Annual RV Open House Week have formed a joint committee to look into the matter.
And there seems to be an atmosphere of compromise in the air.
“The way I look at it is that it’s a lot of peoples’ votes here, you know, and I’m open to whatever’s good for the dealer,” said Forest River President & CEO Pete Liegl, who spearheaded the first Open House Week four years ago. “Obviously, the dealer comes to the Open House. He goes to Louisville. He goes to RVDA. He’s got other functions, 20 groups and all that, and he or she is probably traveling a little more than they want.
“So, whatever we do, I want it to be good for Forest River. I also want it to be good for the dealer and I also want it to be good for the industry.”
Both associations apparently are taking an active role in these preliminary discussions. And while neither is saying much at this point, both agreed to issue written statements in response to RVBUSINESS.com’s inquiries that tended to confirm the perception that both trade groups are keeping an open mind with regard to a topic that only months ago would have been widely viewed as a hot potato.
“Clearly, the role of the trade show is evolving in our industry and in many others as well,” says RVIA President Richard A. Coon. “It is incumbent upon RVIA as an association to play a leadership role in shaping and protecting the RV industry’s future, and one such area is the national show.
“Findings from our research indicate that the industry feels strongly that a national show is a benefit to the industry,” he added. “That said, we realize that some changes are needed to ensure we are best serving our members and the industry as a whole. Therefore, RVIA is having conversations with executives from across the industry to examine the potential size, scope, timing and location of an all-industry event that would better serve the industry’s needs.”
RVDA President Mike Molino sent a similar signal in his prepared statement.
“RVDA is a dealer-driven organization,” said Molino. “The volunteer leaders and staff are truly committed to doing what is best for RV dealers and the industry. More and more dealers are telling us they want us to be as efficient as we possibly can with their time and money. We are listening. We believe we would be negligent to our obligations if we did not look for better ways to schedule shows and make our RV Learning Center programs accessible to more dealers. We look forward to exploring opportunities with our industry partners at RVIA.”
Bob Martin, president of Keystone RV Co., Thor’s largest division, says he’s “definitely open” to considering alternative approaches after comparing notes with a wide variety of industry factions – keeping in mind that, due to current facilities commitments, the soonest a real change could take place would probably be 2013.
“You know, it actually came up at RVDA in our Partners in Progress meeting,” said Martin. “The dealers are throwing out many different ideas of whether you combine one or two of the venues or change the time of year. So, for us, we’re going to do what’s best for the dealers, and if there’s a way to combine, we’d definitely be open to it because it (the current situation) is a huge drain on us financially, a drain on our time – having Louisville, Open House and RVDA. And, you know, I was gone all of this past fall (at shows), and it just makes it very tough on your family life as well.”
The RV Assistance Corp. (RVAC) has donated an additional $3,000 to the RV Learning Center, bringing its total contribution to $26,000. RVAC is the for-profit subsidiary of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) that develops member benefits for the association.
“Dealers using RVDA-endorsed business products and services enable RVAC to continue to support an array of employee educational resources available through the RV Learning Center,” said RVAC Chairman Tom Stinnett of Tom Stinnett Derby City RV in Clarksville, Ind., and co-chair of the Go RVing Coalition. “Providing financial support for continuing education programs is another way that RVAC programs benefit RVDA members and the entire industry.”
“We are thankful for RVAC’s support during a challenging time for the RV Learning Center and all non-profits that depend on charitable contributions,” said RV Learning Center Chairman Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center in Hartville, Ohio. “As we near the end of the year, it is an ideal time to think about giving back to an industry that has been very good to many of us by making a tax-deductible contribution to the RV Learning Center.”
The RV Learning Center is dedicated to providing dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through educational resources such as publications, workshops, online products, training, and certification programs.
For more information on the RV Learning Center and to contribute, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a fax to (703) 359-0152.
Travel trailers and fifth-wheels will continue to star in 2012, bunk bed models will be hot but diesel coaches will not, and no one is looking forward to the possible side effects that the presidential election season may have on the marketplace. That’s the consensus of RV dealers who were interviewed recently for the December issue of RV Executive Today.
After several lean years, many dealers say they will add full-time positions in the next 12 months, particularly in the service and sales departments. Some retailers believe consumer confidence will improve markedly and have already seen signs of pent-up demand giving way in their showrooms.
A few are starting to ramp up for what they believe will be a gangbusters recovery, while others aren’t expecting confidence levels to rise significantly in 2012.
For more, read “What does the future hold for 2012?” in the upcoming issue of RV Executive Today.
The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent fact-finding roundtable on dealer lending practices signals that the commission may try to further regulate dealership financing.
According to a press release, the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and other dealer groups, including NADA, firmly “believe that consumers already have adequate protections and that more regulatory barriers to vehicle financing would hurt the RV industry and the overall economy.”
RVDA said that the FTC is under intense pressure from consumer groups to more tightly regulate dealership financing. A major area of concern for RV dealers is the commission’s investigation into how dealership F&I departments generate revenue by marking up lender wholesale rates.
Rate markups are likely to be a priority for the newly created Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). RVDA and its allies are deeply concerned that the bureau will indirectly regulate dealership compensation by pushing to establish a flat rate reimbursement policy on the banks it oversees. These banks in turn may be limited to compensating dealers with a flat rate for the transaction, rather than a percentage of the loan.
RVDA will keep dealers updated on this important issue through email alerts and RV Executive Today. For more information click here.
According to an article in the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) RV Executive Today, all RV dealers must display a controversial new poster from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that informs employees of their right to form or join a labor union.
Starting Jan. 31, most private sector employers will be required to place the poster on their break room walls. Employers can download the poster for free at the NLRB website, http://www.nlrb.gov/poster.
Employers who fail to post the notice risk being charged with an unfair labor practice by violating employees’ rights to engage in collective or organizing activity. The NLRB also may toll the six-month statute of limitations on separate charges filed by an employee.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several other pro-business groups claim this new requirement exceeds the NLRB’s authority and have sued to block its implementation and enforcement. RVDA will keep members informed of any new developments.