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Are we overreliant upon technology?

(Oct. 30, 2012) -- Computers are wonderful devices. They make my life so much simpler, and allow me to be much more productive than I could have been 15 years ago. It is safe to assume that this publication wouldn't be anything like it is today, if technology didn't enable me and my team to collect and disseminate the news.

Yesterday, a wicked, nasty storm plunged much of New England into medieval darkness and millions of people are now likely reflecting upon how big a role technology plays in their lives. I fear we are all becoming so addicted to our gadgets that younger people are fearful to do anything without a computer crutch -- even something as simple as placing an order for 12 chicken wings and a Diet Pepsi.

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Do RV manufacturers contribute to DMV confusion?

It is absolutely ridiculous for RV makers to be introducing 2014 models in June of 2012. Rather than making the companies look like innovative market leaders, they wind up portraying the companies as marketing hucksters. Those kind of games also hurt RV dealers when a 2014 model built on a 2011 chassis winds up on a dealer lot in June of 2012 -- and immediately slashes the value of the dealer's 2012 and 2013 inventory. 

There has got to be a better way to segment new products than by taking on a new model year designation whenever a floorplan is changed. Perhaps OEMs need to take a lesson from software companies and simply designate new models as version numbers, like 8.0.

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Donna the deer lady

(Oct. 22, 2012) -- A woman named Donna from Fargo, N.D., has a solution for preventing deer vs. vehicle accidents. This has nothing to do with RVs, but it will bring a smile to your face.

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Will Americans become the Chinese working class?

(Oct. 22, 2012) -- This video seems to back up its facts with quotes from GM officers. And I don't think its a stretch at all that the U.S. government would invest $80 billion into Chinese companies who will use their profits to buy up U.S. manufacturing plants and resources here in America. A few years ago, someone suggested that Americans will one day be the working class for the Chinese middle class. That may be a more prophetic statement than it appeared at the time.

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What’s happening at Thor?

(Oct. 16, 2012) -- Just knowing how most companies orchestrate the departure of its chief financial officer, the speed and timing of the Thor announcement is unusual. It's not that anything strange is going on with the company itself. It's just that the announcement itself raises more questions than were answered in the official release. Read More »

Oh, nuts — that’s customer service

(Oct. 9, 2012) -- A couple of weeks ago, I had problems connecting to a TengoInternet managed wireless system at an Indiana campground. After a frustrating experience with the company's tech support team, I sent an e-mail to the company's CEO and co-founder. After getting what I thought was a boilerplate response, I was surprised with the level of followup the company provided. Not only did it knock my socks off, it proved to me that fast, honest problem resolution can often do more to improve brand loyalty  than simply providing the level of service a customer expects. 

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RVIA Kills Possible Consolidation of Shows Until 2015

A press release issued by RVIA today would indicate that the association has chosen their own path until at least 2015, which is the new extension they agreed to at the Board of Directors meeting in Newport, RI last week that will keep the RVIA National Show in Louisville through 2015. While they can certainly set their own agenda, it appears that RVDA and the Open House in Elkhart are left to fend for themselves if there is going to be any meaningful consolidation of show activities that put a drain on dealer’s time, money and resources. With over 8,000 dealers attending the recent successful fifth anniversary of Open House activity in the Elkhart area, perhaps the time is right for these two organizations to sit down and see how both groups could benefit if RVDA moved their annual convention to Elkhart, just ahead of or just after, the Open House activities.  It would appear to benefit both groups since more dealers attend Open House activities than the RVDA Convention.  Putting two or three days on either end of the Open House activities would seem to make sense if the dealers are going to be in the area anyway.  It may not be as flashy as Las Vegas, but it may be more practical and cost effective. At the very least, dealers would save time and money – two precious commodities that there never seems to be enough of in today’s challenging economy. This could also be perceived by some industry folks as a power play on behalf of RVIA.  Perhaps they are saying to the rest of the industry, you should play on our ball field and all of you should come join us in Louisville and forget your own activities that seem to be drawing more and more people away from Louisville each year.  It certainly doesn’t preclude all parties from continuing discussions to hopefully consolidate some of these shows and reduce expenses for all parties.  Manufacturers who have embraced the Elkhart Open House activity must now continue to promote their products in two different venues in less than 90 days.  That’s expensive, and is it really necessary? I don’t see RVIA moving out of Louisville – ever – if they can keep the show there and make money to fund the association through the following year. RVDA may have more flexibility and it will be interesting to ... Read More »

Central Florida dealership seeks sales manager

(Oct. 2, 2012) -- High customer satisfaction and leadership ability a must. Must be able to hire and train sales team, manage leads and follow-up, control & manage inventory at a minimum.  Applicant must also have an excellent track record in this position.

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If You’ve Got Chassis Questions, FCCC Has the Answers

There is nothing like talking RVs with other people who share a passion for the lifestyle and appreciate a quality motorcoach. FCCC experts are always more than happy to share their knowledge at RV rallies, but FCCC has plenty of other ways to answer questions and help you get the most out of your RV. For instance, check out a YouTube tutorial on setting the clock on your FCCC chassis message center.

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Atwood Mobile seeks outside sales rep

(Sept. 27, 2012) -- Atwood Mobile Products is seeking an outside sales representative to cover the continental United States to act as liaison between Atwood Mobile Products LLC and customers and maintains on-going, open communications at all times.

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Just rewards

(Sept. 27, 2012) -- I could not believe my eyes when I saw that more than two dozen RV manufacturers agreed to pay $37.5 million to the formaldehyde "victims" who lived in emergency shelters provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

This delicious turn of events should be the cause for celebration all over the Elkhart area this evening as manufacturers clink glasses well into the evening. Here is why this settlement is a huge victory for RV manufacturers.

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Am I being too optimistic?

(Sept. 26, 2012) -- I am so tickled to see the RV industry has not fallen back into the hunker-down mentality that often follows economic hiccups. In the past, RV dealers and buyers have been caught with a deer-in-the-headlights expression at the first sign of economic bad news. They have been frozen in fear of making a major purchase or stocking inventory on their lots. This year seems to be different.

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Time to end Industry Days at the PRVCA Show?

Don't shoot me yet - hear me out - then you can start shooting if if doesn't make any sense for the dealers and manufacturers to continue supporting Industry Days at theHershey PRVCA Show.  Before I left Hershey this year I went to the show office to see Becky Lenington, PRVCA Executive Vice President to let her know I was going to blog on this topic soon.  Nothing I say here should be interpreted as a knock against Becky, Heather or all the volunteers and members of PRVCA, who continue to produce one of the best - if not THE BEST - consumer RV show in the country!  Read More »

Shake up your shop

(Sept. 21, 2012) -- The tide of business is rising. You don’t need to look far to see that. Many RV businesses are growing in double digits year after year. So, why don’t many dealers realize that the shop also needs to grow? 

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