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California RVDA advocates for equalized freight

California RVDA advocates for equalized freight

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In a letter addressed to all RV industry leaders, the California RV Dealers Association today took a position in favor of RV manufacturers adopting equalized freight policies to ensure that no dealer gains a competitive advantage simply because it costs less to deliver an RV to one dealer over another.

“We can be smart about dealing with our problems as the economy begins to recover. The truck and auto industry instituted equalized freight many years ago and it has been a resounding success. What makes our industry any different?” wrote Ernie Friesen, president of CalRVDA, and Terry McHale, executive director.

“CalRVDA has a simple solution to the driver-delivery problem that is plaguing the RV industry,” the letter read. “The answer is ‘equalized freight.’ If the RV industry instituted an equalized freight policy we could virtually cut the cost of freight from Indiana to the West Coast nearly in half.

“Once the cost per mile has been factored, you could then add a reasonable amount to this cost per mile factor to make it advantageous for drivers to haul trailers again,” they explained. “Manufacturers would eliminate huge inventories of towables sitting in their yards and dealers would have inventory at the dealerships to sell to the consumer.

“The last increase in delivery costs per mile occurred approximately one month ago and resulted in an increase of $500 to the West Coast,” the letter noted. “We are now pushing $4,000 to deliver a trailer to the West Coast and this cost will continue to go up over time to the point where west coast dealers will not be able to carry any product built in Indiana.”

CalRVDA advocated two ways to resolve the situation:

  1. Equalized freight
  2. Build on the West Coast

“We are confident that once a proper cost accounting analysis is completed, you will find that not only is it easier and less expensive for the manufacturers to implement equalized freight, it also gives the manufacturers more control with transportation from Indiana to anywhere in the United States,” the letter noted.

“Another positive for the manufacturer is MAP pricing,” the letter explained. “We all pay the same so it really comes down to the dealer, the sales staff and the training. With the current situation, a west coast dealer appears to be ripping the customers head off when they see our price against a midwest or east coast dealers. Do manufacturers really like regulating MAP pricing?

“We are not only competing among ourselves for the recreation dollar, but also with cruise lines, boating, timeshares and other destination travel for the consumer vacation dollar,” they explained. “We are sure there are Midwest and east coast dealers that would not be pleased with equalized freight, but I believe this is the only solution if the RV industry is to remain healthy.

“For this to work, manufacturers would have to stop factory pick-ups by dealers. Some RV manufacturers are already utilizing equalized freight in their delivery process to dealers,” the added. “Let’s make this an RV industry-wide program.”

SOURCE: California RV Dealers Association memo

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report.


  1. Ernie, we instituted the equalized freight program many years ago and it worked to increase our production/shipment numbers that also increased our bottom line.
    Best wishes to you all.

  2. First of all I haven’t sold any CA units, but when a mid-west dealer sells a unit on the west coast the consumer also pays the freight bill at a higher rate than the west coast dealer. Warrior also tried subsidizing freight to dealers like me on the East coast. Look how that worked.

  3. I have advocated this for the last five years we’ve brought it up at every RVDA meeting since them the manufacturer has been opposed to it.they have said all along that if one of the bigger manufactured did it the rest would follow.maybe now it’s time to gather together and see if we can work something out the benefit all concerned. It has worked very well in the car industry and I feel it would beA great asset to the RV industry now and in the future.I feel if we all stand together with one voice we will be heard.thanks for everyone’s time I hope this gets out and we can move forward

  4. A well known Iowa RV mfg. whose name starts with W has had equalized freight for a long time. I remember Holiday rambler had equalized freight in the 1980’s. It works if EVERY dealer pays the freight even if they pick up their units at the factory just like the car business.

  5. Tom Graham…….When a customer goes online and see’s a 4-6k difference in pricing on a model or brand we have in stock from a mid-west dealer as you call it, from that point on we have to justify why we are more money. The dealers (maybe not you) that go after west coast customers ALWAYS find a way to get that unit out here for around $2000. I just got in a $29k invoice unit that cost $4100.00 in freight. The point is just like in the Motorhome space, Fleetwood, Winnebago, Jayco the playing field in level. The truth of the matter is. None of us are really paying for the freight the customer is. So lets take a page from the auto industry and EQUALIZE the damn freight so we can all better serve our customers. At some point this industry must start to care about the customer experience. PS…… The reason the range is 4-6k is the dealers who really take business even from other mid-west dealers, sell stuff at a very low margin, because a high percentage of the people they sell too will never be back in service looking for help. They leave that to us.

  6. So what everyone is asking for is that the eastern and mid-western dealers subsidize freight to the west coast so that west coast dealers can better steal their business. What does it matter if all west coast dealers pay the same amount of freight?

    • How would a west coast dealer steal anything if we all paid the same?? If the plants were all out here you would feel the same way.

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