LAS VEGAS — John McCluskey, the immediate past chairman of the RV Dealers Association, and George Goodrick, chairman of RVDA of Canada, both addressed participants attending the RVDA International Convention and Expo this week, and both expressed optimism for the RV market in 2016.
McCluskey, who also owned Florida Outdoors RV in Stewart, Fla., spoke first. Here are his remarks:
These are good times for the RV business, and this convention is a way to celebrate our collective success while making plans to keep our momentum going. It’s clear the RV business is headed for a banner year as the industry sets 30-year records for travel trailer and fifth-wheel sales in 2015.
The RV Industry Association forecasts for RV shipments next year remain strong with an estimate of 380,000 wholesale deliveries to dealers in the United States and Canada expected in 2016.
While the production levels are high, the latest RV dealer survey conducted by R.W. Baird in partnership with RVDA shows that two-thirds of dealers say their inventory levels are just right. As a group, we as dealers are doing a good job of managing our stocking levels and ordering rolling stock based on the retail demand in our markets.
There are other positive trends that should keep us rolling into next year. They include:
- This fall has been a blockbuster season for the U.S. auto industry.
- Strong consumer demand and a favorable credit environment led to the sale of nearly 1.5 million cars and light trucks last month, up more than 15 percent from a year ago.
- Since the downturn, light vehicle sales have become a leading indicator for RV sales — and Ford, GM, RAM, and other automakers have retooled their pickup and other vehicle lines so that our customers have powerful and fuel efficient options for towing.
- Perhaps the best news of all is that consumers are flocking to the great outdoors in large numbers.
- National Park visitation is up more than 3.5 percent so far in 2015. That may not sound like much, but it translates into an increase of more than 8.7 million visitors.
- State park visitation trends continue at record levels. Of the nearly 60 million overnight visitors to state parks in the past year, more than 50 million were campers.
- Private campgrounds are also thriving. KOA recently reported occupancy rates are outpacing last year by 10 percent.
RV travel continues to be a mainstay of the North American outdoor lifestyle, which is great news for everyone in this room.
On a different note, the RV Dealers Association is celebrating its 45th anniversary. It was 45 years ago that RVDA was founded by dealers, to help dealers — and that mission remains unchanged.
Dealer education is a key component of RVDA’s mission and this convention is a key component of our education platform. This convention’s expanded format focuses exclusively on providing information and training we need to stay at the forefront of our industry.
We want to continue making this your go-to event for continuing education and business information that helps your dealership prosper, while providing great customer service that will fuel our long-term growth.
McCluskey turned the microphone over to Goodrick, who owns Adventure Sports RV Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He spoke on the condition of the Canadian RV market and what the association is doing to help dealers north of the border.
Here are Goodrick’s remarks:
It is great to be back here at Bally’s for another exciting event. Our convention theme of “Passport to Excellence: Education and Training” is very appropriate because it a key part of our continuous journey in life-long learning. The centerpiece of the convention is education, and we have plenty of it. We have seven tracks this year focusing on all areas of dealership operations.
While the Canadian market has its unique economic conditions, there are some great reasons to look toward a prosperous future. As most of you would have heard, we just had a significant change in our federal government with a solid majority for the liberals. The RVDA of Canada is well placed to advance the interests of our members and bring the priorities of our businesses to the attention of the new government.
Our Go RVing Canada marketing campaign also has numerous successes this year. Entitled “Wildhood,” the campaign encourages all of us to embrace the wonder, excitement and joy of being outdoors. The TV spot, which ran for 15 weeks this year, has recently been nominated for several Canadian and North American advertising awards.
And 2016 promises to be an exciting one as we continue to build upon the success of “Wildhood,” reaching new consumers and continuing to effectively promote the RV lifestyle.
RVDA of Canada and RVDA in the United States share a deep commitment to professional development as evidenced by all the activities here this week. Personally, I have spent a good part of my involvement in RVDA working to improve education opportunities for dealership employees.
SOURCE: RV Dealers Association