Opinion

What’s the ultimate cost of RV ownership?

(Feb. 19, 2013) — The total cost for all items comes to $269,990 ($55,000 + $25,264 + $23,258 + $22,000 + $5,868 + $138,600). Dividing that by $40,000 miles, he figures the cost per mile to operate his motorhome is about $6.75 per mile. That seems high, but I can’t argue with his logic. 

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Will climate change hurt the outdoor recreation industry?

(Feb. 12, 2013) — The impact of climate change is dramatic when you consider what it does to businesses that primarily take place in the great outdoors. In the past few years we have experienced droughts, vicious tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, or on the other hand a spring-like late February or March.

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Why isn’t the RV industry much, much bigger?

If we are to believe the Outdoor Industry Association, half of all Americans spend time outdoors every year, and the outdoor industry itself accounts for $646 billion in annual spending. What is puzzling to me is that the RV industry — which supports every single outdoor recreation activity — comprises a paltry 5.8 percent of the industry’s revenue.

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Coming soon to your company — employee civil war

(Jan. 31, 2013) — Among its many provisions — which none of the thousands of existing laws governing small business have regulated — is a clause that requires employers to disclose the salaries of employees to other workers by having to justify why two people doing similar work are paid differently. All it takes is one person thinking he or she has been discriminated against to require an employer to disclose salary information on all employees doing similar work.

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What’s the attraction to Quartzsite?

(Jan. 30, 2013) — Early last week, I was chastised by a reader for not covering the largest gathering of RV owners in America, which takes place each January at Quartzsite, Ariz. So, last Friday, I trekked out to the fabled city to see what all the fuss was about. I left there scratching my head and wondering what’s the attraction to Quartzsite?

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Political correctness run amok

(Jan. 23, 2013) — There is huge fallout over a decision by a show promoter to not only ban the presence of certain rifles at an upcoming outdoor show, but also prohibit companies from displaying pictures of people using guns. That is idiocy at its finest, especially considering that the show is the fabled Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, scheduled to take place Feb. 2 to 10 in Harrisburg, Pa. Show organizers must have failed to recognize that hunters, skeet shooters, target shooters and folks who already own guns are likely to attend the event.

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RVIA scores home run with World RV Conference

(Jan. 21, 2013) — I have been to lots of conferences in my career in the RV industry, but this one stands out among the others. The staff at RVIA deserve big kudos for their effort in pulling the entire world industry together to discuss common problems and to embrace the plethora of opportunity that exist for manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and campgrounds. 

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Study shows Millennials think they are really special

(Jan. 7, 2013) — Psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues discovered a 30 percent increase in narcissism among students since 1979. According to the Daily Mail, narcissism is defined as excessive self-love or vanity; self-admiration, or being self-centered. Twenge said that’s a trait that is often negative and destructive, and blames its boom on several trends like including parenting styles, celebrity culture, social media, and easy credit for allowing people to seem more successful than they really are.

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Did the industry steal orders from 2013?

(Jan. 1, 2013) — A few weeks ago, Barron’s reported that investment researcher Mark Roberts, with Off Wall Street Consulting Group, expressed concern over the high number of shipments to RV dealers that weren’t offset by corresponding sales to RV buyers. Yesterday, we published the November shipment statistics from manufacturers to RV dealers. According to the RV Industry Association, travel trailer shipments were up 21.4 percent over November 2011’s figures and motorhomes were up an amazing 66.9 percent. 

I’d like to be an optimist and say that all those RVs are immediately being sold to consumers. But, we also reported yesterday that consumer confidence took a seven point hit in December. Click here to read that story. That would suggest that many consumers are delaying major purchases.

Is the Barron’s article cause for exuberance or concern?
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Putting the word situation in perspective

(Dec. 17, 2012) — An article published today by The Spectator claims that 2012 was one of the best years ever in the history of the world.  Yes, I was shocked when I saw that headline, but when I read the article, it drew attention to some positive trends in our world. After reading it, I tend to agree with the author, who noted, “in spite of all our problems, the forces of peace, progress and prosperity are prevailing.”

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Why can’t Ford make enough chassis?

(Dec. 17, 2012) — If a company which manufactures chassis for RV makers can’t deliver those chassis on time in a down economy, where every sale should be treated like solid gold, how can anyone even suggest that the company isn’t screwed up?  At least one RV manufacturer had to shut down its assembly lines this year for a week to 10 days simply because Ford couldn’t live up to its delivery promises. I’d still like to know how Ford intends to deliver enough chassis to RV manufacturers who are expecting an increase in sales next year. 

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The 12-hour trade show

(Dec. 5, 2012) — There is no question any more that the National RV Trade Show is a day-and-a-half show at best. The third day has always been problematic for suppliers because so many people leave early. But, trends in recent years seem to suggest that the second day of the show is also lacking in appeal. Many are concerned about declining attendance among buyers at the show — the golden geese everyone want to attract to their displays. Here is my theory as to why the dealers aren’t showing up or aren’t sticking around when they do.

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Change, or die — it’s that simple

(Nov. 16, 2012) — Carroll noted that 65 percent of today’s preschoolers will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet. As hard as that is to believe, he also noted that half of the information college freshman learn in class is obsolete by the time they graduate. Media mogul Rupurt Murdoch once said, “The world is changing very fast. big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” The RV industry will gather in 11 days for the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. It will be very interesting to see how much the RV industry has embraced new technology.

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Doug Gaeddert

Gaeddert looks forward to leading RVIA team

(Nov. 15, 2012) — As I begin my term as RVIA chairman, I would like to thank the RVIA Board of Directors for their vote of confidence in electing me. I am looking forward to leading this selfless group of individuals who dedicate their talents and time for the greater good of the RV industry.

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RVs better positioned that boats going into 2013

(Nov. 14, 2012) — Companies are telling me that the RV industry is more stable with a more favorable demographic. While RV sales remain solid among older adults with better financial resources and better credit, the primary target for boat sales remains younger men and families. Although there are lots of things to worry about in the coming months, I’ve been told the RV industry is in a much better position to attract buyers going forward simply because of the flexibility RVs offer to consumers.

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Should RV dealers be wholesale distributors?

Giving a regional dealer network the ability to buy aftermarket products at wholesale prices would give that company a significant price advantage online and in their stores that other single-location mom-and-pop dealerships could not achieve on their own.

Personally, I think the RV industry’s two-step distribution model works extremely well in quickly getting parts and accessories from suppliers to dealers via warehouse distributors. Why would we as an industry want to throw a wrench into that well-oiled machine?

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