Buoyed by a record Saturday crowd of 12,726 people, the 2019 Detroit Camper & RV Show goes down as one of one of the best ever in terms of attendees, and certainly in enthusiasm.
With a final gate of 26,852 people, MARVAC Director Darren Ing said the 53rd annual show, which ran from Feb. 6-10 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, fell just short of 2017’s record, but by all accounts the 16 dealers and dozens of booth vendors reported a very busy show.
“It was a great show. It blew doors off last year’s show — although we had four days bad weather last year and this year we had everything in our favor, including good weather,” Ing told RVBUSINESS.com. He added that the facility’s recent 100,000-square-foot expansion not only meant room for about 80 more RVs and 209 more booths, but wider aisles as well — all of which helped alleviate what otherwise would have been extremely cramped conditions.
The show featured 363 RVs on display, ranging from $6,000 pop-ups to Class A diesel pushers with MSRP’s approaching half a million dollars. Dozens of manufacturer representatives also were on hand, scores of booth vendors representing campgrounds, RV parts suppliers, and other retailers.
“All the dealers I talked to said they were pleased, from A&S to Lloyd Bridges to Vicars to Westland,” Ing added. “The same with the booth vendors; all said they had fantastic show. Some of them even ran out of materials to pass out, like brochures and maps, so they had to run to Kinko’s so they’d have some copies on Sunday.”
One of those dealers was General RV Center, whose president, Loren Baidas, told RVBUSINESS.com that it indeed was an impressive show.
“Yeah, it was definitely busy. I think traffic was as good as it was last year – maybe even a little bit better. I think there’s still a ton of positive sentiment from our customers and a ton of interest going into the 2019 season,” said Baidas, whose Wixom, Mich.-based dealership currently has 13 stores.
He said that traffic was very consistent — and attitudes equally positive — at other weekend retail expositions in which General RV was involved in including Jacksonville, Chicago and elsewhere, although weather in some cases appeared to have played a role in a couple of them.
Nevertheless, consistent with Friday’s (Feb. 8) report from Stat Surveys, retail is still remarkably strong in his view. “Yes, retail is still strong and moving in a positive direction. Obviously, there are changes year over year and different challenges that come up, but retail is definitely still progressing.”
Did General RV, beyond all that traffic, do well in terms of actual sales? “Yes, we definitely reached the goals we were wanting to hit and we look for a couple of good weeks of follow up after the show,” said Baidas. “And in terms of product, we had a really good cross-section of everything. We had a very good towable show, from entry-level up to high-end trailers. We had a very good fifth-wheel and toy hauler show. And our motorhome show was pretty much what we thought it was going to be. It was another strong show.”