Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. expects 600 dealerships to be represented and more than 1,400 people to attend the company’s dealer meeting Aug. 27-29 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
The nationwide meeting – Fleetwood’s first since 2000 – is among the changes at Fleetwood since President Elden Smith came out of retirement in March 2005 at the behest of Fleetwood’s board to turn the company’s fortunes around.
And the Las Vegas meeting may remind many in the industry of the days when Fleetwood — once the nation’s market share leader in both motorized and towable RVs – annually hosted one of the industry’s premier dealer shows.
“This gives us a chance to give the Fleetwood message at one time to all of our dealers,” said Chris Braun, executive vice president of the Riverside, Calif.-based manufacturer’s RV Group. “Our dealers are our biggest asset.
“We will be telling them what we are doing to improve the product overall so that we can give them a more competitive product to sell,” said Braun. “In addition to that, we are going to communicate what we are doing to help them manage their dealerships more profitably from a parts standpoint.”
The meeting will feature a new entry-level toyhauler and several low-end gasoline-powered motorhomes in addition to other new 2007 products. The meeting also will feature a vendor expo for Fleetwood suppliers and an awards dinner.
Braun said that although costly, a dealer meeting is valuable. “It’s a significant investment and the budget is not unlimited,” he noted. “But when we weighed a dealer meeting versus other initiatives we might pursue, we felt it was important to have the meeting.
“It’s also going to be a shot in the arm for our suppliers to be part of it.”
The nationwide dealer gathering will augment four regional meetings typically attended by 25 to 75 dealers that Fleetwood expects to continue.