Executives for Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s RV Group emphasized the importance of partnering with its dealer body while also showcasing 2009 product during the Riverside, Calif.-based company’s National Dealer Meeting at the Paris Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Fleetwood reported that over 600 dealers, suppliers and associates attended the Sept. 2-4 event, themed “Driving Forward Together.”
“This year, we had several key goals for our National Dealer Meeting,” said Paul Eskritt, president of Fleetwood’s RV Group. “We wanted to set the record straight on the company’s financials, showcase the increasingly important relationship we have with our dealer and supplier body, and highlight our new brands and models.
“In addition, we wanted to illustrate the powerful impact each of us has on one another – especially in this competitive market – and lay out Fleetwood’s plan to ensure that all of us have a profitable today, tomorrow and beyond.”
According to Fleetwood, the message was well received by dealers.
“I am very impressed by the overall positive attitude and team spirit exhibited by everyone at Fleetwood,” said Ernie Friesen, owner of All Seasons RV and Redding RV in Northern California, and a Fleetwood dealer for more than 20 years. “Throughout the meeting, I heard a consistent and optimistic message about the future of Fleetwood and the RV industry as a whole.”
“This was the best dealer meeting I have ever been to,” said Paul Minton, owner of River City RV in Arkansas, and a Fleetwood dealer for more than 10 years. “I believe Fleetwood is on course to help us all be more successful as the market improves.”
Highlights from the meeting’s general session included:
• Fleetwood unveiled the 2009 Terry LX fifth wheel, Southwind Class A gas motorhome and the new Power Bridge Class A diesel chassis, all of which were driven through the conference room and showcased in front of the audience.
• The debut of the all-new 2009 Backpack and Compass Ultralite travel trailer lines, featuring floorplans that include bunk beds and LCD TVs.
• Eskritt presented Fleetwood’s plans to introduce shorter, lighter, more fuel-efficient motorhome and travel trailer models.
• Eskritt offered attendees a candid portrayal of Fleetwood’s financial position.
Other event highlights included the keynote address, delivered by NFL Hall of Famer and television personality Terry Bradshaw, and an awards gala where Top Dealer Awards and 17th Annual Circle of Excellence awards were presented to members of the dealer body.
Immediately after the awards ceremony, Eskritt and Elden Smith, president and CEO of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., presented Boyd Plowman, retiring executive vice president and CFO, with an honorary Circle of Excellence award for his 30-plus years of dedication and service to the Company.
Later Smith addressed the audience recounting the tough times that have challenged the RV market in the past and the steps taken to come out of the down cycle better positioned.
“[Fleetwood is] responding to the current situation, but, more importantly, we are planning for the future,” said Smith. “And so are all of you. The strength of this dealer body is better than it has ever been before. I am tremendously impressed by your resilience and your professionalism – and am supremely confident in our mutual ability to weather the current market environment.”