In an address to members Thursday (March 9) during the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 95th International Convention, President Charlie Adcock announced that the organization is considering a proposal that would open membership of the group to towable RV owners. For all of its nearly 54 years in existence, FMCA membership has been limited to motorhome owners.
The FMCA convention, taking place March 7-10 at the Rawhide Western Town and Event Center in Chandler, Ariz., is reporting 2,273 FMCA family-member motorhomes and 354 commercial motorhomes, for a total motorhome count of 2,627 “” the highest figure since FMCA’s Perry, Ga., convention in March 2011.
Captured in a video by RVTravel.com of Adcock’s remarks to attendees, he explained the proposal would stabilize its current membership base of 70,675, which is a little more than half of what it was at its peak in 2004 when FMCA boasted 130,000-some FMCA members. (To view the video, click here or scroll down the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page.)
“The bigger we get, the more numbers we’ve got, and that will help us spread the cost of our benefits out,” Adcock said, adding that other member benefits in development would be disclosed at a later date.
In addition, Adcock said current industry trends suggest the Class A market is not as robust as it once was, while towables are going gangbusters. Citing statistics from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), he said that of the 8.9 million RVs on the road today, only about 12% are motorized, or a little more than 1 million. And of that figure, about 6.5% belong to the FMCA. Furthermore, again citing RVIA projections, only 13%, or 57,500 units, of the RVs built in 2017 will be motorized, more than half of which will be Class B and Class C models.
“So they’re not building a lot of Class A’s, and that kind of cuts us out of that market,” he said. He also noted that extending membership to towable RV owners, whose average age is 48, would lower the FMCA average age from 71 to about 60.
“I’d like to see a show of hands of all those who’ve had a towable RV, and I need to raise mine. Gosh! That’s where we started, wasn’t it?,” Adcock said. “Let me see a show of hands of those who have children or grandchildren or a brother or sister who have a towable RV now. It’s quite a few of us. We’d almost double our membership right now if each one of us who raised their hand got them to join.”
Despite a similar proposal proving unsuccessful a few years ago, Adcock said the timing is better for this attempt. “Five years ago if you brought this subject up to me I would have been ready to fight a tiger. But in five years I have watched the attitudes change so much,” he said.
Individual FMCA chapters would retain the ability to exclude towable RVs if their members so desired, Adcock pointed out. For example, he said the FMCA chapter exclusive to Prevost bus owners would likely not want to allow towables.
The next step is for the measure to go before the FMCA’s governing board on July 12, when it will consider whether to submit the proposal to the membership for a referendum. The ballot would be in the September, October and November issues of FMCA’s Family Motor Coaching magazine, and members would have until Nov. 30 to cast their ballot.