Multilocation dealership company Dan Gamel’s RV Centers has entered into a private-label agreement with Los Banos, Calif.-based Automate RV Products Inc., which had only been selling factory direct until last month.
Automate, which had been a low-volume producer of highline, custom fifth-wheels and travel trailers, delivered its first units to Gamel’s RV on Oct. 8, Automate President Bill Wyrick said.
The first units were sport utility trailers sold under the ToyMate by AutoMate brand name. Eventually, Automate will supply Gamel’s RV with fifth-wheels and travel trailers that will be marketed under the AutoMate brand, Wyrick added.
The first ToyMate models were 25-foot units priced at $24,724 or $25,607 depending on the floorplan, according to the Gamel’s RV website, www.gamel.com.
The ToyMate features a sturdy full aluminum frame with cross members every 12 inches, Wyrick said.
Eventually, Automate will supply 28- and 31-foot ToyMate models along with 28- to 33-foot fifth-wheels and travel trailers, he said.
Gamel’s RV, with eight locations in central and Northern California and Yuma, Ariz., has been a major Fleetwood dealer for years and it added the Coachmen Industries Inc. line this year.
The private-label program with Automate is not part of a plan by dealership principal Dan Gamel to take business away from Fleetwood or Coachmen. Instead, it represents an effort to extend into the highline towables segment, Wyrick said.
Wyrick, who started in the RV industry at Aristocrat Travel Products in 1957 and who founded Automate in 1970, hopes to build 20 units per day for Gamel RV. Based upon 250 working days per year, that would amount to 5,000 units per year.
Prior to the recent expansion of Gamel’s RV, the leadership was selling 2,000 towables per year, Wyrick said.
Gamel’s expansion included the opening of the Yuma location in November and the move, in October of its Fresno, Calif., location into a much larger, 203,000-square-foot, former Kmart building. The old building was converted into an RV storage facility.
Gamel’s RV also opened a site south of Redding, Calif., in February and its first Camp America service center near Redding in April.
Gamel’s RV achieved $200 million in sales in 2002 and it had already nearly reached the $200 million in mark by the end of August of this year.
Automate employed 30 people prior to Wyrick’s signing the private-label supply agreement with Gamel’s RV in August. Since then, Automate has hired 10 more employees and, Wyrick added, “That will grow.”