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Based upon robust consumer demand at its show during the Holiday Season, executives at multilocation Southern California dealership Giant RV believe the RV market will experience a healthy rate of growth again in 2003, according to Bob Barouti, president.
Giant, which has five locations in Southern California, had its own retail show, called the Giant L.A. RV Show, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, and the company sold 204 motorhomes and towable RVs during the event. That was the highest sales total during the six-year history of the show, Barouti said.
“We run a very positive show and people (consumers) were all up,” Barouti said. “Because it was Christmas, everyone is together, so people came to the show with their kids.”
Giant had 80 salespeople working at the show, and Barouti said the company could have sold more units if it had had even more salespeople.
Giant also participated in the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Western Area Rally in Indio, Calif., Jan. 8-12, and, Barouti said, “We got our share at FMCA. We sold a bunch of Monacos,”
All this is occurring despite the possibility of war with Iraq, higher gasoline prices because of political turmoil in Venezuela and the possibility of a sales-tax increase in California. Concerning those issues, Barouti said, “There’s some negative talk, but the business is there if you work for it.
“We feel the outlook is bright,” he said.
Giant outpaced the RV industry by growing 30% in 2002 to over $160 million in sales revenue, Barouti said.
In terms of the number of units shipped from manufacturers to dealers, the RV industry grew by 21% when the first 11 months of 2002 are compared with the same portion of 2001.
Dr. Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan is forecasting a 5% increase in RV shipments for 2003, but Barouti is forecasting 25% to 30% growth for Giant.
The opening of Giant’s new location in Montclair, Calif., planned for May, will provide the dealership with much of its growth in 2003, Barouti believes.
Giant will close its store in Upland, Calif., when the Montclair facility opens, Barouti added.