J.D. Power Clubs Inc. (JDPC), an affiliate of market research firm J.D. Power and Associates (JDPA), confirmed it has a relationship with the Freedomnation.com Web site.
Freedomnation.com is a Minneapolis-based company created to allow consumers to buy new or used RVs, boats, motorcycles and other motorsports products online. The online purchases of related products and services also is planned by Freedomnation.com, which was known as Emerald First Financial LLC until last December.
The relationship between JDPC and Freedomnation.com was outlined in a letter to RV Business magazine, parent of RVBUSINESS.COM.
The letter was written because the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence is considering severing its relationship with JDPA over concern that JDPC might become a competitor against RV dealers particularly in the area of selling retail financing, credit life and liability insurance.
JDPA conducted a consumer satisfaction survey for the coalition last year and JDPA hopes to be hired for a follow-up study next year.
In the letter, the JDPA and JDPC executives wrote that their companies “are completely separate entities that operate independently from one another. While JDPA holds a minority interest in JDPC, JDPC’s staff and board make all of the decisions regarding its business practices.”
JDPC has “no current intentions to launch an RV club” because it is concentrating exclusively on the auto market at this time, according to the executives. They would not rule out entering the RV sector in the future, although they stated JDPC would look at bigger markets first.
Concerning Freedomnation.com, the JDPA and JDPC executives wrote “JDPC provided Freedomnation.com with technology, marketing and other assistance. In exchange for this assistance, in June of 2001, Freedomnation.com must pay a fee to JDPC or provide a minority stake in the company.”
The agreement with Freedomnation.com prohibits JDPC from starting an RV club, the executives added.
The executives who signed the letter are: Harold Kivan, senior partner, JDPA; Michael London, chairman, JDPC; Linda Schulz, partner, JDPA; and Jeff Zupancic, senior manager, JDPA.