Jayco Inc. reiterated last month its intention to implement a policy limiting Jayco dealers to listing manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs) for new Jayco units on their Internet sites.
“It is not our normal style to be heavy-handed in matters like this,” admitted Sid Johnson, Jayco’s director of marketing, during the Middlebury, Ind.-based company’s national dealer meeting in Orlando last month. “We instituted this policy for several reasons, not the least of which is our responsibility to administer the use of our name in fair and equitable manner.”
Jayco first informed its 300 or so dealers in a letter dated May 28 that “no authorized dealer may advertise new, untitled Jayco RVs outside the dealer’s market area through the Internet or any other means which shows any price other than the MSRP.”
The policy went into effect Aug. 1, and Johnson added, “I want to assure everyone here that we are serious about it.”
The policy also applies to efforts to sell new Jayco units over Internet auction site eBay, he said.
According to the letter delivered in May, dealers violating the policy the first time will get a warning letter from Jayco.
A second violation would result in a dealer losing “all existing and future advertising co-op funds for a period of one year following the date of the second violation.” Dealers committing a second violation also would be prohibited for going on Jayco’s annual dealer trip, which will be to Hawaii this model year. Additionally, hotlinks between the Jayco website and the violating dealer’s website would be removed.
Jayco instituted the policy because, “We simply cannot allow emerging phenomena such as the Internet to be used as a destructive force in our partnership,” Johnson said. “The primary issue, it seems to me, is that when it comes to national or international marketing and advertising, it is in your (dealers) best interest to let us carry the water.
“Our mission is to build brand awareness with active buyers and to direct them to your dealerships to purchase our products, and the fact is we have no intention of relinquishing that responsibility,” Johnson continued. “There is no doubt that the Internet has opened up a powerful new marketing force that can give a competitive edge of those who use it wisely.”
Jayco’s website, jayco.com, will be updated to include its 2004 product sometime before mid-September, and it will include several new features such as a “build your own Jayco” section and an e-news page inviting customers to be added to the company’s newsletter data base.
The reason for the upgrades to Jayco’s website is to provide more helpful information to potential buyers, which adds value to Jayco dealerships, Johnson said.