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The owner of Trailside RV Center, a dealership in the Kansas City, Mo., area, is hoping to form a “buying group” of small-to-midsize dealers to obtain better prices from vendors through volume buying power.
Trailside owner Steve Francis did not return phone calls, but his dealership’s website, www.buyanrv.com, described the buying group he hopes to form.
Francis calls the organization Route 66, “a nationwide association of major independent RV dealerships,” all family owned and operated.
“Route 66 dealers join together and act as a buying group where member dealers buy in bulk at much lower prices than a normal dealership. Route 66 dealers pass this savings on to you, our customers, saving you money,” the Trailside RV website states.
There already is one dealership buying group in the RV industry, REDEX, also known as the Recreational Dealers Exchange Co. REDEX includes 48 dealerships operating from 87 locations and accounting for around $1.6 billion in annual sales, or about 15% of all U.S. retail RV sales.
REDEX does have “preferred” status relationships with certain retail and wholesale lenders and aftermarket products distributors. It is seeking a private-label relationship with an RV manufacturer, but apparently nothing has materialized along those lines so far.
The only private-label arrangement between an RV dealer and manufacturer appears to be the recently announced agreement involving Dan Gamel’s RV Centers, with locations in Central and Northern California and Yuma, Ariz., with highline fifth-wheels manufacturer Automate RV Products Inc. of Los Banos, Calif.
It is not known whether Francis’ goal is for Route 66 to bargain for better wholesale prices from RV manufacturers or other categories of vendors. There is a published report that his first goal is a private-label extended warranty program with a private insurance plan and other finance and insurance products.
Meanwhile, Francis’ dealership’s website states that he believes price is important to consumers.
“Many of our manufacturers require us to list only the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) on the Internet,” according to www.buyanrv.com. “This does not mean that we can’t sell our RVs at a lower price than listed – we just can’t list the price on the Internet. Just give us a call or a click and we will find you just the right coach for the lowest possible price.”