Mike Molino, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), renewed the call for franchise legislation to establish a framework for the relationship between RV dealers and manufacturers.

Molino expressed his view on Friday (July 27) during the Carriage Inc. national dealer meeting in Indianapolis.

“The industry needs franchises, and the manufacturers are saying that now,” Molino said to the representatives of around 100 Carriage dealerships. “I don’t like legislation, but it’s the only way for dealers and manufacturers to have a level playing field.”

Molino did not say whether the RVDA would support federal or state franchise laws. Such legislation would cover matters including the territory to which a dealer is assigned and guidelines for a dealer transferring ownership of his business.

A franchise relationship would replace the less formal system of agreements that manufacturers sign with the individual dealers that inventory its products. Molino called dealer agreements “hookups” and said he believes they should be replaced by franchise agreements, which amount to “a committed, long-term relationship.”

Coachmen Industries Inc. Chairman Claire Skinner, perhaps, was the first executive of a manufacturing company to express support for franchise legislation. She stated her view during the RVDA’s Convention/Expo in 1999.

However, since then, the effort to write a model franchise law has bogged down over the question of whether to include mandatory binding arbitration.