The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) will require its 96 member manufacturers to affix new color-coded certification seals to RVs produced after Sept. 15.
The new gold, silver and white seals will distinguish, respectively, between motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth-wheels and folding camping trailers and truck campers,
“All this is to make sure the right seals get on the right units,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president of public relations and advertising. “It would be embarrassing for everyone if a camping seal ended up on a motorhome.
“The new seal is very, very similar to the current seal, except that it is color-coded and the product type is printed along the bottom,” he added.
The RVIA seal, which indicates the manufacturer self-certifies compliance with more than 500 American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for RVs, now is the same for all RVs. But in June, the RVIA, with the concurrence of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), raised the seal fee to finance the third phase of the Go RVing market expansion campaign that will begin next year.
With the issuance of the new seals, rates will increase from an across-the-board $44 per unit to $55 for travel trailers and fifth-wheels and $66 for motorhomes. The cost for folding camping trailers and truck campers will remain $44.
Spending on Go RVing next year will increase from $12.6 million to $16 million under the direction of a new ad agency, The Richards Group, Dallas, Texas.
The Go RVing Coalition, which directs the campaign and recommended the fee increase, expects to spend $48 million from 2003 to 2005 to promote the RV lifestyle on television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.
LaBella said RVIA, which administers Go RVing, expects some problems with the changeover.
“There will be a lot of confusion,” LaBella acknowledged. “We realize that everything is not going to run smoothly. This is the first time we’ve gone through something like this. The last time we raised the price of the seal, it was the same for everybody.”
RVIA is taking steps to prevent manufacturers from stockpiling lower-cost seals before Sept. 15.
“We know when companies traditionally order their seals, and we know the number,” LaBella said. “If someone orders a large amount, we will call them to verify what they expect their production level to be.
“It wouldn’t be fair to anyone if somebody stockpiled seals.” LaBella said RVIA will buy back old seals that haven’t been used by the deadline. “They can’t use up the old ones. They have to buy new ones, and we will buy back the old ones,” he added.
Affixing an improper seal could lead to expulsion from the organization, according to LaBella. “The penalties would be the same as if they didn’t put a seal on the unit at all,” he noted.