Because the wholesale market for RVs is soft and many manufacturers feel financially squeezed, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) decided not to raise the fees for exhibiting at the trade and consumer shows it sponsors.

The RVIA sponsored shows are in Pomona, Calif., Oct. 12-21, and Louisville Nov. 27-29. The Pomona show is primarily a consumer show while the Louisville gathering is a trade show exclusively for business-to-business transactions.

Fees from companies exhibiting at its shows are the RVIA’s largest source of revenue, and the association is forecasting an operating deficit of $180,000 for its fiscal year 2001, which will end on Sept. 30, said Dave Humphreys the RVIA president.

The RVIA’s vice presidents have been asked to cut expenses so the association could avoid dipping into its cash reserves to offset a deficit, Humphreys said.

The RVIA could end up in the red for the year because its revenues are down, particularly from the conversion vehicle segment. Revenue from the conversion vehicle segment is anticipated to be $450,000 this fiscal year, compared with $800,000 last year, Humphreys said.

“We’re losing income from the van converters faster than we expected,” Humphreys said. “We don’t want to dump the van converters (from the RVIA) because they’re having a hard time. But if they want to form their own (industry) group or join another association, we’ll help them.”

Lower production levels by motorhome and towable RV manufacturers also are expected to have a negative impact on RVIA revenues this year.

During fiscal year 2000, which ended last Sept. 30, the sale of RVIA certification seals, which are placed on each new unit built by RVIA members, brought in $1.1 million in revenue to the association, making it the fourth-largest source of income.

However, the RVIA is far from broke. Its revenues exceeded its expenses by $724,000 during its fiscal year 2000. Additionally, its cash reserves have been invested over the years and during fiscal year 2000, the return on investment was $1.5 million, making investment income the third-largest revenue source, behind the RVIA’s shows and membership dues.

The RVIA’s income from its shows totaled $5.7 million during the 12 months ended last Sept. 30.