The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) is suggesting that its members be concerned about the possibility of RV manufacturers buying RV dealerships.

In a memo recently faxed to its members, the RVDA said laws were passed in seven states so far this year allowing RV manufacturers to own RV dealerships.

The states are Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

Now, a total of 20 states allow RV manufacturers to own RV dealerships.

Similar legislation was pending in two other states, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

Dealers should be concerned because “an RV manufacturer can own and operate an RV dealership and compete with you,” according to the RVDA memo.

Meanwhile, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President David Humphreys characterized the RVDA message as “unnecessarily aggressive” and in line with what he suggested is an RVDA board policy to foster mistrust between dealers and manufacturers.

“It seems to be a blatant effort to stir up mistrust and make themselves look like the saviors of the world,” Humphreys said. “I don’t think that’s in step with the thinking of most dealers.”

RVDA represents about a third of the nation’s RV retailers.

Although no RV manufacturer has announced plans to buy dealerships, RVDA President Mike Molino said dealers should be protected from manufacturers who are “forced” into ownership by circumstances.

Molino cited Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s ownership of dealerships in the manufactured housing industry as a situation the RV industry should avoid. “Fleetwood tells me they were forced into owning dealerships because their competitors bought dealerships and they found they had to sell their product through competitors,” Molino said.

Molino said ownership restrictions also should prevent manufacturers from competing with dealers for direct retail sales over the Internet.