Affinity Group Inc.’s. rvSearch.com subsidiary planned to stage a two-day RV auction in May in Indianapolis that will be open to both retail and wholesale customers.
“It will be oriented toward both dealers and the general public,” said Ed Schram of Westlake Village, Calif., project manager for AGI, the parent company of TL Enterprises Inc., publisher of RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.com. “The wholesale side of it — the dealer side — is not an entirely new venture. Dealers are used to going to auctions to buy or get rid of units. For the mom-and-pop RVer, this will probably be the first auction that they have heard of.”
The auction, May 22-23, will be conducted by ABC Indianapolis LLC, which typically oversees wholesale and retail automotive auctions. RV and Automotive Consulting Inc., Franklin, Tenn., is coordinating registration of both buyers and sellers.
Schram said some 500 units are expected to be offered for sale and 2,000 to 3,000 bidders are expected. The registration fee for owners looking to sell their units is $200 and $25 for buyers.
Some 100 units are expected to be available for bidding via the Internet using Ring Master software supplied by ABC Indianapolis.
“This is a new concept,” said Barry Smith, president of RV and Automotive Consulting, and a country-music singer who was an independent automobile dealer for 20 years. “We are breaking new ground. We think auctions are the most powerful marketing tool for dealers or individuals who want to sell their coaches.”
Auctions are a growing trend in the RV industry.
Kruse International, Auburn, Ind., best known for auctioning antique, classic and exotic cars such as Duesenbergs and Ferraris, held a retail RV auction in October. And in November, the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Campground Association (PRVCA) sponsored a wholesale RV auction for dealers in Mannheim, Pa.
Smith, who, along with his wife, Sherry, performs with country singer George Jones, and is featured at concerts for grand openings of Camping World stores, said it is likely dealers will represent the majority of purchasers while retail customers will be more reserved in their bidding.
“What we probably will find is that dealers will be ready to buy — they will know what they want, and they may already have buyers for specific coaches,” Smith said. “Individuals are more likely to look at one or two coaches because they have a special need or a specific coach in mind.”
If the Indianapolis auction is successful, Schram said, there is potential for rvSearch.com to sponsor five or six per year.
Camping World Performance Centers is offering a $199 vehicle inspection and 60-day service contract at Camping World facilities in Nashville, Tenn., Bowling Green, Ky, Brunswick, Ohio, and Bolingbrook and Belleville, Ill.
Companies are lining up to offer financing, insurance and roadside assistance.
Camping World also is an AGI subsidiary.