As many as 50% of the units to be displayed at the 56th California RV Show Oct. 10-19 at the Fairplex in Pomona can be from the 2008 model year.
The increase from 20% to 50% was approved by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) board which met Sept. 13 in Charleston, S.C.
“By allowing 2008 models at the Pomona show, RVIA is addressing the challenging times the RV industry currently faces,” said RVIA President Richard Coon.
Earlier, RVIA’s executive committee had established a 20% rule, but some felt that wasn’t sufficient to move 2008 inventory in a soft market. The traditional cutoff is the model year that follows the show, which in this case would be 2009 or beyond.
“It’s for this year only,” said Mary “Mike” Hutya, RVIA vice president of meetings and shows. “Depending on what the marketplace is like next year, we will review the policy.
“The (50%) suggestion came from one of our members after talking to their dealers. The board thought it was a good thing to do.”
In relative terms, the California RV market has been affected more severely than other parts of the country during the nation’s current national economic malaise. Last year, about 37,000 people attended the California Show, the largest West Coast retail show.
Hutya noted that individual manufacturers will have the final say on whether dealers can show 2008 units in Pomona. “It’s the manufacturer’s option to say yes they can or no they can’t,” she said.
Though late September, manufacturers had booked 811,000 square feet of space in Pomona compared to 1.2 million square feet in 2007, Hutya reported.
Earlier in September, the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey, Pa., allowed 20% of units showcased there to be from the 2008 model year, although not all manufacturers took advantage.
“More manufacturers did not bring 2008s than did bring them,” said Heather Scheerer, marketing and education director for the sponsoring Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association.
Meanwhile, Hutya said that about 13,000 square feet of display space was still available for the 46th Annual National RV Trade Show Dec. 2-4 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, Ky.
Usually, there’s a waiting list for space in Louisville. “The waiting list has disappeared,” Hutya said. “Some manufactuers that we had allocated space to have since dropped out, as you might imagine,” she said.
Four major towable and motorized manufacturers have closed their doors since the last Louisville Show.