The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Strategic Planning Committee met in Tampa, Fla., on January 12 -13 in conjunction with the Tampa RV Supershow to review and update the association’s long-term goals and objectives that will guide activities in 2009 and beyond.
According to RVIA, the new plan will be presented to the board for approval at its meeting scheduled for March 26-27 in Chicago.
Gregg Fore, chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, said the session was challenging but productive. “Our objective was to re-tool our plan in light of current economic conditions to reflect the changing marketplace,” said Fore, president of Dicor Corp. “We believe the new plan maintains its fundamental long-term goals while redefining our short-term priorities.”
The Strategic Planning Committee used a survey of senior management at RVIA member companies conducted prior to the meeting to help guide their deliberations. The members cited several critical issues where RVIA has been and can continue to be effective, including: increasing awareness of the RV lifestyle; reporting market information and trends; bringing new customers into the RV market; educating RV service technicians; and impacting safety and environmental legislation and regulation.
The new strategic plan also stresses the near-term importance of ensuring sufficient wholesale and retail financing sources for the RV market.
“The availability of financing for both dealerships and consumers was a key topic of discussion, and the association is already working hard to address this issue,” said Fore.
In recent weeks, RVIA staff, working with government affairs consultants, member companies and RV dealers, has been urging the Treasury Department and Congress to include RV consumer and dealer floorplan loans under the Term Asset Loan Facility (TALF) program, which was originally developed to improve the availability of car loans, student loans and credit card loans. In addition, RVIA is also working on outreach programs to broaden and strengthen the ties between the RV industry and the financial services community and on exploring the potential of non-traditional financing options.
In addition to Fore, Strategic Planning Committee members taking part in the meeting included: Mel Adams, Airxcel Inc.; Walt Bennett, Thor Industries Inc.; Paul Eskritt, Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.; Doug Gaeddert, Forest River Inc.; Norm Jacobson, Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp.; Bob Olson, Winnebago Industries Inc.; Carl Pfalzgraf, Atwood Mobile Products LLC; Jim Sheldon, Monaco Coach Corp.; Don Walter, Jayco Inc.; and Richard Coon, president of RVIA. RVIA’s six staff vice presidents also participated.
RVIA’s National Show Committee also met in Tampa on Jan. 11 to begin 2009 planning for the California RV Show and the National RV Trade Show.
Both groups discussed the continuing need to “infuse new energy and ideas” into both shows so that the industry continues to support the events as strongly as it has in the past.
RVIA staff, the National Show Committee and the board will develop and consider ideas over the coming months to meet this objective.