Tiffin Motor Homes Inc. took first place in 17 of 24 categories to top the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI).

The family-owned Red Bay, Ala., company joined six other RV manufacturers in receiving the 2005 RVDA Quality Circle Awards, presented Monday night (Nov. 28) at a special reception hosted by RVDA at the Executive West Hotel on the eve of the 43rd Annual National RV Trade Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Ky.

Aside from taking overall professionalism, Tiffin appears to have won favor over the years for its personalized, productive approach to consumer care.

“I believe in giving the dealer the support that the dealer needs out there,” said Bob Tiffin, president of the high-end Class A motorhome manufacturer. “We try to get parts out fast when they need them, and we listen to what they ask us to do. If they are having an issue with a customer, we will interface with that customer to help the two of them work things out.

“We set certain criteria and we stick to them. When we get a warranty claim in, we process it. It doesn’t lay around. Typically, if we receive a claim on Monday, we’ll pay it on Thursday. And if we receive a parts order before 3 p.m., we ship it that day if we have it. Period.”

Tiffin, which employs about 1,000 people, has received the award seven out of 10 years that RVDA has presented it to those companies achieving average ratings of 80% or higher in an annual survey of RVDA members in categories that include sales, product, management and service/warranty/support.

The 2005 DSI included 1,836 individual evaluations by 535 dealers.

RVDA members also singled out Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa, to receive the Quality Circle Award for the 10th consecutive year. Joining Winnebago and Tiffin in receiving the Quality Circle Award for being among the top tier of manufacturers in terms of quality products and services were:

  • K-Z RV, Shipshewana, Ind.
  • Lance Camper Mfg. Corp., Lancaster, Calif.
  • Newmar Corp., Nappanee, Ind.
  • NuWa Industries Inc., Chanute, Kan.
  • Sunline Coach Co., Denver, Pa.

    TrailManor Inc., Lake City, Tenn., received special recognition, but not enough TrailManor dealers participated for the company to receive the Quality Circle Award.

    For an RV builder to qualify, a minimum of 15 of a specific manufacturer’s dealers are required to participate.

    “(Bob Tiffin) talks to his dealers and he talks to his customers,” said RVDA President Mike Molino. “Over the years I’ve seen that manufacturers who have good, open communications with their dealers do better in the DSI. The manufacturers who win the Quality Circle Award are companies that respond to their dealers’ issues.”

    Winnebago, which topped four categories, is the only company to receive the award each year that it has been presented. “We consider the DSI survey to be a critical measurement tool for the quality of our products, our sales and service programs and our manufacturing processes,” said Winnebago Chairman and CEO Bruce Hertzke. “The survey provides us with an important annual benchmark. We are particularly proud to be the only manufacturer to receive this award each year for the past decade.”

    Joe Bucara, president and COO of Sunline Coach, said the towable manufacturer’s attention to warranty issues and measuring consumer concerns were among the reasons Sunline received the Quality Circle Award for the fourth year out of the last five.

    “We respond to all claims and we handle them diligently and in a timely fashion,” Bucara said. “And we watch Internet chat rooms all the time. We get a lot of input from customers with regard to performance, and we survey a portion of our customers, not only on how we are doing and about our products, but what they are looking for from us.”

    Newmar President Dick Parks said the family-owned company received the award, in part, because it treats all dealers the same. “We always play the game pretty fairly,” Parks said. “Dealers know that they can trust us, and when we sell product, we sell it for the same price to everyone.”