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Twenty-four of the nation’s leading conversion-van manufacturers announced the launch of the Conversion Van Marketing Association (CVMA), an industry group formed to raise consumer awareness and increase sales of Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana conversion vans.
According to a press release, the CVMA comprises manufacturers with special pool agreements to purchase vans from General Motors, upfit them with premium paint, interiors and audio-visual equipment, and sell them to GM dealers, which sells them to consumers.
“Today’s GM conversion van is one of the best-kept secrets in the automotive industry, and it’s time we told consumers about these great products,” said CVMA President Rod McSweeney, chairman-owner of Southern Comfort Conversions, Inc., Trussville, Ala.
“The CVMA is the first group of its kind in the conversion vehicle category, and the national marketing effort we are launching will provide tremendous growth opportunities for GM conversion-van upfitters, manufacturers and dealers.
“Our goal is to increase GM conversion-van sales by 25 percent in the next two years.”
The move comes in response to a declining market that has plagued the conversion-van industry for a number of years. In the latest report from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), van-conversion shipments were down nearly 40% in June and more than 25% for the year over 2003.
The CVMA is developing an integrated marketing campaign with its new advertising partner, Mullen of Wenham, Mass., to increase consumer awareness and drive sales of the customized vehicles. The national advertising campaign will feature the tagline: “Today’s Conversion Van: Life’s Better in Here.”
“We’re committed to the category, and to working with CVMA to engage GM dealers and increase consumer consideration of GM conversion vans,” said Ross Hendrix, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations’ marketing director for commercial vans. “We believe this is the right time to focus on the conversion-van business, and that the CVMA has the right team in place to increase sales.”