Conversion Van Marketing Associaiton logoThe Conversion Van Marketing Association (CVMA) has kicked off a two-pronged marketing program aimed at automotive dealers and consumers.

It may be its last for awhile.

The $500,000-plus marketing effort will end Jan. 1, as will the financing that paid for it through a Go RVing-type assessment added by General Motors Co. to the wholesale cost on vans converted by association members.

”General Motors contributed to the organization, and they pulled the plug on that,” said Gary Miller, an independent sales rep for Explorer Van Co., Warsaw, Ind., who is a consultant to the association. ”The conversion companies are going to keep the association going, but it won’t be funded by General Motors.”

The seven-member CMVA was formed after conversion van manufacturers exited the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in October 2007. GM financed much of the association’s efforts through the assessment that was used to market vans to Chevy and GMC dealers.

”We are just trying to get the word out that the van conversion business is alive and well, and it is,” said Miller, who designed the ad campaign.

The new marketing campaign includes ads in trade magazines and consumer publications such as Parenting and Triple A’s Home & Away, along with placements on social media websites such as Twitter and FaceBook and promotions in assorted blogs.

”On the consumer end of it, we went after our largest demographic — the family with $100,000 per year or more income with three kinds or more,” Miller said. ”Our second demographic is senior travelers.”

A recent trade ad in Automotive News offered Chevrolet and GMC dealers a ”free franchise” while promising a gross profit of $4,000 per vehicle. ”Conversion vans are the best-kept secret in the automotive industry today,” the ad declared.

”The price you pay is not published on the web,” the ad continued. ”This means selling vehicles like the good old days.”

The CMVA website (www.personalizedvehicles.com) directs consumers to CMVA members. They include Explorer Van, Warsaw, Ind.; Customizers Conversions, Hagerstown, Md.; Majestic Van, Saginaw, Mich., Accubuilt, Elkhart, Ind.; Rocky Ridge Custom Vans, Franklin Springs, Ga.; American Luxury Coach Division of Jebaily Enterprises, Florence, S.C.; Southern Coach, Kernersville, N.C.; and Waldoch Crafts Inc., Forest Lake, Minn.