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Winnebago Industries Inc. is keeping an open mind towards the idea of dealer franchising but it has no plans to open “new mega-regional service centers,” according to Jim Jaskoviak, vice president of sales and marketing.
Jaskoviak expressed the company’s views during its annual Dealer Days gathering in Las Vegas last week. He appeared on video tape because he had throat surgery shortly before the meeting began on July 28.
On the subject of franchise agreements that would more closely bind Winnebago with its dealers, Jaskoviak said, “We recognize your need to build equity in your business and to be able to protect that equity.
“We haven’t decided yet if franchising is the best solution to that challenge, but we certainly haven’t ruled it out,” Jaskoviak said to the gathering, which included representatives of 200 Winnebago Industries dealerships and Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Mike Molino.
On the subject of opening big regional service centers in parts of the country where large numbers of RV enthusiasts gather, Jaskoviak said Winnebago Industries definitely has ruled that out.
“Winnebago Industries seems to be the only major RV manufacturer this year who hasn’t announced a plan to open some new mega-regional service center,” he said. “Well, I can announce that we still have no plans to do so and will not in the future and that’s the way we’ll keep it.
“Excuse me, but when has it become the manufacturer’s prerogative to circumvent you (dealers) and your service facility investment?” Jaskoviak asked. “You’ve invested in that facility and your people and your training, so you can maintain your customer’s coach and maintain your customer relationship too.
“We’re not about to step into the middle of that relationship and set-up shop across the street from you,” Jaskoviak continued. “No thanks, we’ll continue to invest in people and programs that can help you (dealers) get the job done and build equity in your operation and your brand.”