While The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) recent National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., didn’t set any attendance records, Scott Degnan, Winnebago Industries Inc. vice president of sales and product management, says the Forest City, Iowa, manufacturer was pleased with the show’s traffic and outcome.
”We had a very good show,” Degnan said. ”I’ve seen a lot of good ones and bad ones, but this one seemed pretty positive according to the dealers I talked to. It was a nice steady flow of traffic.
”Louisville is still the staple of the industry and a premier event. It is recognized internationally and it’s a better setup (to show product). We are going to continue to support the industry show, the large consumer shows and our dealer meeting.”
RVIA reported that 7,525 people attended this year’s gathering earlier this month, a drop of 3% compared to last year. The dealer personnel count of 2,454 represented a decline of 4%.
Nonetheless, interest among dealers was across the RV spectrum reported Degnan, whose company showcased its new 2015 Brave/Tribute Class A as well as the all-new Spyder toy hauler and Destination fifth-wheel.
”Interest didn’t seem to be in one particular segment,” he said.
While not reporting specific figures because publicly owned Winnebago is in a ”blackout period” due to release of its fourth-quarter financial report on Thursday (Dec. 18), Degnan noted that Winnebago isn’t necessarily concerned about direct sales at the Louisville Show.
”We don’t target this as a big order-writing event, although we did write a lot more orders this year than we did last year,” Degnan told RVBUSINESS.com. ”Our priority is to meet with our dealers and show them new product, new floorplans, new features and give them a chance to walk through our product in a much deeper way with our product managers.”
He said that Winnebago Class B Touring Coaches — consisting of the diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based Era and the gas Travato, built on the Chrysler Ram ProMaster chassis — were set up in a display of their own. ”That got a lot of attention,” Degnan said. ”Dealers would spend 30 minutes to an hour in that display and then move onto the rest of the product.”
Winnebago occupies 26% of the Class B market, which is up 22% overall year-to-date, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Winnebago, which did not show motorized product in September at the Elkhart (Ind.) RV Open House, will continue to focus its attention on its Dealers Days, held last May in Las Vegas, along with the Louisville Show.
”I don’t envision us going to Elkhart with motorhomes anytime soon,” Degnan said. ”Our ‘open house’ is our Las Vegas Dealers Days. That’s the event for us. Louisville is half a year later and it’s perfect timing to introduce more new floorplans and features.”