Generally, however, no retail sector is performing strongly in Canada so far and RV sales reflect the challenging conditions out there.
More than ever, the consumer is also very payment conscious and is looking for financial peace of mind. Entry level product is more popular, with higher end, higher priced units struggling in certain markets. We have also noticed that in the pre-owned market, the towable shelves are empty, with a huge demand nation-wide for these price sensitive products. There has been a reduction of trade-ins coming back to the dealerships as consumers acquire these units in the private market. But with the shelves being bare, this will ultimately assist the new towable inventory.
The demand for service continues to grow. Every year as more and more units are retailed, we create additional opportunities for after-sale revenues. The key for many dealerships will be to ensure that they have the qualified and trained staff to assist in the aftermarket departments. With the constant shortage of skilled trade workers employed in the RV industry, we continue to encourage government to play a lead role in supporting RV service technician apprentice programs across the country and offer additional incentives to apprentices if they go for training outside their province.
Additionally, the RVDAs will keep investing in educational opportunities for our members. Endeavours such as the Trouble Shooter Clinics and our participation in Skills Canada Competitions are a few ways that we are working towards recruiting and building qualified RV dealership staff.
Strong business management skills are also critically important in today's economy. We will have some exceptional educational opportunities for many managerial levels at the 2016 RV Dealers Convention/Expo in Las Vegas. The Dealer/GM track workshops are focused on ways to become a better leader, increase profitability, and manage your business and people more effectively. I would like to remind you that June 30th is the early-bird deadline for dealers to register for the Convention/Expo, with the added savings for dealers of paying in Canadian dollars! Prices will go up after that time.You can visit www.rvda.org/convention to register for the Convention and for regular updates.
As a community, we have responsibilities to assist those that have been affected by natural disasters. The RVDA of Canada is honoured to be able to support those that have been impacted by the Wildfires in Alberta by making a $5000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross to aid in relief and support efforts. Partners such as the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA), the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CRVC) and the Parks and Campground Owner’s Association of Alberta, RVDAs in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, as well as, numerous dealers have all donated to the Canadian Red Cross for the relief efforts. I am very proud of the compassion put forth by the industry.
Our next national board meeting will be held in Elkhart, IN, at the RVMH Hall of Fame. We will also be celebrating our 30th anniversary and will be unveiling our leadership bricks in recognition of past chairpersons who have contributed to our Association. All of the RVDA of Canada’s prior chairpersons will be honored, with many of them attending this event. We will have further details in our next newsletter.
I wish you all a wonderful summer!
Sam Parks, Chairman of the Board
RVDA of Canada