By Chuck Woodbury
I emailed this Tuesday to James Ashurst, the Senior Vice President of Marketing Communications of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). RVIA represents 98 percent of the RV manufacturers in America, watching out for their interests. Mr. Ashurst responded on Friday. Read his comments here.
I have been writing a lot about both topics lately and will continue to do so. I am also thinking that the mainstream media needs to be alerted about both crowded campgrounds and poor quality of RVs. If I were a newspaper automotive editor or TV news producer I would jump at both stories. But as you know, the mainstream media is unaware of what’s going on because most of the important people there have never been in an RV. And the only news or PR they see coming from the RV industry is about record sales.
The fact that few RV manufacturing executives have traveled more than a weekend here and there in an RV is another reason they don’t know about crowding or the consequences of having a half million new RVs a year added to the already overcrowded scene.
I like what marketing guru Seth Goodin wrote a few days ago:
“Detroit car executives in the 1970s and 1980s consistently failed to respond to the threat from Japanese imports. They weren’t merely arrogant—they were blinded by proximity. Everyone in their neighborhood, everyone on their commute, everyone in their parking lot was driving an American car. How could there be a problem?”
And about the poor quality of RVs: Here’s is a paragraph from an email I received from a reader the other day who has delivered motorhomes for more than a decade.
“Some of these motorhomes I deliver today, I just think to myself that some nice person who has saved all his working years to buy an RV to fulfill his dreams is going to buy a nightmare. And the RV manufacturers could care less and the dealerships are not much better. More than once I have thought about selling RVs but I could not bring myself to deceiving the public just to make money for myself.”
He added: “We are told by the transport company not to tell the dealerships about any of the problems we find in our inspection of the unit before we leave Indiana. But I do just the opposite because I feel it only right for the dealership to know.”
I’d like to know what actions the RVIA is taking to help address the problem of poor quality workmanship and crowding in RV parks (not just encouraging the privatization of existing campgrounds in National Parks).
I would also like to see you devote one of your ads or commercials to show RVers overnighting in a crowded Wal-Mart parking lot, because that’s the new American “default” campground. Our survey of nearly 1,000 readers revealed that 40 percent spend at least one night a month in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Is that the lifestyle GoRVing is selling?
I would appreciate your comments.
Mr. Ashurst responded on Friday. Read his comments here.