Millennials Make Mark on Virginia Dealership

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More and more RV dealerships are benefitting from increased buying from all demographics since the recession.

“Definitely, business is up,” said Dennis Dalheim, general manager of Dixie RV Superstore told the Daily Press. “The RV industry has always been a leading indicator in the economy. It truly tells people are spending money.”

RV manufacturers have had to improve amenities and technology, like flat-screen TVs, sound systems, decor, flooring and countertop materials and even electric fireplaces, said Dodd RV President Jamie Dodd. Inventory also had to be right-sized for more affordable prices. On the Virginia Peninsula, less expensive travel trailers, or towables, are more popular than motorhomes, both dealers said.

While lower price points mean less revenue, Dodd RV in Yorktown, Va., is back to pre-recession levels in the number of RVs sold, Dodd said. Sales of used RVs remained solid through the recession, he said.

So far this year, the number of RVs sold at Dodd RV, which also has a location in Portsmouth, is up about 13 percent compared to the same time last year, Dodd said. He said sales were up last year, too.

Dixie RV reported a roughly 20 percent increase in the number of motor homes sold and a 60 percent increase in towables this year compared to last year, Dalheim said. Both businesses stock their lots with more than 200 vehicles and campers. Both dealers said sales are about 80 percent new and 20 percent used.

The majority of Dixie RV’s business coming from younger couples, Dalheim said. The difference with the millennial generation is they do their research online before coming to the dealer, know what they want and are looking for a deal on the price, Dalheim said.

Dalheim reported a 50 percent increase in Dixie’s rental business this year, with a large chunk of that business coming from millennials using them to attend music festivals. Dixie rents six travel trailers and six motorhomes ranging in price from $400 to $1,400 a week.

“You have so many people who want to try it before they buy,” Dalheim said.

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