Texas RV industry leaders are hoping to bolster lines of communication with manufacturers and representatives following the Texas RV Association’s annual meeting in San Antonio last week.
“What we’ve decided is that we want to invite the manufacturers and the people at the senior management level to join the discussion, and take our input to make some effective changes,” TRVA Executive Director Phil Elam said.
During the three-day event, which featured a mix of educational seminars, meetings and social activities for dealers and campgrounds, a meeting with manufacturer representatives and dealers from across the state gave way to a discussion on how the Association could get manufacturers more involved in discussions with dealers.
Elam said that the Association invited some manufacturer reps to join some of the dealer meetings this year, and following the discussion, the group decided it wanted to open up future lines of communication with manufacturers to work more closely with out-of-state manufacturers on issues specific to Texas dealers.
“We need to get those manufacturers involved in our association,” Elam said. “If you get everybody in the room, and they start having a conversation, you can take things to a different level, but if it’s all being done by phone or through the press, that doesn’t actually accomplish what we need.”
Among the issues discussed this year were manufacturer inspections of units before delivery and specific franchise law application in Texas. Elam noted that the RV industry and dealers in Texas have historically worked well together to solve issues between dealers and manufacturers, citing low numbers of consumer complaints to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
The issue however, is that very few manufacturers have participated in the Association’s annual meetings in recent years, he said.
“We need to get all the faces in the same room and let them have this conversation,” Elam said. “We’re headed in that direction, and we’re not sure if it will be at the next convention, or six months from now, or some time between now and then.”
Also at the meeting, the Association honored several members for contributions to the industry, communities and the Association.
Doug O’Banion, of Motorhome Specialist, was applauded for his contributions to charity organizations. Over the past year, the dealership donated about $400,000 to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes fund, which helps support family members of military veterans.
O’Banion’s dealership also donated about $550,000 to Cook Children’s Hospital throughout the year.
The Association honored Allen Libbe, of CC RV (Corpus Christi), who recently helped revive the dormant Corpus Christi chapter of the TRVA, and Scott Lougheed, owner of Crestview RV, for his contributions to the Association.
“They don’t have to do that kind of stuff, and there are many other things they do to support us.” Elam said. “So for all those things, we took the time to salute them.”