Recently, Mike Molino, RVDAPresident, wrote an editorial in theSeptember/October issue of RV Business.This magazine is primarily an inside industrytrade magazine that informs those thatsupply, manufacture and sell RVs of currentaffairs. I read with astonishment the candorin which Mr. Molino delivered the currentphilosophy of the Recreational Vehicle DealerAssociation.
It appears the association is concerned with sales thatoccur outside a dealership’s given territory and withservice centers that work on RVs that don’t sell thatproduct. Interestingly, if the association had their way,customers would pay more for their RVs because youwould only be able to buy your RV from a local dealer.Consequently, they would pay more to have their unitserviced because the customer could only get their unitserviced by a stocking dealer that would charge more perhour for repairs in order to cover the large overheadassociated with stocking large inventory. By restrictingthe options a customer has can only increase the cost ofboth the unit and servicing the unit after the sale.
At Nexus, we sell Class C and Class B+ motor homes directly to theretail customers, and we have set up a network of servicingdealerships throughout the country that is more extensive than anyother dealership in the industry. The fact is RVers travel throughoutNorth America and relying on the local selling dealership to handlethe service needs is nearly impossible. Many times the RVer isthousands of miles away from the selling dealer and must rely onmobile service centers and “non rolling stock service providers” toget them on the road. The current Manufacturer-Dealershipbusiness model has failed horribly with supplying customers withthe service support they need. Removing all the politics andrestrictions to making customers happy is the foundation thatNexus RV is working toward.
As for the selling of RVs directly to the retail customer, without the dealer network, willsave customers money. The buying experience when buying from a factory directcannot be matched by a dealership. The overwhelming advantages are easy to see. First,retail customers are looking for as much information on how their unit is built aspossible. In fact, many retail customers want to understand each and every process andcomponent that goes into the building of the unit. As a factory direct company, weknow everything there is to know about our product and the reason behind eachdesign. When visiting a dealership, the customer can only look at finished product andthe dealership personnel have little information on each model because they representmany different companies and they have too much to remember. This lack ofknowledge can cause many other problems down the road. Secondly, when buyingfactory direct, the retail customer has the ability to “menu customize” their unit.Picking fabrics, outlet locations, paint colors and important options makes the retailcustomer feel like they had some input on their unit. Contrarily, buying from adealership, the retail customer is pushed hard into buying the “green one” on their lotbecause the dealership is trying to move the inventory as it has been on the lot for up toa year or more. Enticing customers to buy aged units with “rot lot” by lowering the priceis a recipe for a dissatisfied customer. Buying factory direct, the retail customers gets tobuy a unit with little miles on the odometer and that has been freshly built. The unit istruly new.
Finally, one of the most compelling reasons to buy factory directis the value customers get when eliminating the “middle man.”At Nexus, we have measured the savings we have given ourcustomers. After a year in business, we have saved our customersan average of $7,100 dollars. Imagine, a better buying experiencebecause of more information, better service because of anational service network, a better unit because it is newer and itis built to the customers specs and at a lower price. Do not letanyone tell you different, if you can get all those benefits tobuying from a factory direct, you should do it!