Recently, Mike Molino, RVDA President, wrotean editorial in the September/October issue ofRV Business. This magazine is primarily an insideindustry trade magazine that informs those thatsupply, manufacture and sell RVs of currentaffairs. I read with astonishment the candor inwhich Mr. Molino delivered the currentphilosophy of the Recreational Vehicle DealerAssociation.
It appears the association is concerned with sales that occuroutside a dealership’s given territory and with servicecenters that work on RVs that don’t sell that product.Interestingly, if the association had their way, customerswould pay more for their RVs because you would only beable to buy your RV from a local dealer. Consequently, theywould pay more to have their unit serviced because thecustomer could only get their unit serviced by a stockingdealer that would charge more per hour for repairs in orderto cover the large overhead associated with stocking largeinventory. By restricting the options a customer has can onlyincrease the cost of both the unit and servicing the unitafter the sale.
At Nexus, we sell Class C and Class B+ motor homes directly to the retailcustomers, and we have set up a network of servicing dealershipsthroughout the country that is more extensive than any other dealershipin the industry. The fact is RVers travel throughout North America andrelying on the local selling dealership to handle the service needs isnearly impossible. Many times the RVer is thousands of miles away fromthe selling dealer and must rely on mobile service centers and “nonrolling stock service providers” to get them on the road. The currentManufacturer-Dealership business model has failed horribly withsupplying customers with the service support they need. Removing allthe politics and restrictions to making customers happy is thefoundation that Nexus RV is working toward.
As for the selling of RVs directly to the retail customer, without the dealer network, will savecustomers money. The buying experience when buying from a factory direct cannot bematched by a dealership. The overwhelming advantages are easy to see. First, retailcustomers are looking for as much information on how their unit is built as possible. In fact,many retail customers want to understand each and every process and component thatgoes into the building of the unit. As a factory direct company, we know everything there isto know about our product and the reason behind each design. When visiting a dealership,the customer can only look at finished product and the dealership personnel have littleinformation on each model because they represent many different companies and theyhave too much to remember. This lack of knowledge can cause many other problems downthe road. Secondly, when buying factory direct, the retail customer has the ability to “menucustomize” their unit. Picking fabrics, outlet locations, paint colors and important optionsmakes the retail customer feel like they had some input on their unit. Contrarily, buyingfrom a dealership, the retail customer is pushed hard into buying the “green one” on theirlot because 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 price is arecipe for a dissatisfied customer. Buying factory direct, the retail customers gets to buy aunit with little miles on the odometer and that has been freshly built. The unit is truly new.
Finally, one of the most compelling reasons to buy factory direct isthe value customers get when eliminating the “middle man.” AtNexus, we have measured the savings we have given our customers.After a year in business, we have saved our customers an average of$7,100 dollars. Imagine, a better buying experience because of moreinformation, better service because of a national service network, abetter unit because it is newer and it is built to the customers specsand at a lower price. Do not let anyone tell you different, if you canget all those benefits to buying from a factory direct, you should doit!