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Wow trumps woe at RV show in Pomona, Calif.

Source: The Press-Enterprise
Publish Date: Monday, October 13, 2008
Summary: Manufacturers and dealers said that now is the time to show off the new goodies and that there are still sales to be had during the event, which runs through Oct. 19 at the Fairplex.

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Rodd Cayton

Oct. 11, 2008 (McClatchy-Tribune Regional News delivered by Newstex) -- Optimism was in the air Friday at the California RV Show in Pomona, never mind the stock market's swift plunge.

Manufacturers and dealers said that now is the time to show off the new goodies and that there are still sales to be had during the event, which runs through Oct. 19 at the Fairplex.

Although the economy is damaged by falling stocks and a number retirement accounts have slimmed down over the past few weeks, people are still buying, said Ernie Ruiz of Vacation Station, which has locations in Colton and Corona.

He said price cuts by several vendors are helping move sales along. Ruiz said Vacation Station has discounted at the Pomona show before but not to the extent it's doing this year.

"We don't want to make flower pots out of these," he said.

Gary Cosgrove, who owns Garrett Custom Trailers in Simi Valley, said the economy has him worried a little bit but that the Pomona show offers an opportunity to network with manufacturers and dealers who can lead him to more sales.

It is also an easy way to see what's new on the market.

Sales coordinator Joe DeRosa of Forest River Inc.'s Rialto division said the show marked the debut of the latest addition to its Shockwave line of toy haulers.

He said the company developed a new sliding mechanism that allows the owner to divide the living and garage space as needed.

Also, he said, the Shockwave F40SBSP has a loft bed between the spaces that can be reached from either end.

Country Coach showed off new things to do with sliding panels; the company's centerpiece was a new Veranda 400 motor home, which features a foldout patio area, complete with LCD television.

Regional sales manager Louie Courtemanche said the raised patio will work well for campsites in sandy, grassy or ant-infested areas. He said the Veranda, which recently came out, has been good for generating traffic to Country Coach's dealers, and helping to sell its other products.

Doug and Anne Beecroft were impressed by the $578,000 Veranda 400, which they'd previously seen in a magazine advertisement.

The Riverside couple said it was their second time attending the show; they wanted to get up to speed on what's new in the industry.

Stu Bowne of Pasadena said he comes to the show for entertainment. Bowne, who's owned recreational vehicles for 30 years, said he was hoping to see creativity and inventiveness. He said he was impressed by the ability of manufacturers to put lots of luxury amenities into a van-based Class B motor home.

"I think the Class Bs are going to have to fatten up a little," Bowne said. "They're trying to make them nicer and keep them at the same size."

He said that while manufacturers are listening to consumers' requests for better fuel economy and making lighter, less thirsty rigs, they should be playing up the contrast between driving and parking an RV and the cost of lodging and transportation for a similar vacation without an RV.

"It's $50 a day," he said. "You can't do that with any car; not even a hybrid."

IF YOU GO: 56th annual California RV Show.

--When: Through Oct. 19.

--Where: Pomona Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave.

--Admission: $6 for adults, $5 for seniors ($1 Monday through Wednesday); active-duty military and children accompanied by adults are free. All tickets sold at the gate for the day of admittance.

--Parking: $9 for cars and $12 for RVs.

--Show Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

--Information: 951-274-9215, www.CARVShow.com

Newstex ID: KRTB-0174-28699162

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