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Resolute Optimism on Display at National RV Trade Show

RVIA’s 49th National RV Trade Show, held Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY, featured 2012 product lines and a determined sense of optimism among attendees that the RV industry continues to have a promising future despite economic uncertainty.

“I thought there was positive energy at the show and an upbeat attitude among exhibitors and attendees that the RV industry still has very bright prospects for the future,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “There is also a strong understanding and appreciation among industry members that being able to maintain stable, moderate shipment and sales levels in these tough current market conditions is an indication of the enduring appeal of RVing with consumers.”

Sixty-seven manufacturers and 230 suppliers displayed their newest and most innovative products across more than 730,000 square feet of exhibit space. Reflecting the sluggish economic environment, total attendance was 8,159, down 6.2% from 8,696 attendees in 2010. Total buying attendance, representing individual attendees in the RV dealer, accessory store, campground owner, and warehouse distributor categories, was off by 8.3%, declining to 3,269 from 3,563 last year.

Despite the lower attendance figures, there were reports of steady traffic and strong sales activity from exhibiting companies.

“We had a great show. Right now, we're looking at a considerable increase over last year. Not only did we see an increase in sales, we had a great opportunity to talk with people. The decision-makers were at the show,” said Andy Baer, vice president of sales and marketing at KZRV, LP.

"We were nervous going into Louisville because Heartland had a strong fall. But the dealers showed up and spent more time with us than in years past. We had steady traffic, and it was better quality — the dealers that came were the principals. They came with specific business to do. This year's show exceeded our expectations," said Brian Walczak, general manager of Heartland Recreational Vehicles.

“We were very pleased with the amount of activity at the display and with the attendance at the show. We are gratified with the amount of business we conducted,” added Derald Bontrager, president and COO at Jayco, Inc. “Looking back at Tuesday and Wednesday, from start to finish, we were busy and pleased with the flow of dealers through our display. We saw activity in all categories from our popup campers all the way up to our motorhomes.  And maybe most important of all, we were encouraged by the positive dealer attitudes for the coming year.”

The 50th National RV Trade Show will take place Nov. 27 – 29, 2012 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. 

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