November 29, 2016 by Rick Kessler RV Business News
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) honored RV brands built by 15 manufacturers with its Quality Circle Award Monday (Nov. 28) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville, Ky., preluding today’s opening of the RVIA National RV Trade Show. (To view a slideshow of the presentation along with other Monday night Louisville activities and today’s Outlook Breakfast scroll to the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page. Photos by Shawn Spence).
RVDA Chairman Darrel Friesen of All Season’s RV Center in Yuba City, Calif., said that the Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) initiative is another way the organization helps serve as “the voice of the dealer in industry relations, which are so important to the overall health of the RV business.”
“The DSI is one of the tools RVDA uses to help improve dealer-manufacturer relations by identifying how dealers perceive the strengths and weaknesses of their brands and manufacturers. The DSI is not a scientific study – it measures dealer attitudes toward our manufacturers’ products, policies, and procedures,” Friesen added.
The selected brands/manufacturers/product categories received at least 15 dealer responses from the 481 U.S. and Canadian dealers who participated in the 23rd Annual Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey, and scored 4.25 or above on a 5-point scale in overall dealer satisfaction. While noting the RVDA’s Industry Relations Committee raised the bar this year to qualify for a Quality Circle award, Friesen noted that DSI dealers were asked to express, confidentially, their level of satisfaction on four core issues: reliability/quality; parts; warranty; and sales.
The towable RV manufacturers/brands receiving awards were (in alphabetical order by manufacturer): Airstream Inc.; Coachmen RV (Apex Travel Trailers, Brookstone/Chaparral fifth-wheels and Freedom Express travel trailers), DRV (Mobile Suites, Elite Suites/Full House), Forest River Inc. (XLR); Grand Design RV (Imagine, Momentum, Reflection, Solitude); Gulf Stream Coach Inc. (Vintage Cruiser/Vista Cruiser); Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC (North Trail/Wilderness); Keystone RV Co. (Fuzion/Impact, Montana/High Country, Springdale/Summerland/Residence); K.Z. Inc. (Durango/Durango Gold/Venom, Spree/Spree Connect/Spree Escape/MXT/Vision); Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. (travel trailers/toy haulers, truck campers), and Venture RV (SportTrek/Sonic).
The motorized RV manufacturers/product categories receiving awards were (in alphabetical order): Airstream; Leisure Travel Vans/Triple E; Newmar Corp.; Pleasure-Way Industries Inc., and Tiffin Motorhomes Inc.
Aram Koltookian, president of KZ RV and its Venture RV subsidiary, which had a combined 10 brands honored, noted the Shipshewana, Ind.-based manufacturer has won a Quality Circle Award for the last 16 years.
“We’re real proud and my team has been doing a fantastic job. They dialed in the product this year for the Elkhart Open House and we have new floorplans and other innovations here at Louisville. This is just an affirmation that we are working really hard and dealers are responding to it,” Koltookian told RVBUSINESS.com.
“Customers don’t care about territories. What they care about is quality and service and parts and whether they get their parts in a timely manner. This award recognizes that we are doing that for our customers. That’s what’s most important — knowing that we’re taking care of that retail customer.
Don Clark, president of Middlebury, Ind.-based Grand Design RV, which only recently was acquired by Winnebago Industries Inc., mentioned that he and his team were even more gratified that all four of its brands won a Quality Circle Award this year because of the stiffened criteria.
“Frankly, when we first started this company we wanted to help move the needle of our industry in a positive direction, and I feel we are and our own small way. And our efforts are being recognized and hopefully helping to set a new bar,” Clark said.
“Kudos goes to Jerry McCarthy, our vice president of service operations,” he continued. “And to our product development teams, quality control, production and, really, our dealers. Our dealers have been behind this company since day one. Before we built anything the dealers we’re behind us and I can’t thank them enough.”