September '18

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DEALER TRENDS: 108 • RV PRO • September 2018 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S By Lisa Napell Dicksteen While Canada and the United States have a lot in common, things are not always identical in the two countries when it comes to the RV market. With an eye to learning what's happening north of the U.S. border, RV PRO recently asked dealers across Canadian provinces for their take on the market and their expectations moving forward. Here are their responses: Gauging the Canadian Dealer Market Jason Bell, dealer principal Chemo RV Sales & Service Quesnel, B.C., Canada "Our market is Cariboo-Chilcotin and northern B.C. and it exists on resource-based jobs such as mining, forestry, and ranching. When these industries are strong, we are strong; when they dip, we dip. That's proven by the fact that last year was our best year ever, even though the forest fire forced us to close for 20 days in July. "Back in the late '90s and early 2000s we carried 100 percent Canadian products; however, with so many of those manufacturers closing, it forced our hand. Today, we sell Coachmen's Catalina, Freelander, and Pursuit MHs; Northwood's Arctic Fox and Nash; toy haulers by Ven- geance; the Go by SylvanSport, R-Pods, and units by Cherokee, Greywolf and Radiance – all American-made. "The drop in value of the Canadian dollar has increased our cost for new units and driven up the cost of used as well. We have very little control over this and the unfortunate fact is that the higher prices are passed along to consumers. As far as what might happen with NAFTA, I have no control over it, so all we can do is wait and see what happens. "In terms of other products, we have always done extremely well with solar. Nearly 70 per- cent of the RVs we sell leave the lot with solar, so they also need 6-volt batteries and inverters. We also do well with Dometic's Fan-Tastic Vent roof fans, slide toppers and vent covers. Most of our clientele 'dry camps' so these things are key. We rely mostly on Canadian distributors for parts and accessories due to logistics. It's hard to shop at Keystone – freight takes forever – so we use Robert Thibert and Atlas the most. "The number of certified techs in Canada is not much higher than in the U.S., and it's hard to find them. However, we have been very lucky over the years in attracting and retaining techs. I believe the culture of our business has a lot to do with that. "Overall, I think sales will be strong for the rest of 2018. It's just getting inventory that's the issue. There's a general lack of it, and lead times from manufacturers are very long. There is so much pent-up demand from fires last year, which was followed by a long winter, that people have lots and lots of plans this year, which should result in a great year in sales." Dania J Filippetto, dealer principal Rangeland RV & Trailer Sales Alberta, Canada "We have two locations, one outside of Calgary and one in Red Deer, so we really dominate the market from Calgary to northern Alberta. We used to really watch what was happening in the oil patch, but it just doesn't seem to be coming back as strong as people thought it would. We're now focusing on other consumers. I watch the car industry and residential and commercial

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