RPTIA to Meet With RVIA to Discuss Merger
The executive committee of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) will meet twice within the next two weeks to discuss an alliance the trade group is seeking to form with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
“We are at this point still trying to work out issues that we have concerning both parties,” said RPTIA Executive Director William R. Garpow.
He said RPTIA leaders will meet by phone next Tuesday and in person April 20 in Elkhart, Ind.
“The fact that we are talking is a good thing,” Garpow said.
A joint meeting between representative of the two associations is scheduled for April 29 in Chicago to discuss the relationship of the two associations going forward.
At the core of the discussions are the square-footage standards for travel trailers and fifth-wheels that RVIA allows its members to build.
At a March 27 meeting, the RVIA board voted to authorize fifth-wheel manufacturers to immediately build units with a maximum 430 square feet in the setup mode — up from 400 square feet — and, in a compromise with RPTIA, to consider reducing travel trailer limits from 400 square feet to 320 square feet, the standard before Jan. 1, 2008.
Prior to that date, travel trailers over 320 square feet were considered recreational park trailers.
”We are pleased that they decided to put a cap on fifth-wheel square footage,” Garpow said. ”That was something that we were a little surprised about — positively. That’s a step in the right direction.”
During the March 27 meeting, RVIA’s board also appointed an ad hoc committee to discuss RPTIA rejoining RVIA 16 years after park model manufacturers left RVIA — at RVIA’s request — and set up their own association. In the meantime, the two associations are expected to establish an informal two-year alliance that also appears to have a lot to do with the tough economic times and the need for these once disparate elements to pull together.
The maximum size of towable RVs has been a point of contention between the two associations for nearly two years. RPTIA claims standards authority over travel trailers exceeding 320 square feet, considering them to be recreational park trailers. The Newnan, Ga.-based trade group also objected to earlier RVIA efforts to increase fifth-wheel square footage in an era where larger units are gaining popularity.