By Don Moore, F154921
Chairman, National Vice President, Midwest Area
As chairman of the Membership/Member Services Committee for 2001-2002, I have been working with a fine group of members whose goal is to ensure that FMCA continues to offer its members benefits to enhance the motorhome lifestyle. FMCA national president Jeff Jefcoat selected the chairman and members of this committee, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee. Traditionally, the national vice presidents have served as the members of the Membership/Member Services Committee. However, this year President Jefcoat selected the committee from among the general membership. Serving along with me on this committee are Marguerite Boyce, F59326; Jim deBord, F16686S; Roger Merrill, F11560; Robert Newby, F108350; and Janet Stubbs, F107765.
I believe we have many good benefits for our members, and we are always searching for more. Benefits are reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Each January issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine contains the “Member Benefits Guide,” which lists all of FMCA’s member benefits and provides details about them. In addition, each month’s issue of the magazine includes several pages that offer brief descriptions of the benefits, mostly for the purpose of spreading the word about FMCA and its benefits to non-members but also as a quick reference and reminder to current members. In addition, seminars are held at FMCA’s international motorhome extravaganzas and area rallies to inform members about the benefits they receive as part of their membership. You can also visit our Web site — www.fmca.com — to learn more about member benefits.
In my opinion, the finest benefit we could give our members would be a top-quality motorhome as it leaves the factory, and top-quality service from the factory and dealers after the sale.
When a group of FMCA members get together for a meeting, rally, potluck, or just a visit with old friends, it seems the conversation eventually involves talking about problems with their motorhome. Most people who own a motorhome have had some type of problem. Some have had a multitude of problems. I hear about so many things that I think could be prevented if only the manufacturer had better quality control. FMCA members would like to have a motorhome that has been completely checked for quality, with all of its components inside and out ready to go when the rubber meets the road.
I’m somewhat disturbed by the high number of complaints made by purchasers of new motorhomes. Most complaints are about poor design, assembly, dealer prep, or dealer service, and most of all a general lack of quality control. Many complaints involve first-trip problems, which could be avoided with a good testing program. I’ve had owners tell me that they have to be a good mechanic to make it through the first trip with a new motorhome.
Another complaint I hear frequently is that owners are often told that a part is under warranty and covered only by the component manufacturer, and the dealer just tells you where or who to call. I know that car manufacturers handle tire and battery warranties this way; however, for the rest of the vehicle, the car manufacturer stands behind every part, with service available at any similar dealership. RV manufacturers should do the same. I personally have had some problems with my motorhome. It’s a sad day when you must hire an attorney to get something done that should have been done at the factory.
This problem doesn’t seem to be limited to one or two manufacturers. And it isn’t just the problem itself that is bothersome. It’s your valuable time, expense, and the anxiety it causes when you have to continually take the unit in for repairs and wait for parts to be shipped.
The average age of FMCA members is 65 for the men and 61 for the women. So, most of us are old enough to remember when the U.S. automobile industry woke up one day and found they had lost about 25 percent of their market to foreign manufacturers. The foreign vehicles were very reliable, conservatively styled, economical, and had high resale value. Let’s hope it doesn’t require foreign competition to resolve issues in the RV industry.
Working with FMCA’s Commercial Council, which is made up of RV industry representatives, and our commercial members should lead us toward better-quality coaches at the time of delivery. This is something that won’t happen overnight, but we must start working on this now. I would welcome your ideas and input. My voice mail number is (800) 544-7062, ext. 500. Together we can make a difference. In the meantime, “Happy Travels.”