Business Profile: RV Direct


MCD catches up with the general manager of RV Direct in Hamilton, to find out his approach in the motorhome industry

There’s not a lot that Allan Rees doesn’t know about motorhomes or the motorhome industry. The general manager of RV Direct in Hamilton has a long history in the industry, including founding and operating parts importer and distributor RV Wholesale Supplies in the 1990s.

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In 2011, Allan established RV Direct, a privately owned New Zealand factory-appointed dealer distributor for the Swift Group—the UK’s leading motorhome manufacturer.

In the years since, the business has outgrown two premises, having most recently relocated to an all-weather showroom at 45 Duke Street in mid-September this year.

Another reason behind the relocation has been to accommodate a new division of the business—You Sell. You Sell is an exciting new way for buyers and sellers of second-hand motorhomes to come together.

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Sellers can have their motorhomes on-site—right next door to RV Direct’s new vehicle showroom—where potential buyers can view the range on offer and negotiate with the seller to secure the best price for both parties.

Allan says You Sell works in parallel with RV Direct, meeting the demand for a second-hand motorhome yard that gives buyers the opportunity to view multiple vehicles in one trip.

Although Allan had stepped back from the business in recent years, he’s now enjoying being more involved. Alongside Allan and his wife Maxine are Lester and Craig who each bring considerable experience within the motorhome industry, providing customers with broad knowledge and trusted advice. And business has never been better.

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"This year we’re buying twice as many vehicles as last year," Allan says. "It’s certainly an interesting industry and one I love being a part of. We say to customers that our job is to provide full and accurate information to enable them make the right buying decision. Purchasing a motorhome is a huge investment, so we do everything possible to make sure that investment is one that will bring them many years of problem-free enjoyment."

As part of that, RV Direct provides a ‘Follow-me Warranty’. This means that if you purchase a motorhome through RV Direct and you have a concern with the vehicle when you’re away from home, Allan and his team will contact a trusted service provider near your location, wherever that may, to help get it sorted and get you back on the road quickly. Allan says one of the things that make RV Direct unique is his experience as both a manufacturer and an importer.

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"During my 11 years in business as RV Wholesale Supplies, I not only imported all components for building motorhomes—from fridges and awnings to battery chargers and TVs—I was also doings warrants and servicing them.That’s given me an in-depth understanding of motorhome products and the issues that can arise with them."

Allan says he can just about solve any question on any product within a motorhome.
But more than that, as a keen motorhomer himself, Allan wants his customers to enjoy the wonderful experiences out on the road that he has.

"It’s all about having fun and making the most of the beautiful country we live in. It’s a privilege to be involved in that process and to help others get out there and enjoy the mobile lifestyle."

Allan’s three tips for first-time motorhome buyers

  1. Buy from the dealer you feel most comfortable with. Allan explains that buyers need to be aware that there are many ‘non-dealers’ who are bringing in motorhomes to New Zealand to make a quick buck—at the expense of the buyers’ best interests. "You can tell if a dealer is genuine because their business will be listed as an appointed dealer on the website of the brand they represent. And if they don’t, then chances are they’re a parallel importer with no access to the manufacturer, and that’s a high-risk situation for a potential buyer." 
  2. Identify the right product for your needs. "The more you travel in a motorhome, the better you’ll understand what you need, so it can be a good idea to get a few rental trips under your belt before you buy. One of the main decisions will be around size. Think carefully about whether you want a two-berth or a four-berth. A two-berth might seem like the right vehicle for you as a couple, but they can sometimes be difficult to on-sell." 
  3. Buyers should also be aware of the issues around purchasing a vehicle that runs on a WOF. "Bear in mind that once you load up a WOF-certified vehicle with a spare wheel, an awning, spare tyre, satellite dish, solar panels, and general luggage, you could be well over the weight limit of a WOF vehicle. It may not be road legal and can affect your insurance should you be in an accident."

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