>Bend, Oregon,
In 2007, Big Country RV had its largest sales year ever.

In July 2008, his dealership’s sales dropped substantially.

“It was like a cliff,” said owner Gary Craven, who wouldn’t disclose sales figures.

He recalled a perfect storm of record-high gas prices and a deepening recession that was trimming credit and eroding consumer confidence. Craven said he and his staff “moved aggressively” to reduce inventory, adjust his product line to feature smaller RVs and beef up the dealership’s training and customer service. Also, several employees were let go.

The big bus-sized motor homes, referred to in the industry as Class A RVs, get roughly 8 to 10 miles per gallon and cost around $200,000, Craven said. As Craven moved those off his lots, he didn’t replace them, opting for smaller motor homes and less expensive, towable RVs.
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