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Old 12-21-2013, 11:22 AM   #15
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Thanks for the info. It sounds like they have a good dealership going. Good to hear.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:25 PM   #16
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Airstream dealers have been tried several times in the Kansas City area.

Kansas City trailer sales in grandview sold Airstreams in the early 70's to the early to mid 80's. My parents bought their first Airstream from them in 74. My dad got to know the owner pretty good. He said Airstream finally forced them out of business. He said AS required them to keep over a MILLION dollars of PARTS on hand just to keep servicing their brand. They finally got fed up with their BS and quit dealing with them sometime in the late 80's. The owner said after he gave up selling the trailers, Bill Thomas saw to it that no one else in the midwest would sell the classic line. He moved so many classics, that he threatened Airstream that he would cancel his contract with them if another dealer popped up in the surrounding area. As far as I know, he held on to that until the last few years. There were other dealers in the area that sold AS, but they only sold the safari line. Thomas wouldnt let them sell the classic line. About 10, 12 years ago there was a dealer up in liberty that sold safaris. But they only lasted 3 or 4 years.

The problem with Airstream is that they demand too much from their dealers. And unfortunately, it didnt change when they got bought out years ago. Its easier for dealers to fill their lot with a bunch of box trailers from factories that will bend over backwards to put those trailers on their lot.

If AS keeps up with their snobbish attitude, and cutting corners, they will eventually end up pricing themselves out of the market.

Ill get down off my soap box now.

And if you need service done to your trailer, there is a guy in Oklahoma City that is quite a bit cheaper than Bill Thomas. Does awesome work. Great guy to deal with.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:36 PM   #17
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Walker,
Great info. Thanks for the background.

Has anyone around here been up to the Des Moines dealer? They seem to have a location in Des Moines and the Twin Cities Des Moines about the same drive as Springfield from KC. Just wondering.
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Old 06-14-2014, 01:05 PM   #18
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I havent been to the dealer in Des Moines. I have only been to Bill Thomas, the guy in OK city ( I forget his name) and Springfield. I wasnt the least bit impressed with the service department in Springfield. We took dads trailer 34ft down there to get an estimate for bodywork (hail damage I think). Insurance company needed the estimate before they could proceede with the paperwork. They knew this. They looked it over and said they would need to mail us the paperwork. They never did. Dad kept calling them, they kept promising to drop it in the mail that day and it never came. Finally had to take it to Bill Thomas.

Those guys in Springfield have a good location. They are right off the highway, where all the old timers see them when going to Branson. But if they pull that crap with everyone, they will be another AS dealer who didnt make it.

Like I said. If you need body work done, I highly recomend the guy in OK city. He does awesome work and he is a heck a lot cheaper than Bill Thomas in St Louis.

Dad had work done with him 3 or 4 times. I know last time this guy in OKC was around 800 dollars cheaper than Bill Thomas.
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Old 06-14-2014, 01:51 PM   #19
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As long as AS sells everything they can build, why should they change anything? Jim
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Old 06-14-2014, 02:09 PM   #20
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Airstream sells only to dealers, so the dealers have their financial backsides out in the breeze as their floor plan covers the units after a few months. The multi line dealers end up having sales folks with barely enough knowledge to read the price tag on the unit they are standing next to at the time.

When the local dealership was washing my unit from the road salt coming from the factory, they blew the striping off the unit with the pressure washer.... A comprehensive inventory of Airstream trained mechanics is a pipe dream at most dealerships.

In my experience, just because they hung up an Airstream banner does not mean they know squat about service or the details of the units on their lots from a sales perspective.
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Old 06-14-2014, 04:00 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switz View Post
A comprehensive inventory of Airstream trained mechanics is a pipe dream at most dealerships.

In my experience, just because they hung up an Airstream banner does not mean they know squat about service or the details of the units on their lots from a sales perspective.
Exactly

The poster above you said that AS is selling everything they make. Just because AS is moving everything from the factory floor to dealerships, doesnt mean they are selling everything they make. I guarentee you there are a lot of dealers across the nation that still has 2013 models still on the lot.

Airstream has done this to themselves, and sooner or later they will run out of dealers who will want to deal with them or who has the money to deal with them. Bill Thomas use to be the larges AS dealer west of the Mississippi. Now they only have about 25 or 30 units on the lot. When they were in their old building they would usually have around 50 used units on their lot. Now they usually only have a couple when we stop in there.

From an outside perspective, it sounds like the dealer you bought from is either a fairly new dealer or isnt a full line AS service center (meaning body shop) and they try to play one. Anyone with the least bit of experience with AS would know you dont use that kind of pressure on these trailers.

Bill Thomas has been selling AS for 40 years. They make sure they keep salesmen in there that know the brand. And they keep guys in the service area that know how to rip the body apart and fix it right. But like you said, a lot of dealers dont. So many pop up think they can make a ton of money selling a premium brand, then fade away just as fast as the popped up because of the nonsense that AS requires of them. Like I said, AS was requiring dealers in the mid 80's to handle a million dollars in parts inventory. That was a lot back then. Imagine how much it is now.

Airstream needs to change how they handle dealers and they need to listen to their customer base.
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:04 AM   #22
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I would like to know if they are selling full production. That is what I understand. Jim
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Old 06-15-2014, 05:50 PM   #23
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When we looked at AS last month, it was in Springfield. Salesperson didn't know a lot. I knew a lot of details that he didn't. Was a nice enough guy, but the lack of deep dive info was not what I had hoped for. He even mentioned that they don't sell volume-wise very many ASs, but they like them as a novelty. Meaning that that Bambi probably has 20-30 people traipsing through it every week.

So it sounds like you feel that the St. Louis dealer has a good depth of experience, is that the case?
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Old 06-15-2014, 06:44 PM   #24
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I looked in St Louis and the salesman couldn't answer very many of my questions. They have a very small inventory and sell more SOBs than Airstreams. I just feel there should be an Airstream dealer in KC. We have 2006 19" Bambi and could answer any questions you might have. Where do you live?
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Old 06-15-2014, 06:52 PM   #25
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blmitch,
Thanks so much for the offer. We are in KCMO just south of 435 and Wornall. We are just starting to look; probably not ready to actually buy until late next year or early 2016. (I am a detail nut, and really enjoy getting to know a lot about something new to me.)

We just got daughter #2 out of college, and she is doing grad school overseas. So we have our vacation $ and time lined up with that to visit her and then go to graduation.

Do you get your rig serviced here in the metro?
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:02 PM   #26
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I go to Olathe RV for service we can't do. But we stay up on the caulking, winterizing etc on our own. We had hail damage and went to Griffith Rv repair in OKC, he did a great job! For an 06 she looks like new, that's the great thing about Airstreams is if you take care of them they hold up very well. Click image for larger version

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Old 06-15-2014, 08:53 PM   #27
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Its too bad to hear that Bill Thomas has let their sales team slip. They use to have some good guys there. But they were getting up there in age. Its been several years since I talked to any of their guys in sales.

Blmitch5, nice looking rig. Do you keep it stored inside? The clear coat on our 02 is already starting to peal
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:23 PM   #28
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I'd support one!
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