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Old 03-15-2006, 12:39 PM   #15
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What Thor and the other domestic manufacturers have to fear most is the day when a foreign manufacturer, with much lower per unit labor cost and decent quality control, figures out how they can manufacture and ship for less than the cost of US domestic manufacture. MH's are essentially a low volume business, so they don't need to build US plants as the auto manufacturers have.
Amen! If you've ever taken a tour of a modern automobile manufacturing plant then followed it up with the same tour of just about any RV manufacturer you will wonder how they make any money...it is amazing to me that so much is still "factory stick built".
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Old 03-15-2006, 01:12 PM   #16
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For those with a 'thing' about fuel costs (which aren't any higher adjusted for inflation than they ever have been) as a primary factor in RV sales

Consider that WBCCI's heyday with 20k+ members was in the late seventies when fuel prices, adjusted for inflation, were the highest ever.
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Old 03-15-2006, 01:48 PM   #17
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From the sound of it, they may be rolling out some new features/options being more trailer focused. It would be a real hoot to see a modern version of the Argosy make a comeback.

I think the reference to the 70's and now cannot be compared. Gasoline, gas, LP, diesel, etc are at the highest costs they have ever been, yet the oil and gas companies are recording record profits of ANY corporation in U.S. history, which was NOT the case in the 70s. There is NO way anyone will convince me that anything other than greed alone has rasied us to the price we pay now....period.

I bought into the lack of refining capacity, taxes and the rest until Exxon/Mobil and the rest released their earnings, in which case one could argue the inflation equation until the cows come home....changes nothing in my book.
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Old 03-15-2006, 01:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper
Consider that WBCCI's heyday with 20k+ members was in the late seventies when fuel prices, adjusted for inflation, were the highest ever.

One may also consider the popularity of Airstreams in the late seventies may have been, in part, a response to those high fuel prices.
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:02 PM   #19
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My 2 cents says it's more in relation to the vehicles of today and not the gas prices. There are lots of lightweight trucks and SUV's out there (not to mention the mini-vans) that have tow limits of 3,500 pounds. Cars in the late 70's could tow more (and the Airstream trailers were lighter).
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:15 PM   #20
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hi trend watchers......

the base camp doesn't do it for me.....and kelty doesn't make the best tents......if they were gonna have something extend the living space...it would have been a natural to involve zip dee....or use some primo tent maker....

if they ever build more than the 3 prototypes of the basecamp....perhaps we will all get a chance to poke around the insides, so we can discuss the contruction. it sure looks cool.....

this current b/c product will not compete for the masses who want toy haulers or multitasking units...and maybe that's ok....a few premium type buyers will go for it.....and make it visible....

i see the basecamp as a 'toe in the water' toward other shiny air labled products.....
but the argosy line (lower price, fewer features, painted skin) isn't in the cards...
a lesser priced casita type unit would also mean less margin.....
so they would need to build a boat load of these.....
and at u.s. labor prices......they would need to bring these in on a boat.....

expect to see a 5th wheel type product in the basecamp line........
the 5er market is toooo big for airstream not to want a piece....
and these would be priced in the 5er segment....
but with a streamlined construction cost...no rivets....molded.....and so on......

a shinny 5er......yes, you read it here.... the air 5 is coming....

cheers
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:33 PM   #21
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I'm not sure I should get into this argument, but maybe I already am, so here goes.

1. 1970's fuel prices did not result in excess profits for the oil companies as a whole. It was a supply based issue. The cost of fuel, as a percentage of aveage household income, was (if I remember correctly) higher, so the ripple effect through the economy was faster. We have had historically high fuel prices for more than a year, and you may just now be seeing that begin to effect folks like Thor Industries. In 2005/2006, fuel prices, as a percentage of average household income, simply haven't mattered enough to have an effect.

2. Oil companies do NOT set the price of fuel (or oil). Futures contracts do. Oil companies make profits (essentially) charging fees for extraction, refining, and distribution. They are clearly taking advantage of the situation, (and my 6-8 mpg Airstream) but there are many, many more whose main activity has also been charging what the market would bear. Is road fuel tax revenue down in your state yet??

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Old 03-15-2006, 02:50 PM   #22
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OK, we have the socialist agenda working to castigate the capital needed for finding new resources as "excess profits" and all that ...

That doesn't get very productive. (but it is instructive about how emotional something or others can lead to irrational rants)

So, how about instead using market surveys in the RV industry that don't put fuel cost as a significant factor in current sales? see RV News On Line - The Voice of the RV Industry
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:28 PM   #23
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Uh, ok.....not sure anyone was talking socialist....just pointing out a fact that the oil companies are taking advantage of the current situation, plain and simple. No emotion, just fact. How can a company or companies have the biggest profit in U.S. history when there is plenty of oil? Fact is that it is plain greed and we have an administration that frankly is taking care of it's own (and I am a fair supporter of the current administration, except in this case). No one can tell me that most of the money these folks are making is going into exploration and alternate fuels. McDonald's could roll something out for 1/3 what these folks raked in these past 24 months....and that would be just with their veg oil.

I bet the same folks calling names and throwing socialist stones work for Microsoft....of course Microsoft never took advantage of their position either........and all the folks that complain were just socialists or unhappy communists......
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:53 PM   #24
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While the BaseCamp may have brisk sales initially, I think they will level off as the novelty wears off. Airstream will always have a steady market for towables 25' or less. The trend will be how to lighten the weight of the aluminum trailers to coincide with the lower tow capacities of the more fuel efficient vehicles. I understand that the European Airstream prototype has been introducing some weight saving features. Perhaps an aluminum clad 13' Casita clone will be introduced.

I applaud Airstream and Thor for recognizing shifts in the market and adjusting accordingly. Hopefully we'll continue to see more innovation from Jackson Center.
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:25 PM   #25
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"not sure anyone was talking socialist....just pointing out a fact that the oil companies are taking advantage of the current situation"

yep, that's the definition!

Capitalist is looking at profits and saying 'I want a share' and going into the business (or buying stock) to get it. Socialist is deciding that the profits are unfair or obscene or excess and need governmental intervention to fix.

Thor was one of (a pair of, really) those capitalists when they bought out Airstream. Their attempts to protect their trademark (another thread here) and the focus on classic towed vehicles and their attempts at putting the name on strange RV's are all capitalistic efforts to "take advantage of the situation" and reap "excess profits."

What next? A diatribe about how Airstreams shouldn't be so high priced because so and so "could roll something out for 1/3" ?
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:38 PM   #26
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Acutally here is the definition:

socialism: noun a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. • policy or practice based on this theory. • (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.

I don't think I said the community should regulate it or that I want a part of it, my point was that the oil companies are taking advantage of a situation, simialr to what Microsoft did. That doesn't make it socialist, that just means folks are being greedy. Nor does the definition state "Socialist is deciding that the profits are unfair or obscene or excess". That's your definition and it is not entirely correct.

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered and we can go round and round on this all day....you won't see anyone else's opinon as correct as some folks will and have disagreed with you and your "views".

Keeping this Airstream related, Airstream is not in bed with the other RV companies, they just buy them out and/or take them over. That is pure capitalism, however, there are rules to capitalism....for example the breakup of AT&T, Enron, Microsoft etc. None of the things that happened to these companies were done because of Socialism. They broke the law or they were found to have a monopoly and/or abused the monopoly. I feel that years after 2008, we all will find out how much big oil was riggin' the system....one thing is certain, it won't happen until after the next election.
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Old 03-15-2006, 06:45 PM   #27
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Socialists vs Capitalists...

Gas prices, etc...

How about if we get this thread back on topic...Airstreams!

Shari
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Old 03-15-2006, 09:55 PM   #28
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...then bring back the Minuet (just leave the Pacer out of the marketing material! The base camp is a cute gimmick. The Minuet's are a better alternative. Just look at the prices that the Minuets bring today after 25+ years!

Oh by the way, Casita cannot make enough small lightweight fiberglas trailers to keep up with demand. Maybe there is something there.............(of course Thor could always buy Casita and make it part of Airstream.)
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I gave up the space of my larger Argosys to have the leightweight Minuet! It is well-built and very leightweight. Mine tipped the scales at 2450 lbs. AFTER all of my restoration. If they want something that would sell re-engineer the Minuet! Leave out all the "foo-foo" stuff of the CCD or the Quicksilver. Give us something lighter... Bottom line.
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