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Old 07-09-2007, 07:34 PM   #1
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Talking Airstream Quality? You are important

I have harped about Airstream Quality and that it important to get repairs done under the waranty, write letters to Thor (the parent company) etc- etc.
Here's why it's so important.

In 1977 two fellows, who knew nothing about RV's, purchased HI-LO. What these guys did know was business management and HI-LO prospered. The next target was Airstream purchased in 1980. Do a search on Thor Industries and be impressed. Thor industries is the largest producer of RV's in the world and Airstreams have never been better.

Ok so?? Thor has mainly a hands off managment style. They expect Airstream and the other companies they own to stand on their own. Here's what they do. Pay bonus $$ for high performance and profit generation. And here is the deal that's so important to you, the consummer - they deduct from the bonus for waranty work. More waranty work, less $$ for Airstream executives. Less waranty work more $$ for Airstream execs. If you fail to use the waranty system, even for little things you could fix youself, it does not show up on Thor's radar for quality. You have direct imput to the quality control system. So shout - pound - write - force the issue. It's up to us.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:14 PM   #2
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We're planning a trip to Jackson Center to have have Lucy's wheels serviced. We also have a sizeable list of warranty items. Are there any tips out there for having this work done at JC?
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:17 PM   #3
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I don't totally disagree with you Alan, but Airstream quality isn't all that great, moreover, even the fixes done under warranty aren't a 100% fix either? How do I know? I've owned a 2003 and 2004. Both with totally unreal issues.

Do a search under any model year from 2004 through current model year, then do a search under corrosion where some units have skin failures after only 6 months off the line.

Airstream has been made well aware of most, if not all of the issues and several of the employees have told folks over the years that they read the forums. They know all too well of the issues.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:20 PM   #4
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Moose, the folks that work at Airstream that you will interact with are great folks. The guys working on the units know the units better than nearly anyone out there.

My suggestion would be to get there the day before and get up early to check in. I worked with Chris, who was very great to deal with and dealt with my laundry list (2 pages long) of items. A few others came up while I was in the Airstream campground and Chris took care of those as well.

Unfortunately, a few of the issues came back, of no fault of Chris or the techs that worked on my unit.
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:01 PM   #5
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I have a '72, no warranty issues here, just what I expected.

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Old 07-09-2007, 10:07 PM   #6
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The mothership

I was also in Jackson Center recently... and I'm about 1/2 way between the two views. I had work done and most of it was excellent, however one item... the propane leak is BACK! I think it's the cheap ass regulator and I'm going after it myself. I will be writing to Airstream and insisting that they pick up the tab.

First lets face facts, no matter how sincere a business is about quality, customer loyalty, etc., a business must first MAKE PROFITS or it won't be around to do anything.

Second, if you drive slowly in any neighborhood you'll spot many, many RV's from popups to moho's which are growing moss... they've been parked for years! Possibly only 10% to 30% of people who buy RV's really use them... some age out, some find they don't like to camp, some simply lose interest and focus... Many of us buy gobs of "things" because that's the only way we know how to feel happy or get the blood flowing - but in a few weeks or months we are looking for some new "thing".

Most RV companies build RV's for their "average" customer, not necessarily the "professional user". I think it IS up to us to insist that for the premium price we pay, we get an RV that will travel well and wear well. In particular I want to see a galvanized or POR'ed frame, and if possible better protection for the clearcoat. Avion went to anodized aluminum..... anything that CAN be shined will get filoform.

However, I just spent two days at a VERY crowded campground - 700 campers and only 3 Airstreams. If you think Airstream has quality issues, you gotta take the time to tour some of the big SOB's - I watched a neighbor take 7 tries to get his slideout to slide IN, then heard him cursing because the awning dumped water inside his camper. I visited a couple that were two or three years old and falling apart - and NOT owned by fulltimers. I was drinking coffee this morning before moving off site and I saw a gentleman standing outside staring at my trailer in mute worship and longing. Of course I invited him in... those bare aluminum walls get them every time!

Something I read here rings in my ears, "sooner or later Toyota or Honda are going to start making campers".... we need to say THAT to every one at Thor/Airstream. They are the only ones who can get in line to fight off such an invasion.

Paula Ford
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:09 PM   #7
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I think it's the cheap *** regulator and I'm going after it myself. I will be writing to Airstream and insisting that they pick up the tab. ...sooner or later Toyota or Honda are going to start making campers...
I would suggest the regulator is a very good example of a situation where Airstream has little control over quality. There appears to be a very small number of suppliers in America for RV components. Regulators, water heaters, water pumps, tank gauges, stove-ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. are all components which Airstream obtains from suppliers. Airstream's market share is not large enough to have much leverage with those suppliers in order to demand better quality components. In addition, the cost of better components can be very high. You can convince yourself of that by checking prices for similar components sold strictly for marine use.

As for Toyota and Honda? Perhaps they might be interested if Airstream or another RV maker sold 10 to 20 times as many units as today. The problems our Airstreams have are very typical for handmade products. As Paula points out, they still are much better than what many of the competitors produce. Not many non-Airstream owners can have the question we have had over several years, "Is it brand new?"
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:12 PM   #8
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I agree with David Alan. Use the Warrenty, even on small things that you could fix yourself. A/S and Thor are in business to make a profit. Anything that affects their bottom line gets their attention. I had a small water leak from a loose connection behind the toilet. It cost A/S $46 to repair. Try not, in the first 2 yrs. to do it yourself. Make A/S pay for it. That is the only sure way to keep them focused on quality.
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Alan
I have harped about Airstream Quality and that it important to get repairs done under the waranty, write letters to Thor (the parent company) etc- etc.
Here's why it's so important.

In 1977 two fellows, who knew nothing about RV's, purchased HI-LO. What these guys did know was business management and HI-LO prospered. The next target was Airstream purchased in 1980. Do a search on Thor Industries and be impressed. Thor industries is the largest producer of RV's in the world and Airstreams have never been better.

Ok so?? Thor has mainly a hands off managment style. They expect Airstream and the other companies they own to stand on their own. Here's what they do. Pay bonus $$ for high performance and profit generation. And here is the deal that's so important to you, the consummer - they deduct from the bonus for waranty work. More waranty work, less $$ for Airstream executives. Less waranty work more $$ for Airstream execs. If you fail to use the waranty system, even for little things you could fix youself, it does not show up on Thor's radar for quality. You have direct imput to the quality control system. So shout - pound - write - force the issue. It's up to us.
So, that's why a guy like Dave Schumann refuses to accept and fix items under warranty that he's legally obligated to fix?

When was the last time any of you guys actually heard from Thor/Airstream management what they were doing to improve quality?

John
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags
We're planning a trip to Jackson Center to have have Lucy's wheels serviced. We also have a sizeable list of warranty items. Are there any tips out there for having this work done at JC?
When are you planning on being at JC? The wife and I are planning to go on or about August 6th to see Mecca, then take a swing up to Wright Patterson AFB to see the museum.
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