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Old 01-09-2013, 09:33 AM   #1
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Bye Bye Earthbound

Just saw this on another forum. I thought these guys had something going. Apparently I was wrong.

Earthbound RV Closes Up, Will Auction Assets | RV Business
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:00 AM   #2
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We had looked at the Earthbound at dealers on two occasions in the last couple of years. We were fairly impressed with the fit and finish. We also liked the concept and design. It was really nice to see a travel trailer somewhere between an Airstream and a low end econobox.

We, too, are sorry to hear of their demise.

Brian
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:26 AM   #3
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I did own an Earthbound for 6 months and can assure you that it good to hear these crooks are out of business. Only feel sorry for the people who lost their job.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:52 AM   #4
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I looked at one at last years RV show and was impressed with what I saw. I did not like the floorplan of the one on display. I was looking forward to the next show in hopes I might see more offerings.

Was your issue with the trailer or the dealer or both?
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:59 AM   #5
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I did own an Earthbound for 6 months and can assure you that it good to hear these crooks are out of business. Only feel sorry for the people who lost their job.
Care to elaborate on what makes you call them crooks?
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:04 PM   #6
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I came close to consider traveling to a dealership out of state to look at one of these. Problem was a combination of lack of orders and quality control. From what I read, warranty work seemed to require a trip back to the factory in many cases. With small work force they couldn't build trailers and take care of warranty repairs. Some owners found that it took months (sometimes the entire summer) to get the warranty work done, even though they dropped the trailer off at the factory.

Unfortunately these folks started up when the economy went south. Most RV dealers were unwilling to buy these units in bad economic times with no guarantee of whether the RV public would buy them.

There are about 160 of these trailers built and unlike the standard travel trailer, the construction techniques and materials used are not universal. The folks owning them are really between a rock and a hard place since no one probably will be able to replace many of the components. Repairs will be haphazard since anyone working on them will be guessing or will be learning as they go.

Attempting to do a start up on a unique product like this is full of risk. You almost wonder if Airstream was a startup company in this economy would have ever made a go of it.

Jack
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:42 PM   #7
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Airstream started up in the Great Depression and has weathered the economy ever since.

I feel sympathy for those who were snagged by the hype, among them friends of ours who looked at our Airstream but thought these were better in every way. They have had trouble and difficulty getting them fixed.

doug k
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:24 PM   #8
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I am suspicious of any RV/trailer start-up company that champions the environmental movement. Why? At first blush it strikes me as being misleading and explotive. Is there such a thing as an "environmentally friendly" trailer when it is pulled by a gas guzzler? It's an oxymoron. "Earthbound" was preaching to the non-converted. A true environmentalist would find the concept laughable. Most RVers/trailerites are indifferent - for the most part.

It's better to face that truth and try to do the best with what you have as a manufacturer and RVer/trailerite.

I am genuinely sorry that people have lost their job, and a community which is already struggling in the midst of an underwhelmed economy has to recover what they can.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:32 PM   #9
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The auction is January 15th. I was temped in going but may not be worth taking the day off of work. They owe the city of Marion 2 million dollars, and now the city of Marion is hurting badly. They took a gamble and sadly lost.

Key Auctioneers*|* Auction Detail

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Old 01-09-2013, 03:55 PM   #10
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Airstream Has Had Its Ups and Downs

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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Airstream started up in the Great Depression and has weathered the economy ever since.

doug k
Airstream went bust in the late 60s or early 70s and sold out to Beatrice Foods.
Later Airstream employees were able to buy themselves back from Beatrice.
More recently, Airstream sold out to Thor.
Not sure of the details and nuance in these occurrences, but both were driven by hard times not good times.

Perhaps others know the history.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:58 PM   #11
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Great Post!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
I am suspicious of any RV/trailer start-up company that champions the environmental movement. Why? At first blush it strikes me as being misleading and explotive. Is there such a thing as an "environmentally friendly" trailer when it is pulled by a gas guzzler? It's an oxymoron. "Earthbound" was preaching to the non-converted. A true environmentalist would find the concept laughable. Most RVers/trailerites are indifferent - for the most part.
This is so true at so many levels. Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
I am suspicious of any RV/trailer start-up company that champions the environmental movement. Why? At first blush it strikes me as being misleading and explotive. Is there such a thing as an "environmentally friendly" trailer when it is pulled by a gas guzzler? It's an oxymoron. "Earthbound" was preaching to the non-converted. A true environmentalist would find the concept laughable. Most RVers/trailerites are indifferent - for the most part.

It's better to face that truth and try to do the best with what you have as a manufacturer and RVer/trailerite.
Looking beyond cynicism, I guess "try to do the best you can with what you have as a manufacturer" can involve different corporate choices.

- You can build an aerodynamic trailer that saves fuel when you tow it.
- You can try and save weight.
- You can use "green" building practices, like zero-landfill policies.
- You can use materials that don't off-gas - our eyes burn when we spend a sunny day touring RVs at a big show.

Sure, it would be silly to make "green" the primary marketing pitch, but Earthbound was also pitching style and innovation. Airstream makes a big deal of their "greenness" in their brochures, although they probably haven't substantially changed their process in years.

It seems that Earthbound was undercapitalized and launched at a bad time. I looked at various trailers they built - some were nice while others didn't improve on Airstream QC. Their final business plan - custom-order only, around $85k and up - seemed pretty unlikely from the get-go. (Too bad, because it included a nice 23' floor plan.)

Got to say, one of the reasons I got the AS is because many of the panels could be crafted by a skilled restoration shop - and there's enough trailers out there to find the formed end caps and windows, if need be.

I'm sad that Earthbound went under - I'm all for having more competition in the high-end "performance" trailer market. There's not much out there. Casita doesn't play there, Trailmanor doesn't build hard-side trailers anymore, Bigfoot is basically a regional brand now, but I guess the Evergreen Element can neatly slide into the spot where Earthbound left behind. And the Element seems to be more successful...

Tom
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:05 AM   #13
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Airstream makes a big deal of their "greenness" in their brochures, although they probably haven't substantially changed their process in years.
The difference being Airstream embraced some practical engineering aspects which are considered "green" today. Long before it became fashionable to ride the coat-tails of environmentalism.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:59 AM   #14
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If I actually gave a crap about "green" manufacturing, I would have purchased a windmill instead.
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