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Old 08-27-2012, 11:27 PM   #43
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Someone with this gentlemans business knowledge and long term RV experience will have thought this through down to the last detail, discussed it with others knowledgeable in the industry, and put together a business plan vetted by very experienced people. You do not get to the level of management he has reached by making hasty or ineffectual decisions. More so when they have huge personal impact.

Will it be successful? A business man with years of experience in many aspects of the business and the input from many others would not move forward on a project of this nature, nor leave a position at the level he had, without looking at all ends of the business, contingencies for market variables and economic swings, etc.

I hope he, like any other small business, is successful. That is what makes our countries so great - a person can dream up an idea that others would think is crazy, then pour their hearts in to, and through hard work, much thought, prayer and by-golly, some go on to create huge companies. Lets hope he is succcessful. If he is, all Airstream owners win in the fact that it will influence even more people to buy in to their own trailer, and also the QC feedback and market direction that goes back to Thor will help us all.

And if it doesn't work, well, he has the gumption to take the risk and he like so many other folks who have attempted to start a business deserves a round of applause for giving it a try. Who'd of thought some guy with a small hardware store would generate a company like Walmart? Some guy would start a trailer company by buying a bankrupt company in tough times (the thirties) and turn it around and look what we ended up with - Airstreams. And companies like Penske, KOA's and Target and Thor or Cruise America. People with dreams, hard work, willing to take a risk most of us would never think to do, and now we look and think gosh, why didn't I think of that..............

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Old 08-28-2012, 12:44 AM   #44
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Call me a pessimist but to me it just does not make sense that an executive at the level Mr. Riegel has attained would leave that position to form an extremely questionable start up. I would think that such a job would be given to a much less senior but none the less up & coming junior executive. I hate to say it, but it looks to me like Mr. Riegel has, for some as yet unknown reason, been put out to pasture. I hope not. I've never heard anything but very positive comments about him & I wish him well. I just think the whole business plan is flawed. Seems to me like the costs to buy or lease the product, establish outlets & maintain the product & service compared to the required high levels of sustained demand won't align. Existing retail outlets are in business to sell the product. Cut up revenue to include profit to the retailers makes the propostion even more questionable, to me. I'd like to be proven wrong.

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Old 08-28-2012, 10:34 AM   #45
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The stories on the rental business do not explain which kind of rental business it will be. There are short term rentals and long term leases. The terms "rental" and "lease" are no different, but in the auto business they differentiate the types.

You can rent a car for a day or week or longer. You go to a rental car business like Hertz. You can lease a car for a period of years and usually do that through a new car dealer. Short term rentals don't make a lot of sense to me for a travel trailer, but would for a conversion van like the Interstate (or a Class C, maybe not a Class A, but Airstream doesn't make them). Long term leases could work just like some previous posts have said—you can lease anything for a term of years. This could be a good business. But there is a danger for the leasing company—everyone knows RV standards are not as good as autos and trucks. People may rent a trailer for 2 or 3 or 4 years, but will they buy it at the end of the lease term if they have a lot of problems. The Riegel LLC will have to either cause an upgrade in standards, or do it themselves. The latter is bad business because it is more expensive to fix things after the unit has been built. While there is a good potential in a long term lease business, I think the standards issue may be the weak link. It is possible Riegel may not realize this because as former Thor president he has been standing behind Thor QC and may have convinced himself all is ok. Nobody is going to give me a chance to invest in this LLC, but if I were to do so, I'd want to know just how these units are to be prepared for the lease market. If they are in good shape, I think this is a good move for Thor and Airstream.

Why is Riegel out? We can only guess. Maybe when Peter Orthwein bought out Riegel's wife's stock, a deal was made to help found this new effort. Thor could obtain insurance cheaper through a deal, finance the purchase of the lease Airstreams, the company makes more Airstreams, the dealers get a cut just like auto dealers do, thus everyone could win. Orthwein does not have to worry about competition with Riegel for Thor leadership and Riegel's family cashes out his wife's investment in Thor.

What about Bob Wheeler? He is Airstream president, but since Thor owns all of Airstream, he is more like a Thor VP or division head. Guys in his position have to have a protector at the top—it may have been Wade Thompson (he died a couple of years ago and his share of the stock went to his children; the daughter is married to Dickey Riegel) and then Riegel. If Riegel is out, what happens to Wheeler?

None of us knows the personal intricacies of the Thor leadership. We don't know if the split was amicable or not. I suspect it was done for positive reasons as everyone can benefit. We'll be watching this to see how it sorts out, but I would be nervous if I were Bob Wheeler.

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Old 08-28-2012, 12:11 PM   #46
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I bet the former Airstream president has definite ideas upon those Airstream quality controlled units. I am anxious to see what develops when given creative control rather than cookie cutter numbers to deal with. Good luck Dickie!!!

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Old 08-29-2012, 09:03 AM   #47
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Great experience report and a great idea, Chuck.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:55 AM   #48
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Must have read the "Sex in Airstreams" thread, to form this business model
"Chip Tank" is in Vacaville Ca..
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:27 AM   #49
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I Started It!

Originally Posted by CDONA View Post
Must have read the "Sex in Airstreams" thread, to form this business model
If he did, I want a piece of this deal!
easily distracted by shiny objects
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:27 PM   #50
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The idea of the Sex in an Airstream thread adds all sorts of marketing possibilities. Some are even legal.

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Old 04-01-2013, 05:33 PM   #51
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UPDATE...Dutch Mandel, executive editor of AUTOWEEK, has a nice piece on the Riegle's "Airstream 2 Go, the first and only factory-authorized Airstream trail rental company in the states". According to the piece in the 4/1/13 issue, he purchased trailers and GMC Yukon Denalis to haul 23' and 28 AS's. A concierge will plan the trip and sweat the details.
Website is Welcome | Airstream2Go. Looks like the same ad agency that does the AS site did this one.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #52
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I would be nice if they would update their site with pricing, etc.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:57 PM   #53
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Pricing might scare people away. I don't think you can find it on the Airstream company site either.

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Old 04-01-2013, 06:33 PM   #54
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Without information on pricing or locations, the A2Go website really isn't well-positioned to capitalize from the publicity from the Autoweek piece.

Too bad, because I could benefit from this idea being successful - would love an Oregon coastal trip in an Airstream, but I don't have time to drive there.

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Old 04-01-2013, 07:02 PM   #55
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After reading this thread in it's entirety, it seems like the major problem we (airforums citizens) can foresee is the renter towing. MOST other airstream rental co.'s out there will deliver and set it up for you, then come pick it up for you. sort of the 'wet lease' described earlier, where the plane comes with a pilot.

There aren't many of these companies on the east coast. I've considered this might be a good business model, IF you were to tow it for the renter. I just can't imagine throwing a 25' Airstream on someone who may have never towed before. We had our trailer almost 10 months before we towed it!

Edit: Does the airstream company not have an official presence on the forums?
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:18 PM   #56
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The site will not load on my IE9?????


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airstream 2 go, rental

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