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Old 12-08-2005, 12:43 AM   #1
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AirStream numbers....

Hi all -

Got to thinking last night ( Dangerous! I know!) and started wondering if anyone has a total production number (exact or rounded) of number of trailers that have rolled off the AS line.

I have seen the "97% still on the road" number and got to thinking, what is that number? How do they know that it is 97%? Is there a number for WBCCI memberships?

Now I remember, I saw the CW magazine and it said they had over 600,000 President's Club members and that got me to thinking... That is a LOT of people, and $ that get spent on RV Makes me think of that FullTiming Budget guy, take his numbers of $'s spent x 600,000, or even a million and you are talking serious money in a flash.

Anywho....

Just curious.

Axel
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Old 12-08-2005, 08:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverToy
Hi all -

Got to thinking last night ( Dangerous! I know!) and started wondering if anyone has a total production number (exact or rounded) of number of trailers that have rolled off the AS line.

I have seen the "97% still on the road" number and got to thinking

Just curious.

Axel
I haven't heard that 97% number before. Airstream says its 60% in most of their press info. I think a lot of that number guessing may have been via WBCCI numbers since there are known records there. Once the trailer is turned loose, Airstream really has no idea of how many are still rolling. You probably would have to have DMV records from each state to find how many are licensed.

A person could do some real rough estimations by some of the production numbers. I think when I went up to the factory in the summer of 2001, they were building 18 trailers a week. If you figure that the factory probably has at least a month of down time, and if those 2001 numbers were an average, they wouldn't have put more than 864 trailers on the road for that model year.

This is answers a lot of the questions from folks who say they don't see a lot of Airstreams on the road. Quite honestly when you add up the production numbers, figure out the 40% fallout, that's not a lot of trailers to spread out over the adjacent 48 states and Canada.

Jack
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:21 AM   #3
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Airstreams on the road

The trailer production has been ongoing for many more years than the motor homes. I have heard numbers like 100,000 since the 30's. I have also heard guesses that 60% of that still exist (be it on the road or in someone's backyard or farm field). At one time there were up to 20,000 were members of WBCCI at its peak in the 60's. Membership is now in the high 7,000's. My guess is there are about 30,000 that actually get any road time in a given year. If you add up the numbers just on this forum, (with quite a few of us owning more than one) we account for about 6,000 of them. Good Sam has over a million members, so the Airstream groups are small patotoes by comparison to them. Family Motor Coach has over 40,000 members and they put on rallies with 6,000 attending.
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Old 12-08-2005, 02:04 PM   #4
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Number crunching

Rich Luhr posted some very interesting info on this topic in March of '04:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstream Life
The factory says about 75,000 are still "on the road". This is an estimate based on DMV registrations, repair records, parts sales, etc. Keep in mind it might include a few which are legally registered with the DMV but rotting in a field.

Let's assume it's fairly accurate. That means about 125,000 were built over the past 70 years.

The other 40%, well, they are rotting in fields, in scrapyards, etc. That's where the original vintage parts come from!
Source: http://www.airforums.com/forum...ighlight=60%25 post #6
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:13 AM   #5
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125,000???? What???

Rog -

Thanks for the reply linking to the post that says 125,000 AS's have been built!? Is that a real number?

He mentioned that AS went through DMV registrations and etc... Are they kidding? No way someone is going to sit around and do that - can they even get that sort of info from the DMV? Heck, I remember the VA DMV wouldn't even give you own info back - you had to supply it all,EACH time, they just clammed up and sat there and stared at you if you didn't know Lic #, etc... It would been funny if it hadn't been so maddening!

I could see, using the plate numbers when getting work done or ordering parts, that that might give a resonable 'estimate' of what is out there, BUT roadworthy??? Heck, somebody might be ordering for 2 Overlanders that happen to be sitting in his drive. LOTS of slop in that method, IMO.

Closest on the production side is to go back and count invoices per month for each year - then add.
As to the on the road # - I am SCKEPTICAL to say the least. No really good way to do it since there are so many subsets, clubs, vintage, hunter shacks, - there is really no way to get a solid and believable number. I guess that won't stop the claims from coming, huh?

Seems like it should be higher than the "60%" they use. I see FAR more AS's being used than just sitting there and rotting. But that might just be me....

Axel
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverToy
Seems like it should be higher than the "60%" they use. I see FAR more AS's being used than just sitting there and rotting. But that might just be me....Axel
Airstream kept very sloppy records in their early years. I've contacted them with vin numbers on two vintage trailers in the past and been advised that they have no record of that number.
60% is probably a fair guestimate based on the info that is available.
The number still in service might even be increasing as AS treasure hunters like myself pluck the old abandoned units from the fields and put them back on the road.
Determining the precise number that were built and still in service is an impossible task. I helped my son-in-law tear down and part out an old Ambassador that was beyond hope of restoration. My daughter-in-law's husband beefed up the frame and uses it as a flat bed trailer. The vin number is still stamped into the tongue, so that trailer, technically speaking, is still in service. The aluminum went to a recycler and other useable parts from that trailer went to people who needed them. I guess you might say that old Ambassador is still in service today. I think of it as an organ donor.
Many other old AS trailers have met the same fate.
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Old 12-11-2005, 10:32 AM   #7
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There is a company here in Detroit who do research for the auto manufactuers, R.L. Polk inc. They supply information such as the number of regestered vehicles still on the road. This information comes from all the states vehicle registrations and is updated on an annual basis. I don't know if they also do trailer information, but they do have the ability too if a manufacturer was willing to pay for the information. The auto companys use this service if they need to perform a safety recall on older cars which may be owned by the second or third owner. The info they provide the auto companys includes the current owners name and address.
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Old 12-12-2005, 12:55 AM   #8
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Info in the bank, or on the shelf?

Apple -

Is the RL Polk info stuff that they have already gathered but not released or is it something they have to go back and 'do' for someone that asks? Perhaps AS got a 'number' years ago and are relying on it even now. The 60% ( or whatever it is these days) seems suspect to me. Parameters and guidelines along with a "number" always go a long ways to making me at ease when I see some 'hype' that gets put out into the general consumption - but that's me.

The 'background' on RL Polk and like companies might be interesting, to hear from those that are 'in the know!'.

Thanks for the contribution.

Axel
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Old 12-12-2005, 09:38 AM   #9
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Airstream would have to order information from a company like R.L. Polk. The auto companys all have Polk under contract to provide information. They also use them to develope sales data by county by state, of there product vs. competitors. There may be other companys doing the same but the only one I am aware of is Polk.
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Old 01-06-2006, 12:23 PM   #10
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R L Polk has been around for many many years. There is another that I am aware of and that is Wards. (No relation to the department store)

And that is how the numbers and ratios or percentages are calculated.

The data goes from the state DMV records to one of the companies litsed above or anyone interested in paying a fee. I worked for a company that bought the names, addresses and vins in the early 90's. And that info is bounced off of production data.

Both of those sources have their issues in getting accurate data. From thelate 60's to current there is better data collected. Mostly because the government required manufacturers to gather the data in the event of a safety recall. And all of that data has been collected years ago so a manufacture only needs to add the current model year to make a statement. Like the truck manufacture commercial stating that 97% of the vehicles manufactured are still on the road. (Or at least still registered. And states like CA require that you register even non running/licensed vehicles so they can keep track.)

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