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Old 02-15-2016, 09:33 AM   #183
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Airstream uses an outside marketing firm to do all those elaborate marketing spreads. Cheaper than trying to do it in house.


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Old 02-24-2016, 09:28 PM   #184
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My last blurb on quality control:

While hopping around the Internet, I came across an article meant for marketing professionals that compared the cost of attracting new customers vs. the cost of keeping a current customer. According to them, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Also, 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition vs. 18% that focus on retention. (http://www.invespcro.com/blog/custom...ion-retention/)

I my very humble opinion, Airstream seems to focus on getting new customers. They've been successful at it. Paying for expensive ads to create an image and sell products has worked. Where they appear to have fallen down has been customer retention, the less expensive side of the marketing equation. How do they improve customer retention? By improving quality control and reliability. By just biting the bullet and replacing lemons, and then dissecting those lemons to figure out exactly what went wrong. It may not be comfortable, but replacing a lemon is a fantastic opportunity for the company to learn and improve. I know that I'm hesitant to buy an Interstate only because of the company's apparent response (or lack thereof) when there are problems. I don't expect perfection, but if I spend well over $100,000 on anything, I don't want to be left hanging.

Airstream should also not ignore the folks who assemble the Interstate, either. These people know better than anyone else what's wrong with the manufacturing process. They know, in great detail, about each and every part that goes into an Interstate. They know the ergonomic problems of their jobs and what should be done to make their jobs easier so that they can get them done more quickly and can do them better. Fixing ergonomics is cheaper than paying doctors to treat injured workers. Additionally, I'm confident that these workers would know all about the problems of using parts and methods that are likely to fail during assembly or afterwards.

Every single employee (not just management) should be required to spend at least a weekend living in an Interstate in a remote location and report anonymously what's right and wrong with it. The location should be away from where the tester could get help or tools or even questions answered by the company. The cost would be minimal. What the company can learn is immeasurable. All it takes is management with ears to listen to people on the ground, rather than just listening to PowerPoint presentations from other executives.

No, Airstream is not the only RV company with quality problems, but improving quality and reliability are cheap ways to keep existing customers happy. Improving quality and reliability are also the best ways to get absolutely free marketing from customers: friends tell friends about their experiences.

Since they've been so successful with focusing on getting new customers, why should they care? Because the Class B industry is about to change in big ways. Germany's Hymer (a gigantic RV manufacturer in Europe) just bought Roadtrek. More important than any change to RV models or brand names is the fact that Roadtrek and Hymer together now have a lot more money to spend on every single aspect of their products and their marketing. Suddenly, the comfortable position Airstream has had may not be so comfortable any more. Keeping existing customers suddenly is critical.

I really want Airstream to be successful. We all do. But big changes are all around. And just like it is in nature, survival of the fittest is the ultimate rule.
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Old 02-24-2016, 09:44 PM   #185
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X2 SiennaGuy! X2
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:23 PM   #186
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It will be interesting to watch the changes Hymer makes to Roadtrek from design, quality and products.
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:15 AM   #187
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I read the specifications and the Hymer folks install the German made Truma instant on water heaters in their van. We have retrofitted the Truma "AquaGo comfort" model in both Airstream trailers.

We lost the dead weight of six gallons of water and the energy used to keep the water hot all the time. Two people can shower sequentially and not ever run out of hot water.

Having seen what the RV industry sells in the UK, the Hymer products are light years ahead. They may blow the wheels off the Airstream Interstates just on quality control issues. Their initial issue may be they are starting with a small V6 gasoline engine that may be challenged in the mountains or the highway speeds of our Interstates (80 mph in Texas). They do have diesel motors in their European models that I hope will eventually make it here.
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Old 02-25-2016, 02:24 PM   #188
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Airstream quality control

SeinnaGuy - can you provide an authoritative source that says Hymer bought Roadtrek. The stuff I've seen says they just have a cooperative agreement to have Roadtrek make Hymer vans for the North American market.

On edit - disregard my request. The info is public now. I've been offline for a few days dodging tornados in the south east. Here is a story with photo of the paperwork signing.
http://roadtreking.com/roadtrek-now-...-in-the-world/

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Old 02-25-2016, 05:51 PM   #189
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X2 SiennaGuy! X2
I'd like to say X3 but having spent the last 23 years in private sector business, I know that it works a bit differently than the pure numbers would suggest in terms of logic. Airstream is riding the market wave right now, making a killing while the killing is still good. "Sell more units" will always dominate in those conditions. It doesn't matter whether their cranked-out product is rational or not when evaluated on a longer timeframe. That's just the way business tends to work.

Coder caught a bit of backlash for his/her lemon law threads, but think about the numbers. After reading his/her latest progress reports, I looked up the market value of a 2015 Sprinter 3500 EXT. It was about $43,000 on KBB, but you can bet that Airstream is buying in bulk and getting the best deal out there. Airstream is charging about $100,000 for the upfit that is then called the Interstate. If you weigh the economies of scale that can be gained through the application of assembly line technologies that include CNC, they have to be making remarkable profits (or there is something wrong with them). I am incredibly glad that we did not buy a new Interstate only to find the quality issues that others have found. I would have been furious beyond words - probably furious enough to invoke a lemon law protection if one had been available to me. For a $100,000 effective surcharge, I would expect perfection or something very close to it. And I think that would be a reasonable expectation in this context.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:14 PM   #190
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It was the same reasonable expectation we had for our $100,000 2014 Classic. Many tens of thousands dollars later, we have it about where we want it and, from all the modifications and repairs we made, really the way it should have been built originally.

We must remember that Airstream only sells to their authorized dealers (the qualification seems to be more based upon the ability to pay for the trailers than the ability to service and repair the trailers), so those long lead times are not necessarily based on really "sold" trailers but inventory as well. There are more than a few dealers that still have "new" 2014 and 2015 models on their lots due to poor model selection for inventory in their local markets.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:48 PM   #191
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So Switz, do you recommend buying any Airstream or just have an extra 40% to fix it properly. Or plan B, buy another brand.
I am really starting to get cold feet on purchasing an Airstream after reading these forums. Sounds like they are garbage.

Why would anyone spend fifty or one hundred thousand knowing they are getting a product that will need thousands in repair?

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Old 02-25-2016, 08:03 PM   #192
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Why would anyone spend fifty or one hundred thousand knowing they are getting a product that will need thousands in repair?
Why would anyone buy some other brand knowing that in five or six years there won't be enough of it left to repair?
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:47 PM   #193
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Generally, I don't post on the "quality" threads because mine was built 30 years ago. But I got to thinking about that -- thirty years ago! I bet the first owner had it back for warranty repairs, the second had maintenance expenses as well. I am the third and I have had my hours and dollars spent as well.

I don't see many 30 year old SOB's out there that aren't lawn ornaments in somebody's yard...

If I could afford new, I would buy one and leave it to my heirs and their heirs.

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Old 02-25-2016, 09:17 PM   #194
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....

Why would anyone spend fifty or one hundred thousand knowing they are getting a product that will need thousands in repair?

Dave
There's a big difference between fifty and one hundred, and an even bigger difference between both and one hundred and fifty.

My personal opinion is buy used and invest in those repairs and upgrades on the used vehicle. My husband and I stumbled into that scenario as total newbs, but hindsight being 20/20, I'd do it exactly the same way again, because Plan A (buying new) doesn't make financial sense to me and because there isn't a viable Plan C that anyone has articulated. Except for that one high-end independent Sprinter upfitter that nobody has time to wait for (the name escapes me), and self-built which nobody has time to do.

I mean, if fixing, hardening, and upgrading costs (let's just say) $20,000, wouldn't it be better to spend $20,000 on a $50,000 purchase rather than $20,000 on a $100,000 purchase? In the latter scenario, you're essentially paying to replace a lot of the stuff that should have been covered by your hundred. Or else you wouldn't have logically paid a hundred in the first place.

That being said, it's almost impossible to buy used right now. I've only seen one decent T1N in the national market in the past two or three months, and it might be the one that Angela just bought.
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:08 AM   #195
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When I bought my Safari it was 8 years old. The PO lived close enough to Jackson Center to have them do all the normal service, all warrenty items (few according to the records) and the summer before I bought her a new water heater and AC. The only must do money I have spent in almost two years is for a new jack that self destructed and new tires. Want to do projects included a new modern converter, a pair of 6 volt Trojans and a new mattress. Makes me feel pretty good about my decision to buy used when I read all the complaints from new buyers. Especially people that buy several new and seem to do nothing but complain about them.
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Old 03-15-2016, 03:52 PM   #196
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Airstream Interstate is not the best quality construction.

Much of details are built very fast and overlooked.
Although the product itself was designed very well and it's major components are of a good quality, many things should be installed with more attention to details.

However, being an experienced owner of many different Mercedes-Benz' models, I conclude that, despite of our complaints, the Interstate is based on a Sprinter model, and the Sprinter itself is not the Mercedes which made Mercedes a Mercedes. Sprinter is a bus and it has many flows that Mercedes-Benz would not allow on its different models. So, I assume that "Advanced RV" is not better than AI because both made on the same chassis and for the same reason: to have a faster profit.

Nevertheless, I love what I have, and nothing can be better unless you make a special order, let say from "Prevost", who will exclusively build for you a personal road-craft based on the same Sprinter van. For half-a-million, for the moment...
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