Originally Posted by AgZep
Dang. We were going to go to Anthony, but we ran into a guy that said it would be "mostly business," which didn't sound all that exciting to us. This would have been interesting to hear.
Perhaps this makes business sense from the Thor point of view: Lots of the Thor subsidiaries make motorhomes now. I guess it's only advantageous for Airstream to do so if they have a product that really stands out, and brings in a customer the others wouldn't. But if the special Airstream models won't sell, it's hard to justify building them. Pity: I'm a huge fan of the A series. Not like I'm in the market now though.
Are we to assume that trailers sales are so strong that they need a lot more capacity? If so, is the action all in the smaller models and basecamps, or accross the whole range? Are there motor home owners here that were looking to buy again in a couple years?
Ok, I'm sure I'm over my provocative question limit...
Here's the complete message a friend copied and sent me from the Yahoo discussion. It addresses many of the things we have been discussing. Again, I'm just passing on info., but it certainly appears to be the real thing.
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 07:38:35 -0600
From: "DT & BW" <firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: RE: Re: Motorhome Gossip...not gossip but fact
To put the source of this info to rest, it WAS Larry Huttle who spoke at the
WBCCI IBT rally held last week at Anthony, TX (near El Paso). He stated
that the new Classic motorhome had been put on the shelf. The replacement
for the Land Yacht is dead. The XL/Skydeck/A series will remain as special
orders for another 18 months to 2 year depending on demand. The Enterstate
and Parkway (b-van size based on Sprinter chassis) WILL remain in
production. The construction on the new motorhome plant has been halted
where it stands. Larry stated that the new Classic motorhome was complete,
considered timeless in design, and that A/S would review reviving it
periodically. Larry stated that A/S's core business of trailers was
performing well and that A/S remaining in the motorhome business was a
duplication of product available from other THOR owned companies. He did
state that A/S was considering having one of the sister THOR companies to
make an A/S branded motorhome, but that was still in discussion.
To anyone that has been to the A/S factory, you know the shortage of space
at the existing factory. With A/S TT production running on a 12 week
delivery schedule (about 3 times desired and normal) due to demand, the most
efficient and quickest way to create more space to increase production is to
pull the motorhome production out of the factory. Remember that the
existing Land Yacht was already a dead product due to GM redesigning the
chassis which was forcing A/S to design a replacement to the Land Yacht
(about 75 Workhorse chassis remain so if you want a new Land Yacht, get you
order in NOW).
As the GM of an Airstream dealership, I certainly don't see this development
as a sign of bad times, but rather the realization that motorhome sales have
tanked and with the current product line at or beyond end of life, the cost
of new product development/production being astronomical, a return to the
core competence of A/S (ie travel trailers) just makes good business sense.
According to Mr Huttle, this series of decisions was made over the Christmas
holiday. Could/would A/S reverse its decision? Well anything is possible,
but THOR management (ie Dickie) was apparently the final decision maker, so
a reversal would seem a very remote possibility.