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Old 02-20-2009, 05:04 PM   #29
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Does anyone know what Airstream's annual warranty costs are as a percentage of sales? I saw a figure the other day that showed Toyota, Honda, & Harley Davidson each at 1% of sales (considered very good). It would be interesting to see Airstreams or Thor's #'s.
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:19 PM   #30
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Emmett&Roxie, an extended warranty on your 2008? I purchased a 2008 and did not get any info about it, was that a dealer thing?
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:26 PM   #31
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Does anyone know what Airstream's annual warranty costs are as a percentage of sales? I saw a figure the other day that showed Toyota, Honda, & Harley Davidson each at 1% of sales (considered very good). It would be interesting to see Airstreams or Thor's #'s.
I don't have the actual numbers handy, but I recall reading here that a few years back it was way, way, way high....could be one of the reasons they consider some items like corrosion a maint issue since overlaying panels and dealing with that issue alone is VERY costly.

Airstream itself via it's dealers do not offer Airstream backed extended warranties. I believe any extended warranties are 3rd party.
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:28 PM   #32
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Thumbs up Thor

It's my understanding that Thor is a small investment group out of New York City who saw opportunity in the RV industry and purchased several struggling companies - Airstream being just one of them - Maybe got it from Harley during the Harley trouble years. Anyway, it's a spreed sheet investment company! A very good one. They are not hands on in the operations of the individual RV companies they own. Numbers go red, you better know why and have a logical plan to fix them or ELSE. So, if I were Thor I would shut down just about everything except design/engineering. I would apply Deming theories - just in time supply - zero tolerances - serviceability - efficiency - Test facilities - purchase my own parts/ appliance companies - incorporate critical path scheduling. Make these suckers bulletproof.

Then - when the economy begins to thaw - offer the best RV's to the world -Full range of choices but very limited brand names. I would be so confident in the product that it would come with a 10/100,000 warranty. I'd be the first to line up for a brand new classic 250

It's time to get out of this laminate /particle board/ synthetic/ formaldehyde mentality.
Just a thought
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:34 PM   #33
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Here is the actual story of how Thor came to be:

Thor Industries - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thor was started with the purchase of Airstream from Beatrice Foods and grew from there.

Oh and as for the 10 year warranty idea....good luck getting some of the issues resolved. If you've read this thread, you'll know what I'm talking about.....
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:17 PM   #34
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So, if I were Thor I would shut down just about everything except design/engineering. I would apply Deming theories - just in time supply - zero tolerances - serviceability - efficiency - Test facilities - purchase my own parts/ appliance companies - incorporate critical path scheduling. Make these suckers bulletproof.

Then - when the economy begins to thaw - offer the best RV's to the world -

It's time to get out of this laminate /particle board/ synthetic/ formaldehyde mentality.
Just a thought
If I were Thor I would fire the design and engineering teams and go back to building pre 1963 Airstreams and solve the problems you are talking about....
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:21 PM   #35
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Thor

I thought there was a Harley connection but good article about Thor - I think they are on track and hopefully will resolve some of the technical/maintenance issues we all have experienced
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:35 PM   #36
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Thor

BREAKING NEWS
Avondale: Thor Well-Positioned For Rebound
RV Business
Friday, February 20, 2009

Investment firm Avondale Partner LLC recently met with management from Jackson Center, Ohio-based Thor Industries Inc.

In a note to investors, Director Kathryn Thompson said that the RV industry is “at the peak of the RV bankruptcy cycle,” and that “cash-cushioned” Thor would be one of the strongest positioned companies when the market returns.

Although that turning point is still a matter of speculation, Thompson said that “investors are looking past the current quarter” and focusing on what companies will be left standing.

Thompson also addressed the need for a looser credit environment, noting, “(Thor) Management said that dealers appear to have demand for new product but are being prevented from ordering by their floorplan financing providers.”

Other observations included:

• Thor recently loaned $20 million to national dealer network FreedomRoads LLC. Thompson said that “it is our understanding” that $10 million was used to pay curtailments on existing product on dealer lots while the remaining $10 million was used to order additional Thor product. Privately held FreedomRoads maintains 10% RV retail market share, and Avondale estimates that Thor could see an additional $150 million to $200 million potential revenue from the deal.

• RV loans being included under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) could aid both retail and wholesale financing. Thompson said that given the higher FICO scores of RV loans, “RV paper could be included with auto loans to bring up average FICO scores in any sort of TALF transaction.”
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Old 02-20-2009, 08:13 PM   #37
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BREAKING NEWS
Avondale: Thor Well-Positioned For Rebound
RV Business
Friday, February 20, 2009
...
This is consistent with what I've heard of Thor as well.
Let's back up half a step and put on our specs.

Thor has a fair amount of cash.
Thor has other businesses besides RV (they make a mean bus, I'm told).
Thor's RV lines include HiLo and T@B as well as Airstream and the odd SOB line. The first three mentioned have models that may be towed by modestly powered and sized vehicles.
Thor had the uncommonly prescient presence of mind to get Airstream out of the Big Ole Motorhome business back in 2006. As dyspeptic as this was for the Spanish-American War vets in blue hats set, it was necessary. Monaco closed today at fifty two cents, Fleetwood has been de-listed (on the pink sheets now), and Coachmen sold their RV lines in Q4 of '08 at a loss just to get out of the business (they retained the manufactured housing business, which some speculators are betting will be the first part of the housing industry to de-zombie).

When the RV industry comes back, it probably won't come roaring back all at once, but re-emerge modestly by shakes and fits. First up will most likely be smaller units. Thor is positioned for this.

Now, what will be interesting to see is if anyone comes up with an RV based on the Fort Transit Connect Electric. If you could get 80 miles out of it, it might be a lot of fun for weekends near home.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:10 AM   #38
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Does anyone know what Airstream's annual warranty costs are as a percentage of sales? I saw a figure the other day that showed Toyota, Honda, & Harley Davidson each at 1% of sales (considered very good). It would be interesting to see Airstreams or Thor's #'s.
I do not know what it is, but I bet we could come up with a ballpack guesstimate.

My guess it that the warranty percentage is somewhere in the 5% range.

Their much larger cost is the foregone profits on lost sales due to manufacturing poor quality trailers.

John
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:49 AM   #39
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There is no question that Thor is in a better position than most. Also, FWIW, Thor does not typically dictate what the sibling companies do. From what I understand, it was Airstream and Airstream's decision alone not to continue on the MoHo segment.

Oh and for the record, what would you expect Kathryn Thompson to say (and from what I understand she is related to Wade F. B. Thompson) , the company is taking a beating and some segments may not make it through? That's why they always put the forward looking statement clause at the end of such discussions.

The fact is that the RV market is second or much further down the food chain than the real estate market and unemployment. The RV market won't be anywhere near the good 'ol days of 2002-2006 for a long time. Again, Thor fairing better than most, but keep in mind this is an Airstream forum, and Thor is only the parent company. How the economy improves might be better for the low to to high part of the lower RV products segments, but for midrange products like Airstream, who command a significantly higher price, and has frankly marginally better build and quality, might not be in such a pretty sight even in a slowly recovering industry. I think folks who have felt this hit this time around are going to be a lot more frugal and lean toward buying discretionary items like RVs. That's not to say the following of Airstream won't continue, but the question in my mind is how strong that following will translate into new unit sales..........
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:39 AM   #40
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Well said silvertwinkie, this downturn is unlike anything we have seen on this forum with exception of those depression era folks. However, for those in residential heating and cooling and I am sure the rv industry, this IS a mild depression. Call it what you want, but his will separate the men from the boys.

Look, I hope I am wrong and Airstream makes it. I love the damn things. However, I am daily in the trenches making a residential heating and cooling products business not only survive, but do well in this environment. If we were making even 1 of the major mistakes airstream is making, we would be eaten alive. I see it as daily, we have to take away from the other guy, there is NO new business. We discount, make deals, increase warranty, take back old inventory and when a unit fails, we do all we can to make it right. We make it EASY to do business with every day. No question or demand is taken lightly, and our competitors are acting like Airstream, and doing things the way they did for years. Its like taking candy away from a kid. Guess what, those companies are run by accountants. or owners who just dont get it.

I know it is different industries, but in the end most large established companies forget how they made it in the first place. I do not think anyone on this forum would disagree that airstream is in that position. With that, I submit they are in a very dangerous position. Someone needs to hit the brass over the head with a 2x4, or this will be great story of a brand with an ugly ending. It happens every day, in all industries, and life is not fair.
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:25 PM   #41
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Here is some additional info on Thor...this is not an endorsement to go off any buy stock....it's offered at face value to reinforce the comment that Thor is in a cash positive situation:

5 Cash-Rich Companies at Bargain Prices
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:07 PM   #42
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Could it have been Thor?

Could Thor have been the major public company that offered Monaco 50 mil for it's assets?

There aren't too many major RV builders left, and of the one's left, not many with lots of cash to do something like this:

Monaco Coach receives $50M offer for main assets - Yahoo! Finance
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