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Old 10-08-2011, 05:31 PM   #1
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2011 19' Flying Cloud

Hi all. My wife and I are looking at a new from inventory 2011 19' flying cloud. The list price is around 45,000. In this economy and this time of the year does any one have any thoughts about how far the dealer will negotiate? I'm thinking of going back with an offer of about 38,000. Anyone who has recently been in the same situation?

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Old 10-08-2011, 05:49 PM   #2
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At either price point that is a major purchase for a recreation vehicle you will use on a limited basis. You certainly want to be sure you choose the right model and size for you and your wife. A 19 ft trailer gets very small after a short period of time. My wife and I have been married for 30 plus years and all of are children are grown and married, but we could not stay in a 19 ft trailer for over a day or two. You might want to rent a 19 ft trailer for a weekend or two to try it out before making a $38,000.00 purchase decision. Just on option to consider.

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Old 10-09-2011, 08:18 AM   #3
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Previous poster didn't answer your question. Yes, give it a try. All they can do is come back with a counter offer. By the way, there are loads of us who do just fine in 19-22' coaches.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:41 AM   #4
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We just bought a new Airstream, second one in 2 1/2 years.

A 2011 Airstream is now last year's model, the 2012's have nice improvements, dimming LED's, combo elect/propane water heaters, china toilet, etc. There is already some loss of resale value with a 2011. There should be a tag on the trailer showing it's build date, it may have been in inventory a long time (over a year) subject to weather and lots of customers coming and going, trade show model, borrowed parts for other trailers, scratches and dents you won't see until it's home.

So to say that's a good price is hard to say. I would not pay new price for a trailer that has been in inventory for a long time. In fact, I would spring for the difference and get the latest model as fresh from the factory as possible; you can still negotiate a good price.

A previous poster mentioned taking a look at a larger size. That's a valid point. We bought a 20' first time, fabulous trailer, enjoyed it immensely. So much so, we are spending six months a year in it, and needed more room. Bought a new 25'. You could save this costly step if you know for sure how you will use it the next few years or so. Think ahead. Smaller trailers are great travelers, larger trailers better suited to destination and stay awhile. So knowing your size need is a cost factor in the long run, although it may well take one trailer experience to know what you really need. We learned 20's are small, 30's are big, 25's good compromise.

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Old 10-09-2011, 10:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by danlehosky View Post
The list price is around 45,000. In this economy and this time of the year does any one have any thoughts about how far the dealer will negotiate? I'm thinking of going back with an offer of about 38,000.
You might be able to do significantly better. But you will never really know how far this dealer will drop the price until you get them competing against another dealer. Look around the internet, find another, similar new trailer within reasonable driving distance, call them and ask for their out-the-door price, then take that number back to dealer #1.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:21 AM   #6
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Buying a trailer is like buying a car or truck. When you know what you want, negotiate. I would probably start at $35k. This is also the ending of camp season for most areas. Look at the sticker and dealer inventory. If the dealer has a big inventory but slow turn over you will get a better deal than the dealer who has constant turn over. Lastly, how established is the dealer? It also seems that the 'off season' is when Airstream adds and cuts dealers.

We found that the list price is just that, a list price. Look at prices and availability on line. Heck get a quote from a dealer in a different area.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:38 AM   #7
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Size does matter and is one factor in a decision. 25' works for us, not for everyone. This is not the question you asked as Ahab points out and if you are convinced 19' is right for you, so be it.

Negotiating a price is an art not everyone is good at. The price a dealer is willing to take has something to do with how much they have in it, whether they are willing to take a loss on a year old trailer (sometimes moving inventory is more important than profit), the condition of the trailer (another issue is whether the batteries are ok after a year of discharging and recharging, for ex.), what the dealer's inventory is, the season of year, other dealers' prices, the dealer's financial condition, and when the loan on that trailer is close to renewal (dealers typically borrow money to have inventory—it used to be car dealers made better deals at the end of the month because loans were due every month, but that may no longer be true).

Some of this you can know and some you can't. This is a better season for deals, but more so in Minnesota than where you are in Texas. You can check other dealers' prices on the internet or by calling them—more and more vehicle sales are done on the internet and a distant dealer may ship a trailer to you to make a deal. The shipping won't be free, but built into the price, but still may be a better deal. Look around at the dealer—how large is their inventory, do they have a lot of buyer traffic on weekends, do all the trailers look good, is the shop clean and well organized? You know the trailer is last model year's and they surely want to get rid of it—maybe the price for a 2011 is much less than a 2012 and can make up for any improvements. Are they discounting 2011's vs. the same model 2012? What is the personality of the dealership—is it like a stereotypical dealership or do they seem better than that?

A lot of people have difficulty with tough negotiations. Maybe they are afraid they will lose a chance at buying something they fell in love with. Unlike a lover, trailers are not unique. Airstream makes more every week and the same model can be found elsewhere. If you seem to be at a standoff, remember the dealership wants to sell trailers as much or more than you want to buy one. Take your time, bring paper, calculator and pen to figure out the numbers and don't make quick decisions. Tell the salesman (or better yet the sales manager, the person you really want to talk to because that person makes the decisions in most cases—insist on talking to the sales manager). If you can, subtly make it clear you can walk at any time. When we reached an impasse, I told the salesman he could do better, we were going outside for a while for fresh air and when we came back, we wanted to hear a much better offer—we got a $2,000 better offer when we returned.

It is often said on the Forum that 15-20% off list is normal. I would think because it is a year old plus off season, they may be amenable to a better price. If you offer 20% off list, you will not get it because deals are always somewhere between list and your first offer—often, but not always, very roughly in the middle. 10% off list is $40,500. 20% is $36,000. 30% is $31,500. It is hard for people to offer $31,500 for a $45,000 list price item. You can tell them "that trailer is a year old and I know you want to get rid of it before you lose too much money on it. It doesn't have the improvements the 2012's have. I can't see paying anywhere near list price".

Skilled negotiators never take a first offer, and usually not a second. They want the other person to commit to a price first. That establishes where to start. The list price is a fiction, an illusion, and not to be considered a real offer. Tell the salesman, who will be trying to find out what you are going to offer ("what are you willing to pay? I'll take it to the sales manager"). Tell him you want to talk to the person who makes decisions. Then tell the manager to tell you what they really want for the trailer and that you consider the list price a fantasy. If they refuse to give you an offer, make an offer far below what you are comfortable. They may get angry, may tell you they have to make a profit, etc. They may say "how much profit do you think we should make?" Tell them that's their business and you don't care whether they make a profit or not. A manager once got so angry when I said that he had to walk out and contain himself. The salesman was standing there with his mouth open and I said to the salesman, "that's a sign of weakness. He'll be back". He came back with the real invoice and we made a deal; next time I came into the dealership, he got the invoice first, I got an even better deal and we got along fine. It is much harder to get invoice prices for trailers than it is for cars and trucks, but you can try.

Timing. This takes time and weekends are too busy for managers to take much time. Pick an early weeknight, take a nap so you are refreshed when they are not, and come in ready to be tough. Car dealers used to call customers who came in an hour before closing "night fighters". Watch for slimy managers who try to divide you and your wife by trying to scare a woman into something thinking that she will make you accept a bad deal—In have seen that tactic too. It does get to me and I don't handle it well; prepare your wife for that possibility. Her answer is "we work on this together; we both have to agree on any deal."

So next is respect. Sales managers have to be tough negotiators to survive. But they get bored with easy deals. They need stimulation just like anyone else. They respect tough negotiators because they are tough (or think they are). Because there are fewer Airstream dealers than Chevy or Ford dealers, they may think there is no effective competition, so make him know you have looked at prices on the internet and they are better and you think there is an even better deal available. Print out the other prices if you can, and show them to him—it establishes a lower price point than list and moves the eventual agreed price lower. Watch your emotions—anger defeats you, fear does too. A poker face is good although sometimes you have to pretend an emotion that will advance your goal.

This may not work with an individual dealer. Inside your stomach may be churning with what you are saying. You may have to work hard at this and go to other dealers or work online. But there are thousands of your dollars involved. If you can't make a deal, be polite, give the manager your phone number and tell him you are going to look on the internet or go to talk to another dealer, but if they have a better price, you'll listen to them if they call. A car dealer with whom I could not make a deal told me "you'll be back" meaning I'd never find a better price. The next store had a better price and I never came back to the first guy. And always acknowledge you hear them, but just don't agree.

I love negotiating. It was part of what I used to do. If I had infinite money I'd buy cars, trucks and trailers every week because it is fun for me. I get nervous too, but ignore it. My wife sometimes has to leave the room because the manager and I are having so much "fun" she can't stand it. If you are conflict adverse, bring a friend to help you who is not.

Ok, enough. I am avoiding changing oil, unloading trailer and truck and getting the chain saw ready to cut firewood. Good luck, think though your goals, have some caffeine and go at it.

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Old 10-09-2011, 11:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by danlehosky View Post
Hi all. My wife and I are looking at a new from inventory 2011 19' flying cloud. The list price is around 45,000. In this economy and this time of the year does any one have any thoughts about how far the dealer will negotiate? I'm thinking of going back with an offer of about 38,000. Anyone who has recently b
en in the same situation?
Make sure you read all the posts on the floors rotting out after 4-5 years. Make sure they will fix it for at least 10 years or move on to a better rv. JMO
I wouldn't touch it with a 10 ft pole. I'd go for a used 36-38 ft motorhome you can pick a good one up for price of an airsteam, without all the leaks that go with it.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:39 PM   #9
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We bought a gently used 19' Bambi and it works great for us! Short weekends and a couple of 7-10 days in the summer. Build quality may vary but our 06 has been great! No leaks no floor rot etc. We check the seals regularly and maintain pretty well. Start off low @ 35 and go from there. Good luck and keep us posted.
Get involved and sign up for a Rally!
WBCCI 4973
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:10 PM   #10
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Negotiations are a big pain in the rear! Please let us know how it goes. Thank you.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:30 PM   #11
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This May Be the Best Advice in Entire Thread

Originally Posted by KeithC View Post
A 19 ft trailer gets very small after a short period of time. My wife and I have been married for 30 plus years and all of are children are grown and married, but we could not stay in a 19 ft trailer for over a day or two. You might want to rent a 19 ft trailer for a weekend or two to try it out before making a $38,000.00 purchase decision. Just on option to consider.
(The best not counting the Crawford Gene dissertation on negotiation of course.) Rent a 19 footer, any 19 footer, and spend three consecutive nights in it. Our first Airstream was a 23' in which our first trip lasted for 40 days and 40 nights, a trip of Biblical proportions. Twenty-three feet was tight, especially when the dog got soaked by a thunderstorm. We determined by trial and error that we needed at least a 27' to ensure domestic tranquility. Since then we have had a 31' (from tranquility to bliss). Now we have a 30' that measures 31.' My point is that most are inclined to seek longer Airstreams if they use 'em much.
Until you have tried three nights in a 19, don't spend so much on a new Airstream that you can't get your money out if you want to trade up.
Ken L
2007 Classic Limited 30 (Sold)
2007Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:50 PM   #12
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We just bought a 2012 20' FC ... for two adults and one small dog ... at MSRP... and couldn't be happier. We figure that we had to just do it - pull the trigger - so to speak and that we will be ahead of any potential price increase having had several months to make payments * increasing equity* before we might have bought it next spring. As a retired secondary math teacher from a rural state, we could not have just plunked down the whole purchase price.
We started with a 16+ hard sided-pop up; then came a 19' box, and ... now *finally* the A/S we have wanted for the last decade!
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Old 11-02-2011, 05:26 PM   #13
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Congratulations Mfly2,
We really, really like our 19', and are two with a large dog. I would not like towing a long trailer to the spots we end up in, but thats our style. I am sure you will love the quality camping it avails, and the ease of towing a not so large trailer into some of our "wilder" camping locations in Montana.
Stop in sometime when in the Billings/Laurel/Yellowstone area.
Greg & Leslyn
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Old 11-02-2011, 06:48 PM   #14
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We have a 2007 19' Bambi and it suits us fine. We bought the trailer new and average about 80 overnights a year on the road. I have towed it over 35000 miles. That is something many of my friends with 30' and even 25' trailers don' t do. We have the trailer for traveling and hardly spend more that 5 days at one location. I can park about anywhere and have no problem getting fuel or driving in heavy traffic. I have a full size van with a V8 and hardly know the trailer is behind. We do not have a pet and we are average built folks. The space suits us just fine. The bed is a little challenging to make, but otherwise a great layout for the two of us.

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