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Old 08-19-2011, 08:29 AM   #1
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Cool New Sport - Depreciation question

I have wanted an Airstream forever and am finally taking the plunge on a 2011 Sport. It interests me because of the floor plan and general 'pod' feeling. fantastic. I plan on living in it full time + travel, btw.

I need a reality check on the downside <this will help me explain my reasoning for this purchase to friends and family, who are likely to continue to wonder about me>.

Could anyone venture what the value change (depreciation) will be say in six months, or even after I drive it off the lot?

Thanks soooo much!!

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Old 08-19-2011, 10:03 AM   #2
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Like any vehicle, you'll lose several thousand dollars as you leave the lot. It's normal. You should, of course, try to bargain the new price down as much as you can. That will lessen the hit.

Which trailer are you getting? I'm guessing that you're buying a 16' Sport. My gut feeling, based on what I've seen in the used market, is that it's easier to sell small Airstreams (especially if you play up the Bambi part of the Sport Bambi name) than bigger ones. In other words, since you're buying Airstream's least expensive trailer, and it's a fairly desirable size and good floorplan, you'd mitigate some of the losses.

But - this is a small trailer for full time living. Even the Sport 22 is kinda small. Just checking - have you looked at other Airstream models to see if something might be more ameniable for full-timing? Just make sure that this is the right trailer for you.


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Old 08-19-2011, 12:22 PM   #3
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Hi Tom,
Thank you for the thoughtful feedback.
I am looking at the 22' - yup the size of my walk in closet... Very zen, fun. :-) Actually, full time is likely to last six months and then back to stick construction.

Drive off the-lot hit is what I expected - and from what you suggest, the
smaller AS are a little easier to sell if an exit becomes necessary.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:04 PM   #4
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"Buyer's remorse" Airstreams sold near-new are typically priced by dealers at around 20% off msrp. Dealer consignment fees/markup and policies vary widely but figure at least 10%.

Exact amounts would vary regionally and seasonally and are also affected by the specifics of the trailer (any options or customizations, for example, would depreciate faster than the base price) and the seller's situation (how fast unit has to be sold, whether it is a trade or outright sale).
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:31 PM   #5
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While there are no doubt certain attractions to buying new, I think there is a significant saving to be had by buying a few years old and letting someone else take the biggest depreciation hit - assuming you can find a trailer that meets your needs.

When we bought our 2005, it was three years old - we certainly could have payed cash for a brand new one, but (maybe being a cheap b*gger), I felt that to me, it just wasn't worth the extra $$ when we could get a used one that looked almost brand new for about half price.

Three years later I am not sorry with going that route.

We have had a couple of minor repairs to make that would have been covered with a new trailer, and also invested in a new set of tires once the originals were 5 years old, - but that was less that $1k all told.

If you are buying and intend selling again as soon as six months, you might resell a used trailer at virtually what you paid if you buy well.

But depending on your situation, I appreciate that this may not be worth worrying about!

Just a thought! Good luck, I'm sure you will have some great adventures full timing!

I'm afraid I will never get to try it, as my better half, although enjoying our annual snowbird trips for 6-7 weeks does even wish to discuss teh possibility about full-timing!

For my part, I could see myself quite enjoying it for a year or two as a transitional experience at the time of downsizing our home if/when that ever happens - right now we have too much "stuff" and hobbies anyway to think about downsizing!

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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