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Old 03-15-2012, 03:12 PM   #127
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Gene, your right about the dealers getting paid to do the Pre-Delivery inspections and set ups with the customer. I wonder if the home office has been looking closer at how the dealers actually do this. I know when I was having warranty work done earlier this week, there were may new faces, attitudes were different and the GM knew everything that was going on. I was impressed.
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Old 03-15-2012, 03:26 PM   #128
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Gene, your right about the dealers getting paid to do the Pre-Delivery inspections and set ups with the customer. I wonder if the home office has been looking closer at how the dealers actually do this. I know when I was having warranty work done earlier this week, there were may new faces, attitudes were different and the GM knew everything that was going on. I was impressed.
drew,

Was this at the dealer or JC?


Bob
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:52 PM   #129
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Back in 2005, before we bought the Bambi, when we were still shopping around, we stopped by the dealership to take a look at the inventory. The salesman was busy with a customer, but he knew us well enough to tell us to go ahead and he'd catch up to us. He said there was a 25 ft. AS that had arrived earlier that day, and that he didn't know what condition it was in, but he believed it was unlocked. It was, and when we went in we saw a lot of construction debris on the floor, like the kind you find in the out in of the way areas when repairing or cleaning, except it was larger in both size, and quantity. If I recall, the curtains, bedding, sheets, and pillows were in plastic bags. The television was still in the box in a closet, and there was some protective plastic on some of the appliances. So, I'm thinking there is a fair amount of prep work done by the dealer.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:52 PM   #130
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We are up to something useful now.

It is the dealerships that are often the culprit in many new units. They should be testing the systems and correcting faults prior to delivery. I believe these things are delivered dry to the dealers, it is up to them to fill and check the systems and winterize as needed.

Heating, cooling, electrical checks and calibrations should all be done by dealers. They should be cleaned, loosened construction debris removed, and washed without scratching the finish all up or blasting water into fridge openings.

They should be delivered clean, undamaged, fully serviced, calibrated, all systems checked, and ready to pack for camping. And a thorough description of how things work.

The dealerships are not holding up their end, and passing the buck off to the manufacturer.

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Old 03-15-2012, 05:51 PM   #131
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Doug,

I don't fully agree...the dealer has a right to expect that all systems work as designed.

A full clean-up and re-check is part of the PDI, but they should not be required to fix what in most cases is just poor attention to detail. ie ...systems that never worked in the first place, poor fitment, sloppy caulking, leaks.... etc,etc.

"Let the dealer take care of it" is just not acceptable in most cases.

BTW.. after the WP failed first time out...I took my trailer back to the dealer and we both did the PDI over again... Airstream sent ME the pump, I had no confidence and installed it myself...they closed 6wks later...I wonder why?

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Old 03-15-2012, 05:54 PM   #132
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Airstream should know which dealers do the work and which don't. If Airstream doesn't know, that is carelessness. Maybe it is so hard to sign up and keep dealers that the company is afraid to keep tabs on them.

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Old 03-15-2012, 08:10 PM   #133
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One has to wonder why the dealership where I bought my Airstream, that had sold Airstreams for over 26 years, decided to drop the line and become a parts and service facility. The quote below from the letter they sent to the local WBCCI unit cites declining sales, and I have no reason to believe otherwise.

"Our sales of new Airstream products have continued to decline and after much discussion with Airstream, we have mutually agreed to become a service and parts facility only."

But I do know, from my experience with them, they were having a difficult time getting warranty repair approvals from Airstream. At least, that's what I was told when they were working on my AS, and some things didn't get fixed. They still advertise Airstream "factory trained" technicians on their web site. Wondering if this type of arrangement with Airstream is typical?
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:58 PM   #134
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Bob,

A dealer...

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Old 03-15-2012, 09:23 PM   #135
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SilverRanger,

I wonder how much the economy and the cost of a new A/S drives stock and dealer desire to carry A/S. While I was at my dealer earlier this week, there were only 10 new A/S in the lot. There were easily 2-3 times as many SOB's on the lot. Two years ago the difference wasn't so great. In the day and a half I was there, they were preping 1 A/S, 1 pop-up, and 2 large SOB's.

I'm not sure if there is any correlation in these numbers, but I'm sure for the price of a nice A/S, a larger trailer can be purchased. Not everyone knows or cares about A/S... size is everything.

I agree with Bob, the dealer should not fix the bad or sloppy factory workmanship, but the dealer should ensure the PDI is completely performed. They should be in effect a 'detail shop' that teaches or instructs the new owners on their new trailer.

I believe A/S keeps tabs on their dealer network, and their regional reps. I'm sure someone has read the posts here, paid particular attention to all of the negative comments on our views of quality, and decided enough was enough. As I wrote in an earlier post, I did notice a difference in the atmosphere at my dealer this visit compared to when we purchased our trailer two years ago.

Is it a perfect product - no. But I am willing to bet our trailers are better than most others out there.

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Old 03-15-2012, 09:38 PM   #136
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When people ask us about our Airstream we tell them the truth. We like it, it looks cool, it tows well, but the quality isn't what it should be. They are always surprised. A lot of people we meet on the road have good impressions about Airstreams, at least for now.

But others must be saying the same things we are. Many do on the Forum and have for years. People who are interested in buying an Airstream discover the Forum and many have posted that they have decided on not buying one at all, or buying a used one, because of the frequent reports of poor quality.

If the people who have said they decided on not buying an Airstream actually did not, the company has lost millions in sales. But most people follow threads and never post, or hardly ever post, and I assume many of them also never bought that new Airstream they were interested in. That could mean many, many more millions lost.

Word of mouth is what determines most of a companies' reputation. Before the internet, it took a long time to get the word around, but now it takes seconds.

Airstream needs to recognize this. They tried responding here a couple of years ago, but the many, many complaints appeared to scare them off. In the past year or two the number of complaints has tapered off, but suddenly, recently, there have been a new group of them. They sound the same as the ones a few years ago. It is unclear just how many problems are those of the dealers doing a bad job in prep. But, the dealers are working for Airstream and Airstream is responsible for them. And why would Airstream not finish a lot of stuff and look to the dealers to do it? Are they ripping off the dealers by having them do a lot of finishing at a low hourly rate? This is self defeating.

As always there are people who have no or few problems and a smaller group who seem to think anyone who does not like the quality should keep quiet. I am glad some people have no problems. I wish there were more. I wish we were one of them. I don't think anyone should keep quiet.

We had about 60 issues in the first 2 years. The dealer was difficult to deal with, claimed they couldn't get an ok for warranty repairs, but once I wrote Thor's president, they all got taken care of. After that, I took the trailer to JC for warranty work. Since then, problems still come, though not as many. I continue to discover new problems with quality, design and workmanship. I fix them when I find them.

This is a cool trailer (though the coolness factor was created long ago), it does tow well (another thing from long ago), but it is not a premium quality trailer. The premium-ness was created a long time by an innovator and no one seems to have come close to that who has been running Airstream since. There must be a culture of carelessness among some workers in the factory. Perhaps it has been influenced by the cost cutting at the top. What top execs do is known by the newest, greenest new hire. In the same company, the service center strands out as if it were owned by another company. How long will that last? Which way does the company go? I think Thor has a new president—what will happen there?

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Old 03-15-2012, 10:21 PM   #137
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Gene, you nailed it perfectly! Dealer we bought from was very responsive until he wenk BK. Another dealer dropped the line and went to service and parts. I have some hot rods I've built from the ground up and a few classics I've restored. However, I didn't pay $60K plus for something that requires fix ups that should have been caught at the design or manufacturing stages. We're looking at Sprinters for touring and Airstream is not at the top of my list any more based on my experiences and looking at the 2012 models.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:48 PM   #138
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Gene, I wonder if Airstream has lost many sales because of this forum.

At least it didn't stop us from buying two new Airstreams in recent years. We researched this forum in depth before buying both, and decided many of the complaints were repeated over and over by the same people. (Take this thread on 2012 Airstreams, ten pages and a small handful of 2012 owners checking in, the rest we've heard before.)

We then researched other brands, talked to many, many owners and found the grass was no greener on the other side of the fence. Might as well own an American icon and face the music. Or enjoy it.

We enjoy the forum immensely, so much experience here, and are thankful for it. It is an invaluable resource for Airstream owners. But the constant running into the ground of the manufacturer is of little value, and unfair representation of the many hundreds of Airstream owners who appreciate their Airstream every day, quietly.

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Old 03-15-2012, 11:11 PM   #139
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Doug...there are 59,200 members listed on this forum. How many own Airstreams? Who knows. While you have some valid points, not all of us have had the experience of owning two perfect Airstreams. If you were to re-read the majority of the posts here, the common thread is frustration with design and QC that has been an issue for many posting here. Again, I looked at 2012 models and have noted that some of the problems that I have experienced in my 2006 have not been addressed. At the current price points of a new Airstream, I think that that concerns about QC, design and manufacturing are valid. As I noted above, an Airstream Interstate is not at the top of my list in my search for a Sprinter touring vehicle.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:42 AM   #140
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SilverRanger,
I wonder how much the economy and the cost of a new A/S drives stock and dealer desire to carry A/S. While I was at my dealer earlier this week, there were only 10 new A/S in the lot. There were easily 2-3 times as many SOB's on the lot. ...
At my dealer, the Airstream/SOB ratio you mentioned was similar. At the time, the company had been in business for 32 years, with 26 of those years selling Airstreams. They still sell a lot of SOB's, and have always enjoyed a great reputation among the locals.

Apparently, around 2004-2005, the smaller trailers were flying off the lot, and it was unusual for one to stay on the lot for more than two weeks before being sold. We lived over 60 miles away and had asked them to call us when they had a small AS arrive, and on more than one occasion, by the time we got there, it was gone or had a "sold" sticker on it.

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I'm not sure if there is any correlation in these numbers, but I'm sure for the price of a nice A/S, a larger trailer can be purchased. Not everyone knows or cares about A/S... size is everything...
For the asking price of our Bambi, I figure two similar sized SOB's could have been bought. Having owned a vintage Airstream, we knew exactly what we wanted, hadn't even looked at any other brand. Our decision to go small was, in part, due to the capability of our tow vehicle.

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I agree with Bob, the dealer should not fix the bad or sloppy factory workmanship, but the dealer should ensure the PDI is completely performed. They should be in effect a 'detail shop' that teaches or instructs the new owners on their new trailer.
That's always been my perception of the role of the dealer as well. Our trailer was prepped pretty well because it was on display at a show when we bought it, and the appearance was excellent. They went beyond the call of duty to instruct and orient us to the trailer, and even installed my weight distribution hitch.

The dealer would have not known about the flaws to the plumbing system unless they tested it by hooking up and pressurizing it. I'm not sure if that was part of their responsibility, or even if it should be. Although, it had what appeared to be, a factory sticker on the door stating that it had been winterized, that probably only meant that the lines had been blown out.

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I believe A/S keeps tabs on their dealer network, and their regional reps. I'm sure someone has read the posts here, paid particular attention to all of the negative comments on our views of quality, and decided enough was enough...
I believe they are listening in frequently, and occasionally jump in on the easily resolved, or 'positive' threads. One would think it would be in their interest to have a regular presence here. To me, their lack of participation is indicative of their commitment to quality control.

As Gene said, they started a thread a couple of years ago, and it obviously didn't go exactly as expected for them. Some of the criticisms were strong, and they should have been better prepared to answer some hard questions, but some were very constructive suggestions.

An earlier commenter mentioned the concept of "Caveat Emptor", and that the "the specifications are put out there for all to see in advance of purchase and it is not likely that our posts will have any effect on AS management UNTIL it cuts heavily into their profit margin." And then suggested "exchanging it on another brand that you find superior...".

I respectfully offer that, while being a valid concept at used car lots, cattle auctions, and swap meets, "Caveat Emptor" has less significance when purchasing a premium product with a warranty. When we bought our Airstream, I practically knew the specifications by heart. The issue here is when AS doesn't meet the published specifications and/or, either does does not acknowledge, or correct the deficiencies. And, whether they realize or acknowledge it, I truly believe it already has cut into their profit margins, but perhaps not significantly enough to inspire some true change.


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Is it a perfect product - no. But I am willing to bet our trailers are better than most others out there.
I completely agree. It's Airstream, or nothing.
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