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Old 02-19-2015, 09:31 PM   #1
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Dealing with a Dealer


Just became a new member today.

Will be going to a dealership this week-end to discuss purchase of a new Airstream. Looking at 25FB International.

My question is:

What is the average 'discounted' price I can expect from the dealer? I assume it's much like buying a car. You never pay the sticker price. Is haggling for a lower price expected?

Any other sound advice from your past experience in buying a new Airstream?

Thanks and look forward to many years in this new community!

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Old 02-19-2015, 10:27 PM   #2
Len and Jeanne
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I think they can easily come down 10%, but then as with a car, it sort of depends on whether you have a trade-in that they could resell, whether it's last year's model that they want to move off the lot, and so on. Or sometimes you could pay closer to the asking price, but negotiate an add-on. If you can check around with different dealerships' sticker prices and for sale by owner trailers, you can get a better sense of a good price. The last time I checked the main AS website, they gave some suggested retail prices, so of course a dealer can give you less than that.

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Old 02-20-2015, 12:28 AM   #3
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Unlike auto dealers, RV dealers expect prospective customers to make several visits making up their minds before they buy. There should be little pressure to pick your trailer and negotiate a price the same day. Which is a good thing, because it gives you some options.

What I did three years ago was to visit my local dealer and pick out what I wanted, then I contacted FIVE dealers by e-mail and asked them all to quote me a price on that exact model with those exact options. Of the five, one didn't answer at all, and one tried to quote on something similar but not identical to what I asked for. So those two were out of the competition. Of the other three, I got prices from each and figured out who was lowest. Then I asked the two that were higher if they could beat the lowest price. One dealer could beat the to-date lowest price, but that one wasn't the closest dealer.

Since it would cost more in out-of-pocket expenses to travel a day one-way to buy one versus traveling an hour one-way to buy one, I decided to give my local dealer a chance to match the then-lowest price and save a few more bucks on the "sunk" costs. The closest dealer said he could match the price, but not go lower, so I accepted his offer and sent my thanks and regrets to the other dealers, and purchased the unit I wanted from the local dealer at the agreed-upon price.

My final price was approximately 20% below MSRP. You may not do as well. Or you may do better. There are a number of factors that go into determining how low a dealer is willing to go that may be different for you than it was for me.

The most important thing is, before you start negotiating, determine the most you're willing to spend. Do not tell the dealer what that number is, but write it down on an index card and keep it in your pocket. As long as your negotiated price is below the number you've written down, it's a win. If the negotiated price is higher, thank the dealer for his time and walk away. There's always another dealer who who can sell you the trailer you want.
WBCCI #1105

My Google-Fu is strong today.
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Old 02-20-2015, 02:19 AM   #4
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IMO, about 18-20% is the best one can get discounted. However, on a new Classic this may not be true as the demand is apparently quite high.

One of the realities is that if you purchase from a non local dealer and have problems you cannot expect much dealer "goodwill" when dealing with warranty issues. And if a service facility is very busy, they will take care of their customers first. This is true in the car business as well.

Thus what protagonist said about travel cost can be added to loss of goodwill and it supports the idea of a local dealer purchase being preferred.

I have purchased three new AS from my local dealer Out of Doors Mart and have felt like I was given a fair deal each time. I consider my dealer as a friend and not just a business relationship.

Good luck, happy trails, drive safe...

Ms Tommie Lauer
Greensboro, NC
2015 Serenity 30 RB / 2008 Dodge Cummins 4 X 4
WBCCI #4165 AIR #31871
Happy trails and Good Luck
Ms Tommie Fantine Lauer, Greensboro, NC
AIR #31871 K4MTL
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:15 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Yes, 10% would be nice and reasonable. I just hate the haggling part though, but hope it works for both of us to walk away happy
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:20 AM   #6
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I really like your plan of contacting various dealers with a price offer and going from there. That can be a nice bargaining tool. Thanks so much for your input!
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:22 AM   #7
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Very good insights from you too. Will take all this in mind as i go forward the next few days or weeks. Thank you!
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We purchased a 2015 FC 25FB in September. We got got 12% off MSRP. We knew exactly what we wanted and found two of them. One was at Colonial in New Jersey and the other was at Dixie in FeFuniak Springs, Florida.

We got a price from Colonial and asked Dixie if they could match it, and they did. We went with Dixie as they are only 35 miles from the house.

I hope this helps.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 02-20-2015, 11:51 AM   #9
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Since 25s are a common floorplan maybe you can stand to wait when the 2016s start coming into the dealers. I'm guessing you want a 25 with ducted air. Unless the 2016s have a better ducted air solution there shouldn't be much difference.

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Old 02-20-2015, 12:07 PM   #10
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My suggestion is what we have done. If the local dealer has a good service department with good service reputation I would and have gone in and tell them - I want you guys to stay in business for my service needs (which is where they make the big bucks, not warranty service, but after warranty and any add on things you might want done). I've gotten some prices from other dealers, never disclose the price and simply ask them for one price, one quote - and then make up your mind.

I always try to put the entire thing in their hands, which it is anyway, but let them know I value them as a partner.

I sold a type of motor vehicle for years and when someone approached my sales people with an attitude like I use (not my original idea or method) we always gave them a rock bottom price and treated them well. Dealers don't like the game anymore than we do, the back and forth nit picking etc. So puff them up, give them the shot to give you a quote and see where it lands. I would do as several others have suggested and actually get other prices. My wife and I do pay more for a product from a dealer we like and one that has good service, not much, but we are wiling to do so.

As an aside, keep in mind people will tell you they got 15% or more off and their unit may be three or four years old. I'ts not the same game today, AS has had a booming year past and 2015 is going to be bigger - some locals you can't find one on the lot that is not sold. So, a discount anywhere from 10% - 15% is a pretty good one when a supplier can sell all they can make, which means AS corporate is not giving the dealers many if any incentives to move product.

Good Luck, you gonna love it.


2017 30' Classic - F350 6.7 Diesel Crew
USAF - Military Training Instructor (TI) - 68-72
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:16 PM   #11
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Thanks SuEllen and Brian. I hope I get so lucky!
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:17 PM   #12
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Yes, the duct air is the selling point, otherwise I might try for a 2014.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:21 PM   #13
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Thanks Allen and Bud. That is some good strategy! Kindness and flattery will get you further than 'buyers attitude'. I'm sure this will be a good season for dealers and AS
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:44 PM   #14
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Buying tips

Most of these new car buying tips also apply to RVs:

How to Effectively Negotiate a New Car Price | New Car Buying Guide - Consumer Reports

For the best deal, research prices thoroughly before beginning the final sales process. If you are uncomfortable haggling, find a friend or relative who is experienced in "the dance" and take them along.

As others have stated, the lowest price may not be the best price. Each dealer must make a profit to stay in business, so don't expect one to give you an Airstream for free. However, a reasonable profit is different from price gouging; so be an informed shopper. There's a price compromise where both you and the dealer will be happy; you just have to find it.

Happy shopping!

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