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Old 10-30-2006, 06:48 PM   #1
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questions on buying a new build?

*can i buy direct from manufacturer?
*who are the best dealers with the best prices?
*where do i obtain truthful cost/pricing/invoice?
*what time of year is best to buy?
*cash or finance?
*can i pick up unit @ the jackson center plant?
*is 30% off the msrp realistic?
*do i have to buy from dealer's inventory to get the best price or can i deal & order what i need?
*any other issues/considerations i've failed to include/mention?

any & all input/opinions will be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:36 PM   #2
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Be careful there...

Hi JD -- and welcome to the forums! I did buy my 2006 from the second closest dealer. That is still almost a 300 mile drive. With my 2 year warranty in hand I waited until after this full summer season to return the unit to the dealer approx 1 year after purchase. It truly takes jostling the trailer up and down the road before everything appears. I spoke with my dealer about doing this warranty work and they were suspicious from the start, asking if I'd bought the Safari from them. So your big issue is that for the price of "new" you will most certainly want them to do the warranty work. I have a mix of good skills and there is no way that I was wanting to do the repairs when it should have been right from the start. Know what? The RV tech thought of a few things that I hadn't and it was a rewarding experience doing a walk-through on what I wanted done.

From quite a few previous postings on buying at lowest price regardless of distance, I can say that there is a consensus that you shouldn't go too far afield.

Okay, your questions:
1. Direct from Jackson Center -- I'd say no.
2. Best dealers/prices? Go on airstream.com and plug some dealer names into the search function here. I've seen too many very warm and very cold recommendations on the very same dealership to say what you'd find. Though a few do stand out! And they stand out for reasons of service -- that is more important than the absolutely best price out of the gate.
3. Truthiness -- you better believe what is current. Many of us drop our teeth when we see the price climbing and climbing.
4. Time of year -- Mid-winter and onward is high demand as people finally pull the trigger at RV shows for the coming year. From wait times for ordered units I would say the factory is just about to enter their busy period -- more demand = less price flexibility. From wait times for ordered units I would guess late summer is the absolute best time to leverage a deal -- though this is hard to estimate completely.
5. Cash or finance -- up to you. Better have plenty of tow vehicle. Folks keep wanting to pull new (heavy compared to old) 25-footers with 1/2-ton rated SUVs or pickups. Stepping down a size, don't try to use a Toyota Highlander to pull a 19-22' range trailer. Have a good tow vehicle. Know what? As long as the Airstream has a kitchen & bath, interest expense is deductible same as mortgage.
6. Jackson Center pickup? I'd say no. There is a reason they maintain a dealer network. J.C. has enough after-sale issues to deal with -- don't think they'd sell to you direct for blood nor money!
7. 30% off? That would be hard. Maybe 18-24% if you buy a unit from the lot that isn't moving -- most likely with a 31' or 34' unit. Coming in as a buyer for an ordered unit does give you some leverage. They haven't had to finance it themselves and have it sit on the lot.
8. Dealers inventory will give you a perceived advantage. Yet they don't have any money sunk into an order that walks in off the street; ie, you ordering new. Depends on how hard you press the deal, how much you're willing to walk away if it's not right. In the end I wouldn't want to be an impossible distance away from my dealer.
9. Any other issues? I'd hope you've spent a lot of time shadowing issues in these forums. 1 year? 2 years? More studying is gooder... but I've said enough, though am not telling you you're on your own. Best wishes in your quest -- and post back with more questions!
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:07 PM   #3
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If you want to shop mainly price, you'll live to regret it. I'd look for the best overall dealer that's closest to you in terms of pre-delivery set-up of the unit, etc. and service after the sale, which will be cheaper to you in the long run.

I concur with Canoe Stream's response.

I've never heard of someone getting 30%, or even 25% for that matter.

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Old 10-31-2006, 02:46 AM   #4
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thankyou for the replies...i have been fulltiming it in a 05 rockwood, since hurricane ivan, that i bought & picked up from a dealer not too far from the AS plant...had the opportunity to take the plant tour...that pretty well convinced me that AS was for me...as far as my experience with dealers goes,currently on rv#4,i put them @ the same level as used car salesman & the stuff that grows on the surface of ponds...AS should not have any warranty issues as far as engineering & qc are concerned,unless they are nothing but an over priced thor product,they have had 75 years to get it right the first time...in regards to any warranty issues ,it has been my experience that dealers are part of a "network",so any ole AS dealer will make it right...in conclusion,if the plant's qc, quality of componets, & dealer service are in question maybe it is better to buy a late model "pretested" AS...price/value is always an issue,scott on my mother's side,best bang for the buck,art of the deal & all that!!!
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Old 10-31-2006, 08:36 AM   #5
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Ahh, that's it! Fellow Scot here too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JD Dawson
AS should not have any warranty issues as far as engineering & qc are concerned,unless they are nothing but an over priced thor product,they have had 75 years to get it right the first time...in regards to any warranty issues ,it has been my experience that dealers are part of a "network",so any ole AS dealer will make it right...in conclusion,if the plant's qc, quality of componets, & dealer service are in question maybe it is better to buy a late model "pretested" AS...price/value is always an issue
Don't expect perfection from Airstream. It's the only product like it on the road, so worth it for that reason. All components used are common stock in the RV industry. Every Airstream requires upkeep and certainly will have some issues to take back on warranty.

See here and here. Issues on quality do not affect all units equally, so these threads should be taken as the unique experience of many. Point being -- whatever you get, you'll tune it up so it's right and be very satisfied vacationing and playing in it. Some folks take it personally and get very bitter; the alternative is staying home. Me? I'm in the 'very satisfied' category though I'm still trying to put a few issues right.

And by the way -- You'll get very little discount if you put your eyes on some of the most in demand models (25' FB SE, maybe 27' FB Classic).
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Old 10-31-2006, 10:39 AM   #6
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It should actually be less expensive to order a unit rather than buy one from dealer stock because it's a unit "sold" before it's part of inventory and not financed by the dealers flloor plan. Plus you can order it just the way you want it. Unless of course it's a unit thats not moving. Then you have to ask yourself "why", it's not moving. If you find a dealer offering 30% of list, everyone will want to know. You can't pick them up at the factory or how would they be able to add a destination fee.
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Old 10-31-2006, 11:05 AM   #7
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No you can't buy factory direct nor pick it up at the factory any more than you can buy your SUV factory direct or pick it up at the factory (well, you might be able to pick it up, but I've never heard of it...they want the opportunity to clean it up and do a final prep by the dealer). You have to go through a dealer. If anything, Airstream is loyal to their dealers.

While Airstream is a quality product, remember it is a hand built product. It is not robot built like so much of our automobiles of today are. And when is the last time you bought a car that didn't need at least one trip for a warranty item before the warranty ran out. Not too often I afraid to say. Hand made products always have some slight imperfections and Airstreams are no different. We are extremely lucky with our Airstream to have had almost no problems with it during our first season. Even with the little things we had some might have considered them major items. It all depends on your perspective.

My experience is that the majority of the time those who let every little item get under their skin and make every little thing personal are usually the folks that have spent beyond their means. If you are looking to get a deal for 30% off sticker, you are probably looking at models that are outside your budget and should look at more modest sizes or look at Safaris instead of Classics or International CCD's. The most I have heard anyone get off of sticker was 25% and that, I believe, was an anomaly.

Airstream has one of the most loyal followings of any product on the market and for good reason. They are unique, as well built as any other travel trailer, but probably not a great deal better, and they have a great deal of style and retro appeal. You can have a lot of fun camping in an Airstream as well as any other camper, but there is a certain cache' about an Airstream that will enhance the experience and add to the memories that you create as you travel. We love ours and look forward to many years of enjoyment and many friends we make along the way.

Good luck in your search and your decision on dealer and model.
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:07 PM   #8
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thank you Canoe Stream, Craftsman & Minnie's Mate...finally got thru the threads you directed me to, some pretty scary reading for all hallows eve...started a dialog w/ a dealer (salesperson),manager to call tomorrow...i don't think they were too impressed...what i want is to order a vanilla, plain jane safari 25 rear queen w/ 15k ac upgrade, no se, ls or bs package...i don't want any of the audio/video crap they sell, just the prewire...explained that even though i wasn't ordering out of their top drawer i expected the quaility of engineering & craftmanship that AS has had 75 years to perfect...further explained that i expected that between both of them (dealer) & (AS) to get it right the first time...explained what was eluded to on here about an ordered unit not being part of the dealer's inventory...salesperson responded by indicating the price should be $1,500 over dealer cost...does this sound REALISTIC & now does any one know how to determine the REAL "dealer cost"???
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Old 11-02-2006, 08:21 AM   #9
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I'd be kind of surprised if the dealer showed you his actual dealer's invoice. But he might. With the economy slowing and fuel prices so high, especially since diesel isn't coming down like gasoline, Airstream dealers might be willing to try new marketing techniques to make the sale.

I think the reason the salesperson might not have been too impressed is that you might have come on too strong for your first contact. After all, he/she has no control over the quality at the factory, he/she just sells them. It is understandable to be agressive when it comes to the dealer prep and walk-through, but if you come on as too much of a power house, you might make the dealer think you will be difficult after the sale and that might affect the price he/she is willing come down. I believe I would have let him/her know that you are an informed buyer but save the Rambo tactics unless there are any issues that aren't getting properly resolved.

Also, try to get one built in January/February. Mine was and we have had very few issues with it, all of them small, and I think it's because that's there slow period. You might be timing it right to get that depending on their current back log of orders.

If you do get to see the dealer's invoice, let us know what it is. There are no sources for such that I am aware of. We did see the invoice on a 2004 model like ours but there had been price increases after that. I don't think the salesman realized what he gave us at the RV show when he gave us the price list. It turned out to be the dealer's price list and the MSRP price list of the base price and the price of each option. Ooops!
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Old 11-02-2006, 09:07 AM   #10
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When ordering new through a dealer you have the advantage. Each dealer can order the exact same unit for you. You can shop price via phone/fax, and compare apples to apples. Being in Pensacola, you are not particularly near any Airstream dealer. Your "nearest dealer" is most any dealer in the southeast.

Decide exactly what you want, and fax the information to all dealers within your travel sphere, and ask them to quote you their price via return fax. You might be suprised at the difference. Doing it this way, the dealer realizes that this is his one shot to get the order, and there will be no further haggling. If the dealer has an IQ over 25, he will quote you his best price. He knows if he doesn't, someone else will. A dealer who does not respond to your written request for quote is a flim-flam artist, and should be crossed off your list anyway.

I have had warranty work done at a dealer other than where I purchased my Airstream, and had no problem. Remember that Airstream is paying the dealer for the warranty work. You are not asking them to do it for free.

If you choose to shop in-stock unit. Check the various dealer investories at www.airstream.com for a unit that interests you. When we did this in June, 2006, we found seven of the exact equiped 25' FB at dealers in the southeast. I called and got a price from each. One unit had been sold that day. The quotes on the othewr six units varied by almost $12,000.00 (that's right, twelve thousand dollars!). One dealer wanted very near MSRP even though the unit had been on his lot for 14 months. The best price was from the dealer in Alachau, Florida, who was at 22 percent off MSRP. Being in the Panhadle, this dealer was as close as any other. Keep in mind that this deep discount was on a 2005 Safari purchased in June, 2006.
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Old 11-02-2006, 10:11 AM   #11
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Thumbs up Lyle V 05' 28ft Safari LS, 2004 3/4 ton Suburban LT

I started looking for a 25 Safari FB last Feb. mostly on line, I was dealing Dealers in Louisville & Tampa (I live in TN) both were competitive with what they had on the lot (05's) FB, but one had the door that opened to the rear.
I took my wife up to the TN dealer, just to give her an idea of what we were looking at. I started dealing with him on a new 06' 25 FB (They had one, but it was sold.) Also on the lot was an 05' 28ft Safari LS, we gave it a glance, but I was concerned with size & weight. The following Monday after he talked to the dealers owner he quoted me on 3 different AS. They took almost 25% off the 28 ft (which had been on the lot for a year) I was blown away! Turned out the weight difference was minor & the 28 ft is only 2 ft longer. I already had a 3/4 ton Suburban & it was well within my weight limits. I added an Equalizer hitch & have towed almost 7000 miles including a 3000 mile round trip to Western North Dakota. I've had a couple of small warranty issues & one small "dumb" mistake, the Dealer has covered everything. I'm thrilled!
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:34 PM   #12
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$1,500 over dealer invoice? Hmmm....what's the list on that trailer? I had a dealer who sold SOB's and his advice to me was to offer the dealer 25% off of list. He noted that the dealer would make a profit from that. Now that advice was over 20 years ago and I'm not sure what the margins are today. I know I got 18% off when I bought my Safari back in '01.

On my Classic I did a trade in and the dealer worked sticker to sticker on the trade. As it ended up my trade in of the Safari 3 years after I bought it was higher than what I paid for it new...from what I remember it may have been the original sticker price. I think I did ok in the deal.

Regarding service while it's true that any dealer can service your trailer, I can tell you for a fact that a dealer will always give preference to his purchase customers first or someone who broke down on the road. So if you buy it somewhere else, and the dealer is backed up with repairs and you need a quick fix, you will probably be placed at the back of the line.

Regarding buying out of dealer inventory vs. ordering. I don't believe you will always get a better deal, depending upon how long the dealer has been carrying his inventory. While one assumes that buying a new build would lessen your costs due to the fact that the dealer has no finance charges to pass through, you can be that even a new build will carry some overhead to cover what is sitting on the dealer's lot.

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Old 11-21-2006, 06:32 PM   #13
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update on my "quest"

just an update for those who might be interested & want to comment...suspect that $1500$ above dealer cost or %30% off msrp will not be a realistic expectation...%25% off msrp might be the reality...dealer/salesperson response is luke warm at best...don't believe that ordering a plain jane 25' safari w/o options is all that attractive to the dealerships???appears that AS dealerships may use the same tactics as those of auto industry...those tactics are too too well documented to work in today's informed consumer markets...just ask Ford & GM...was even informed by one salesperson that there was a price increase of $6000$ from 2006-2007???SCARE ME!!!

on the up side...the AS mothership in Jackson Center was quite responsive to my queries...will soon have complete dealer lists,brochures,retail pricing/order forms, etc.


in summation...2007 25' safari rear queen bed STANDARD model @$45000$ (msrp) less %25% = $33750$ less $12000$ (tradein/sale) = $21750$...DOABLE!!!

might even be able to work an even better price if i can ascertain what "dealer cost" is about???
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD Dawson
appears that AS dealerships may use the same tactics as those of auto industry...those tactics are too too well documented to work in today's informed consumer markets...just ask Ford & GM...was even informed by one salesperson that there was a price increase of $6000$ from 2006-2007???SCARE ME!!!
hi jd and welcome to the forums....

some dealers do use outdated "what can ya afford per month" tactics
or work YOU from new sales person to experienced sales person to sales manager
and finally the finance officer (the closer) before getting their final price on paper....

other dealers will quote what they are willing to accept..

first time around, no bull.

option packages do add margin so more room to wiggle price...

the comparison to auto makers ends quickly however....

YOU cannot buy a trailer from airstream...

WE can only buy them from dealers...

airstream sells them to dealers, even 'special orders', and dealers only.

the dealer own the trailers, not like auto inventory 'sitting on the lot'...

the dealers cannot just 'send back' what they don't sell, and a/s doesn't keep any on the 'back lot' ...

everyone they build is already sold....to a dealer somewhere.

like boeing does with jets....sort of.

so the task will be to find a dealer willing to order one for you at whatever margin/price point...

and there really was a price increase, so dealers did in fact pay 5-7 grand more for units...

perhaps the sales person was trying to scare ya....

but maybe he/she was just being honest....

that's the one ya wanna buy from...

best of luck in your quest....

cheers
2air'
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