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Old 11-23-2007, 06:59 AM   #29
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Many thnxs Andy for your views. Getting a perspective from someone in your position is appreciated.
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:27 AM   #30
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Andy---I appreciate your comments from a dealers point of view. I know the auto business, like you said, is not entirely the same as RV but none the less operates on the same principle,that being both make a profit or go under. The last 25 years of my working career were spent in an auto and motorcycle dealers service departments as service mgr, GM & Harley Davidson. That said I know where you're coming from when a person buys somewhere else then comes to you for service. I also realize that in some cases repairs are done that are difficult to collect from the the mfg.
But if the owner of any dealership I worked saw $200,000 written off in uncollectable warranty repairs I would have been in the unemployment line the next day. Some I understand can't be collected . There are circumstances, {good will } repairs, that are done free to the customer and are uncollectable. Here is what I have found to be the reason for most that go unpaid.
{1} A technician takes longer to do a job than it should. This comes from lack of skill or experience and a few with just plain poor work habits.
{2} Management fails to contact factory officials for authorization when a repair is in the gray area as to whether it's a warranty repair.
{3} Many repairs, even when under warranty, require authorization prior to repairs.
{4} Warranty claims are not filed in a timely manner.
{5} Rejected claims{this is a big one} are not followed up on to fine the reason corrected and resubmitted quickly.
{6} Parts,{another biggie} that the factory requires be returned do not get returned on time as required and claims are denied.
These are but a few reasons for not getting paid for the bulk of all repairs and most of them as you can see fall on the shoulders of management. If you're writting off that amount of $$$ there are some serious problems in your store. I think a review of your dealer agreement with Airstream will not show anywhere that you are expected to do warranty repairs at no cost or at a loss.
As a service mgr I treated none buying customers the same as our own with the occasional exception of scheduling. It was our feeling that if we didn't treat the customer fairly and do his repairs in a timely manner we had no chance of selling him another unit or any further service or assessories.
Bottom line, it's the right thing to do.
I suppose the problem of buying local will be with us until such time that we all have local dealers. With so few in number very few people have a Local dealer as I would define local. Some states as you know have none, others only one or a couple at the most, making Local hard to define.
After all this I don't want to imply that local business of any kind are unimportant and that we shouldn't support them. I would and and have in the past purchased locally and even paid more than I could have out of town. However the difference in price must be reasonable. My local dealer, who is "200" miles away, was $500.00 over the closest offer on a 04 Bambi, $5000.00 over, when trading for a 25' classic and $8000.00 over on a trade to our present trailer a 30' Classic. The "locals" are nice , friendly, etc but I refuse to pay that much difference.-----pieman
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:22 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis
If i were to call your dealership tomorrow and tell you I'm going to by a new 34' classic, give you the specs, tell you i'm paying cash and will probably never be back again. Would you cut a closer deal than to a local who you know will be back multiple times with warranty repairs ???
pieman
The better deal goes to the local customer who will be returning for service, parts, accesories, etc. If I have a chance to nibble multiple times rather than have only one opportunity to make money then it only makes sense that nibbling will be much less than one big shot.
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:44 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis
Andy---I appreciate your comments from a dealers point of view. I know the auto business, like you said, is not entirely the same as RV but none the less operates on the same principle,that being both make a profit or go under. The last 25 years of my working career were spent in an auto and motorcycle dealers service departments as service mgr, GM & Harley Davidson. That said I know where you're coming from when a person buys somewhere else then comes to you for service. I also realize that in some cases repairs are done that are difficult to collect from the the mfg.
But if the owner of any dealership I worked saw $200,000 written off in uncollectable warranty repairs I would have been in the unemployment line the next day. Some I understand can't be collected . There are circumstances, {good will } repairs, that are done free to the customer and are uncollectable. Here is what I have found to be the reason for most that go unpaid.
{1} A technician takes longer to do a job than it should. This comes from lack of skill or experience and a few with just plain poor work habits.
{2} Management fails to contact factory officials for authorization when a repair is in the gray area as to whether it's a warranty repair.
{3} Many repairs, even when under warranty, require authorization prior to repairs.
{4} Warranty claims are not filed in a timely manner.
{5} Rejected claims{this is a big one} are not followed up on to fine the reason corrected and resubmitted quickly.
{6} Parts,{another biggie} that the factory requires be returned do not get returned on time as required and claims are denied.
These are but a few reasons for not getting paid for the bulk of all repairs and most of them as you can see fall on the shoulders of management. If you're writting off that amount of $$$ there are some serious problems in your store. I think a review of your dealer agreement with Airstream will not show anywhere that you are expected to do warranty repairs at no cost or at a loss.
As a service mgr I treated none buying customers the same as our own with the occasional exception of scheduling. It was our feeling that if we didn't treat the customer fairly and do his repairs in a timely manner we had no chance of selling him another unit or any further service or assessories.
Bottom line, it's the right thing to do.
I suppose the problem of buying local will be with us until such time that we all have local dealers. With so few in number very few people have a Local dealer as I would define local. Some states as you know have none, others only one or a couple at the most, making Local hard to define.
After all this I don't want to imply that local business of any kind are unimportant and that we shouldn't support them. I would and and have in the past purchased locally and even paid more than I could have out of town. However the difference in price must be reasonable. My local dealer, who is "200" miles away, was $500.00 over the closest offer on a 04 Bambi, $5000.00 over, when trading for a 25' classic and $8000.00 over on a trade to our present trailer a 30' Classic. The "locals" are nice , friendly, etc but I refuse to pay that much difference.-----pieman
No dealer would expect you pay him $5000/ $8000 more. If that's the difference then he deserves to lose the sale. Those are not the deals I'm referring to. It's when you lose a deal by hundreds and then a customer wants to use your service dept because it's more convenient and better that becomes a tough pill to swallow.
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Old 11-23-2007, 02:24 PM   #33
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What about ones responsibility to support their local economy? How much should that influence where you buy?
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Old 11-23-2007, 03:11 PM   #34
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brian-- i don't believe for a moment that someone who is likly to return over and over for piddly warranty repairs that you say never get paid for will get the better deal--- i have experienced three purchases in which that was not the case.
RBolton---yes i do think it's best to do business locally so long as local business has some loyality to local customers and i would pay a reasonable amount more to buy local. again what is local??? when the nearest dealer is 2 hundred miles away is that local?? what if that dealer doesn't offer full service, metal repair etc or carry any parts in stock and you have to take it to another or the factory would you still pay more because they are local? What would be concidered our local dealer,200 miles away doesn't carry a sewer hose or wheel chock in stock. they send you to camping world for a water hose.
brian--those prices are exacty what my "local dealer" quoted.
In summery: If a local dealer or even one a few hundred miles away, who has a full service, dependable, service dept, stocks a reasonable amount of parts and accessories, comes up with a an offer a few hundred over one somewhere else I would buy there. Otherwise I go for the best deal !!!
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Old 11-23-2007, 03:24 PM   #35
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Local ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBolton
What about ones responsibility to support their local economy? How much should that influence where you buy?
WISH WE HAD A DEALER IN N.Y. WE COULD SUPPORT
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Old 11-23-2007, 06:33 PM   #36
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do we support local dealers?

OR should they support us!

i realize this issue can be somewhat personal for folks on either side in this thread...

but a/s is SO much different than an automobile dealership/franchise...

so when making a new a/s purchase i contacted ALL of the dealers within 600 miles of my home base...

and then visited 4 of the 6 in person to meet the sales staff, inspect the service departments and gather some 'feeling' for the potential relationship.

i explained to each that my intention was to 'order a unit', place a significant deposit and do all the followup contacts ONLINE.

i then narrowed it down to 2 shops, the other 2 didn't wanna use computers 2 conduct business.

so of the final 2 dealers, one had 30+ years and one had 2 years of a/s sales...

one shop was 250 miles and one 500 or so miles from home.

while i looked at dealer inventory, my purchase was 2b an factory order, cash transaction.

the 'closer' shop with 30 years of history was 8-9 THOUSAND dollars higher on price and would not budge 10 cents.

the 'owner' also nearly blew a fuse at the notion a potential customer might 'shop around'

and promised me that IF i purchased anywhere else, they would NEVER service my trailer.


guess where i didn't order the 34...

the shop i did order from was friendly, extremely honest and pretty new to the a/s business.

now they are in the top 10 (or 5) for sales and have a great, growing, friendly can-do service department...

and they will provide service to ANY a/s owner regardless of point of purchase....

so guess which one i'd buy from again...

it's a travel trailer folks.

as owners we travel and should be able to experience GREAT SERVICE AT EVERY DEALERSHIP...

it's my wild guess that 1/4 to 1/3 of the 100+ a/s dealers will be GONE in the next year or 2...

and that is during a market cycle where a/s has TRIPLED production in the last 3-4 years...

and near 40% of the buyers are brand-new-2-the-rv-world...

in other words THE FUTURE OF THE BRAND!

so the old style 'buy it from me or else' formula isn't gonna fly....

the dealers that SUPPORT US! will be the ones to survive, as we support them...

with our purchases, and warranty needs and custom work and after warranty business...

thank you and good nite

cheers
2air'

btw my cars and trucks are ALL serviced by the selling/local dealers, who've made many times the purchase profit on the service and warranty side.
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Old 11-23-2007, 06:37 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis
brian-- i don't believe for a moment that someone who is likly to return over and over for piddly warranty repairs that you say never get paid for will get the better deal--- i have experienced three purchases in which that was not the case.
Pieman, I never said all warranty repairs never get paid. Most do, some are easy and some take alot of work to get covered. Others don't get paid at all and the dealer eats them to keep "his" customer happy. Believe it or not that's the truth. My point was simple and for most it makes sense. If I have an opportunity to sell a vehicle to someone I will never see again, great I'll give them the best deal that I can. If I have an opportunity to sell a vehicle to a local customer who will return and spend more money in my store down the road for service,parts, accesories, another vehicle etc then I think it's in my best interest to give them an even better deal. I also have a chance to make that person a repeat customer which is paramount to our success. That's just how we run it. If you have a dealership then you can run it differently if you like. If you have not had a good experience with your local dealer{s} then maybe there is something wrong with the way they view their hometown customers. I still feel if given a fair shake MOST dealers will value and work harder for their local customers.
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Old 11-23-2007, 06:44 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
do we support local dealers?

OR should they support us!

i realize this issue can be somewhat personal for folks on either side in this thread...

but a/s is SO much different than an automobile dealership/franchise...

so when making a new a/s purchase i contacted ALL of the dealers within 600 miles of my home base...

and then visited 4 of the 6 in person to meet the sales staff, inspect the service departments and gather some 'feeling' for the potential relationship.

i explained to each that my intention was to 'order a unit', place a significant deposit and do all the followup contacts ONLINE.

i then narrowed it down to 2 shops, the other 2 didn't wanna use computers 2 conduct business.

so of the final 2 dealers, one had 30+ years and one had 2 years of a/s sales...

one shop was 250 miles and one 500 or so miles from home.

while i looked at dealer inventory, my purchase was 2b an factory order, cash transaction.

the 'closer' shop with 30 years of history was 8-9 THOUSAND dollars higher on price and would not budge 10 cents.

the 'owner' also nearly blew a fuse at the notion a potential customer might 'shop around'

and promised me that IF i purchased anywhere else, they would NEVER service my trailer.


guess where i didn't order the 34...

the shop i did order from was friendly, extremely honest and pretty new to the a/s business.

now they are in the top 10 (or 5) for sales and have a great, growing, friendly can-do service department...

and they will provide service to ANY a/s owner regardless of point of purchase....

so guess which one i'd buy from again...

it's a travel trailer folks.

as owners we travel and should be able to experience GREAT SERVICE AT EVERY DEALERSHIP...

it's my wild guess that 1/4 to 1/3 of the 100+ a/s dealers will be GONE in the next year or 2...

and that is during a market where a/s has TRIPLED production in the last 3-4 years...

the old style 'buy it from me or else' formula isn't gonna fly....

the dealers that SUPPORT US! will be the ones to survive, as we support them...

with our purchases, and warranty needs and custom work and after warranty business...

thank you and good nite

cheers
2air'

btw my cars and trucks are ALL serviced by the selling/local dealers, who've made many times the purchase profit on the service and warranty side.
2air, Maybe that's the problem you've all been experiencing. Maybe A/S dealers need to look at the auto business and learn. Also you're btw comment is quite accurate.....
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Old 11-23-2007, 07:07 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIstream'n
...Maybe A/S dealers need to look at the auto business and learn. Also you're btw comment is quite accurate.....
i've been happy to support my local/selling auto dealer,

having mostly owned german cars (so i'm trained to accept the marginal service) the EXCELLENT customer oriented ford service experience has been a big surprise!

i don't know enough about the auto business, but suspect a/s could learn from the sector.

the current a/s pres is a former ge'em guy.

a/s is such a small part of thor's financials (100 million of their 3 billion $ ? pie)

and they only sell 2,000 units a year (and about 15 dealers account for a majority of sales, i think)

but it IS a marque/icon brand name and image.

here's what i suggested last year, to another member who was trying to think 'best price' only...

i think it mostly holds true although current discount may be less on really hot models...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/201449-post11.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:19 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIstream'n
Pieman, I never said all warranty repairs never get paid. Most do, some are easy and some take alot of work to get covered. Others don't get paid at all and the dealer eats them to keep "his" customer happy. Believe it or not that's the truth. My point was simple and for most it makes sense. If I have an opportunity to sell a vehicle to someone I will never see again, great I'll give them the best deal that I can. If I have an opportunity to sell a vehicle to a local customer who will return and spend more money in my store down the road for service,parts, accesories, another vehicle etc then I think it's in my best interest to give them an even better deal. I also have a chance to make that person a repeat customer which is paramount to our success. That's just how we run it. If you have a dealership then you can run it differently if you like. If you have not had a good experience with your local dealer{s} then maybe there is something wrong with the way they view their hometown customers. I still feel if given a fair shake MOST dealers will value and work harder for their local customers.
Brian-- I think if I lived close enough to your store I would probably deal with you, assuming you got anywhere close to what a fair deal is. If your store is as you describe it is one of the few,and one I have yet to experience. Of the 3 new AS I have purchased, the "local dealer" was as discribed. the dealer I purchased the first 2 from no longer handles AS, and the 3rd treats me like a total stranger when I walk in the door. With that kind of experience you can see where the only motivation I have for buying anywhere is the best possible price. ---pieman
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:27 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIstream'n
Pieman, I never said all warranty repairs never get paid. Most do, some are easy and some take alot of work to get covered. Others don't get paid at all and the dealer eats them to keep "his" customer happy. Believe it or not that's the truth. My point was simple and for most it makes sense. If I have an opportunity to sell a vehicle to someone I will never see again, great I'll give them the best deal that I can. If I have an opportunity to sell a vehicle to a local customer who will return and spend more money in my store down the road for service,parts, accesories, another vehicle etc then I think it's in my best interest to give them an even better deal. I also have a chance to make that person a repeat customer which is paramount to our success. That's just how we run it. If you have a dealership then you can run it differently if you like. If you have not had a good experience with your local dealer{s} then maybe there is something wrong with the way they view their hometown customers. I still feel if given a fair shake MOST dealers will value and work harder for their local customers.
Brian-- I think if I lived close enough to your store I would probably deal with you, assuming you got anywhere close to what a fair deal is. If your store is as you describe it is one of the few,and one I have yet to experience. Of the 3 new AS I have purchased, the "local dealer" was as discribed. the dealer I purchased the first 2 from no longer handles AS, and the 3rd treats me like a total stranger when I walk in the door. With that kind of experience you can see where the only motivation I have for buying anywhere is the best possible price. ---pieman
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:43 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis
Brian-- I think if I lived close enough to your store I would probably deal with you, assuming you got anywhere close to what a fair deal is. If your store is as you describe it is one of the few,and one I have yet to experience. Of the 3 new AS I have purchased, the "local dealer" was as discribed. the dealer I purchased the first 2 from no longer handles AS, and the 3rd treats me like a total stranger when I walk in the door. With that kind of experience you can see where the only motivation I have for buying anywhere is the best possible price. ---pieman
Pieman, I totally hear what you're saying. Those guys need more competiton and then they'd have no choice but to get stronger. I too wish you lived closer!! Even without competition those dealers should have enough pride to do the right things and have a great dealership. Hearing all of this really makes me angry. I would love to have an A/S franchise and run it like it should be run. I visited what is suppossed be the highest volume A/S dealer in the country right here in the northeast and I have to tell you I was not very impressed at all. Lots of inventory, decent knowledge and that's about it. Those guys are what they are because the rest of their competition is so weak. Too bad because Airstreamers deserve better.............
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