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Old 06-11-2012, 07:31 PM   #225
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Japan triumphed over us in electronics and automobiles because the Japanese government gave them a lot of cash and supported them while they were building up a customer base, selling what was admittedly a better product than what the U.S. was making at the time. My recollection is that Beatrice also bought one or two sailboat companies, and didn't do them any favors either.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:49 PM   #226
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[QUOTE=Mr.Bill;1159862]Japan triumphed over us in electronics and automobiles because the Japanese government gave them a lot of cash and supported them while they were building up a customer base.


Most industrialized nations contributed to the rebuilding of Japan after the second World War, much like the Marshall Plan for Europe.

Almost all of Japans industrial base was completely destroyed during the war and the economic climate of the 50's led to a rapid rebuild that lent them the capabilities to design and build while we were still manufacturing with obsolete equipment.

Japan took advantage of this capatalization and rode it well. Not so well now but the 60's and 70's were their's.

Read the Flyboys sometime

Dan
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:04 PM   #227
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Europe also had to be rebuilt and some of it was via the Marshall Plan. But the Europeans have not been as good with quality as Japan. Toyota was at the forefront of quality for years and for that period their cars were the best in the world (including Lexus), but GM was once there, and Toyota was more interested in world domination like GM and began to forget quality. It depends where you put your money and whether quality is important as a core value.

American business history is replete with stories of wasted money, poor products and a focus on immediate and large profit. The Robber Baron era of the 19th century with the buyer beware attitude and enormous riches for a few and terrible working conditions for many was the eiptome of that type of business. In the 20th century that changed and American became richer and those riches were distributed so the middle class could grow and a few barons could not dominate the country at the expense of the few. Quality of US products grew also. That has changed in the last generation and 19th century robber baron attitudes have returned. Poor quality and quick profits are part of that. The post WW II period was when American grew and many prospered. Civil liberties expansion sought to include everyone in the American Dream. We are now in reverse.

The sad thing is while we squander our wealth and refuse to listen to the lessons of history, China, a nation of corruption, fake courts, enormous wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few, no civil liberties, may eventually be the no. 1 economic power and influence the world for the worse. We'd better make good friends with Brasil—now the 6th or 7th biggest economy in the world—because they are democratic and we will need all the friends we can get.

So Airstream's business plan fits right in with the decline of American financial and quality values.

Gene
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:50 PM   #228
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Can't believe how people can go on and on about the same thing. Although they may think I do and confess guilt.

I don't blame Bob Wheeler for checking out. You don't need to drink a tub of dye to know its color. He is keeping with Byam's philosophy of "no changes, just improvements" and making money, that's what good companies do. I've had new 2007 and 2012 Airstreams, the new one is much improved over the other and better quality, although I must say it was excellent as well.

There are lingering problems of leakage and shell corrosion that are inherent to the most basic elements of the design (do we want a plastic Airstream). There are many improvements in this area as well. And these are completely and easily manageable with regular inspections and maintenance, something you ought to be doing anyway.

I hate long posts, so . . .

doug k
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:14 PM   #229
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Doug, surely you realize that a lot of this thread is a product of creativity based in being somewhat bored and not necessarily alll about product dissatfiction. I've had a good experience so far so you've heard no grousing from me. Lots of people haven't though.

Wally Byam's ideals have about as much to do with Thor corporate philosophy and business practices as Donald Duck.

From the reading I've done on him (Wally), he would have jumped into this forum with both feet. Wally knew how to market, innovate and connect with the people who appreciated his products. Has Bob Wheeler gone on any caravans lately?

Dan
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:53 PM   #230
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Hi Dan, I don't think Thor cares a hoot about Wally Byam's business practices but Airstream is kinda stuck with it because of the Aluminum design. You can't change it but you can improve it, and I think they are doing it. There are new water seals, improved lighting, gorgeous interior design choices, the quality of construction on our new Airstream is near perfect. There are mistakes, new LED running lights caused corrosion, but they sent out two guys to replace them from Jax Center for one fellow. That's not bad.

Wally was a promoter of his product and he liked the adventure and a degree of fame that came with caravans. It was a different time. Imagine an African caravan today, they don't like America anymore. Sometimes with all the cynicism I wonder if we like America anymore.

I going to stick with the fantasy, traveling America with our Airstream, fixing broken stuff, getting what the trailer has to give, and enjoying the heck out of it. I'll take a good tourist trap over a bitch thread any old day.

doug k
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:26 PM   #231
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Doug, I reread my post and didn't mean to sound so sharp. I like my 2012 FC very much. In fact as you mentioned the only thing that caught my eve was the running lights, the bases seem to have the same radius no matter where they are mounted. We have the Lobster Sink that I think is very useful.

All in all as much as I hijack some of these threads I am satisfied. I'm leery though. I have the trailer parked about 80 ft from saltwater on the Puget Sound on Wollochet Bay. I recently applied a coat of NU_FINISH and found no corrosion. But lots of people are. Eventually the management at AS will need to address this. If not for me, then for others. My point was that Thor has little or none of Wally's seemingly endless ability to engage and enthuse people.If he was a marketing genius then AS needs another one who is so closely branded with the product that they are as one.

He's been dead for what, 40 years, yet the legend still lives on. Maybe thats the secret, go out on top, James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison all enigmatic characters that left a mark and then just plain left.

Adios,
Dan
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:20 AM   #232
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Dan, the corrosion at the rivets, cut edges, fittings has been not been solved. The Nufinish cannot get into some of those areas to protect them. "Soak" them with a bit of CorrosionX or Boeshield (doesn't take much, use a Q-tip) and wipe off excess from time to time.

Love those old legends, we don't always live in the past but never miss the opportunity,

doug k
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:02 AM   #233
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If I could I would buy a new Airstream in a heartbeat. I would have an Eddy Bauer sitting my front yard. However I am basically a man of limited financial means. Thus I have a 1964 Bambi II. It is old and a bit tired but I am attached to it. Most everything works and it doesn’t leak too bad except when the rain is coming down sideways. There is no ignoring the "fan" value. I cannot stop anywhere without someone coming up to me telling how it is the trailer that they have always wanted or a similar story. Overall I don’t think that the current quality of Airstream trailers is any less than other products “Made In America”, if anything they are made better than most. Plus they just look great on the outside and inside.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:06 AM   #234
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Watching a talking head interview this AM.....

The answer to the question, "What's the most important thing a business can do to insure it's success?"

"Take good care of your customer's and they will take care of you"... Warren Buffett.

Bob
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #235
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I hope we get back to Vancouver Is. someday. The ferry is too expensive and that makes us hesitant. But we would certainly go back to Tofino and maybe we would find Paul and Lisa.

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Definitley ask for us when you come to town! Any surf shop will point you in the right direction.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:30 AM   #236
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I don't blame Bob Wheeler for checking out. You don't need to drink a tub of dye to know its color. He is keeping with Byam's philosophy of "no changes, just improvements" and making money, that's what good companies do.

doug k
Byam's philosophy and making money can be in conflict if one pushes out the other. A company has to make money in the long run to survive and has to improve the product consistently to have a reputation good enough so people will continue to buy the product.

Meeting quarterly income projections at all costs can sacrifice product development and innovation. I think business in the US and many other places is out of balance in the tension between making money and product improvement.

When Airstream does improve, they are still behind the times.

The company has greatly increased the information available on its website and that is a plus. But the company has to keep up with its followers on the Forum; that's just present day reality. Maybe they have Facebook; I wouldn't know because I get my fill of social media right here.

And Dan, boredom is not the only reason for being here. As I move my old, achy body around fixing things, making things, taking care of things, sitting down at the magic box and checking on the Forum gives my joints a rest and clears my mind for something else. Mind cleared, time to make an omelette.

Gene
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:36 AM   #237
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Most of us buy a "new" (as opposed to used) product with the expectation that after sale warranty / service needs will be the exception rather than the rule as it appears in many of these posts. If the product is designed and produced as advertised, there should be little or no need for warranty service other than those items of scheduled / necessary periodic maintenance.

Although I, too, have beyond a masters degree with advanced training in econometrics, I fail to see just how these negative experiences posted here will effect demand for an apparently "declining quality control"- produced item. The strong positive reputation of AS seems to be unsullied by the relatively few - but often disastrous - service issues posted. Many of the issues here seem to be related to the original design of many years ago with disregard to improved materials or production methods (rotting floors / interior trapped water)! There are new buyers coming into the market mix all of the time. For those of us on a modest income, the AS is, indeed, a huge life-$aving$ investment - or, for some, apparently a white elephant.

Hopefully, AS admin will frequent this forum and read some of the specific issues presented; then, it is up to them to make appropriate adjustments in their production, marketing, and after-sale-support. The warranty offers consolation only as far as the manufacturer's / dealer's actions... actions which for many have been insufficient to cause the owners to keep their problematic AS - often at a huge loss both financially and time wise.

We were in the same position with another SOB and trust that we will continue to have a positive experience as provided by AS and our local dealer. Although we have had no service / warranty needs or issues thus far, in retrospect the security of (read that $$$ more cost) the extended warranty bought at purchase seems comforting. We read about AS issues here for several years before buying our new FC. If you think that AS trailers are problematic, I invite you to read some of the other manufacturer's forums!

As you may infer from my sign in name, we treat our AS as an aircraft ... frequent inspections, pre -(flight)- travel walk around, and even departure / arrival checklists (which are actually used) ... in an attempt to keep the AS experience positive and us smiling. Hey, who you callin' old ... no medicare for another year! LOL
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:46 AM   #238
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Airstream could learn a lesson from the cruise ship industry. They all have full time staff that part of their job is to follow and be active on the internet discussion boards and facebook. It works, they listen to their customer base and make adjustments as needed.
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