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Old 06-18-2012, 03:45 PM   #281
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Thank you Andrew T, agree with your perspective and appreciate you giving us some background.

doug k
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:10 PM   #282
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I tell it like it's been for me...no roze colored glasses necessary, answer all questions honestly and give 'em the scoop on the AirForums.

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Old 06-21-2012, 11:30 PM   #283
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Originally Posted by urnmor View Post
...
I have had it in some torrential downpours but have yet to find a leak but I suspect I might overtime. If it does I will blame it on the pounding it takes when I haul it over the hills and dale of the countryside and even some dirt roads.

It does creak but I suspect that it might just have to do with me as I walk around the trailer (I am not as light as I once was). I might be wrong so I will check it out.

I will also say it does turn heads in a very positive manner. No one ever said I had a nice tent or asked to look inside my tent. They certainly do with the AS.

John
Same scenario for us as well. The TV had a bad input; so we bought one a bit larger ... I'll take the bad one in for warranty considerations. We, too, have a creak in our floor - and as you said likely from some rough roads ... and we still get many gawkers ... some of the folks even ask for and get the "tour".
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:53 AM   #284
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Thank you Andrew for part of the rest of the story. You are a true asset to AS and it's owners and to the rv industry in general. You have been there and done that and I truly appreciate your input. Jim
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:31 AM   #285
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Schu, no doubt there are 3 sides to every story and there are even more. Simple answers are often too simple.
Gene,

If memory serves me, the "three sides" quote is a joke.

There are three sides to any story: your story, my story, and the truth.

Of course, MY story is always the truth!
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:39 AM   #286
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We have an excellent RV dealer here in Durango (Tarpley RV) that can handle most repair work on generic items in an AS.

However, if there are structural issues or something pertaining specifically to Airstreams, the closest dealer is Albuquerque. A lot of AS dealers went away when financing dried up and GE Capitol dropped their flooring plans. There was a great AS dealer in Colorado Springs that dropped the line and went into consignment sales on used RV's.

I'm not so sure that a lot of the issues regarding Airstream QC stems from the fact that it is time consuming, expensive and inconvenient to take your AS hundreds of miles to fix something that should have been done right at the factory in the first place.

Perhaps the marketing department at Thor would do well to look into setting up a network of "authorized" Airstream service centers. An RV dealer/repair facility could become an AS service center by investing in factory training for one or more of their techs.

I used to get big bucks for these ideas when I was a consultant!
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:50 AM   #287
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That's pretty much is what happened in Delaware at the dealership where we bought our Airstream. They sold Airstreams for about 25 years, along with several other brands. Then they announced they were dropping the Airstream line, but they are still an authorized repair center. I'm not sure of the reason they stopped selling Airstreams. Apparently, there's more of an incentive to repair Airstreams, than to sell and repair them.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:35 PM   #288
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I will also say it does turn heads in a very positive manner. No one ever said I had a nice tent or asked to look inside my tent. They certainly do with the AS.

John
That's not the reason we bought an AS - I'll take our $400 quality tent (return if unsatisfied with no questions asked) than a 'pretty' problem that the company will not take responsibility for.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:48 PM   #289
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I think that would be the way most would look at it Mo.

The problem nowadays, and not just Airstream, is that the attitude is, "can we sell it this way, or do we have to engineer it better" and if they can sell it without spending more money on engineering, they will.

I am very happy with my Airstream, but probably because it was a new endevor by Airstream at that time, and they were working in a weight class they had no experience in. It was over engineered, and when they realized that, they quickly downgraded the product to "what they could get away with". I doubt if the price dropped much but the profit I am sure went up.

That was a nice summer we had on the Island yesterday eh?

Dave

Quote:
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That's not the reason we bought an AS - I'll take our $400 quality tent (return if unsatisfied with no questions asked) than a 'pretty' problem that the company will not take responsibility for.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:18 AM   #290
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It took me a few days to understand the significace of Andy T's post on this forum. I've talked to him when I was setting up my hitch and he helped me tremendously and was gracious with his knowledge.

As I read through his post I had the feeling that he was defending and being an apologist for Airstreams maybe to just bring some closure to this thread and I thought that kind of a defense was condecending.

I recently reread his post and was struck with his true appreciation of the AS line by his statement that he sells other brands but an Airsteam is his trailer of choice.

Being a dealer who represents and sells a variety of TT's and MH's this statement says everything I need to know about his integrety. He could have been worried about alienating his non AS suppliers and customers and how this would have impacted his business but he held true to his convictions and said what he felt was true about product quality. Andy, I applaud your honesty and courage.

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Old 06-23-2012, 08:35 AM   #291
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I think that would be the way most would look at it Mo.

The problem nowadays, and not just Airstream, is that the attitude is, "can we sell it this way, or do we have to engineer it better" and if they can sell it without spending more money on engineering, they will.

I am very happy with my Airstream, but probably because it was a new endevor by Airstream at that time, and they were working in a weight class they had no experience in. It was over engineered, and when they realized that, they quickly downgraded the product to "what they could get away with". I doubt if the price dropped much but the profit I am sure went up.

That was a nice summer we had on the Island yesterday eh?

Dave
Haha...we got a day of summer?! We're traveling right now so I guess we missed it - there's always next year
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:13 AM   #292
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Thank you Andrew for part of the rest of the story. You are a true asset to AS and it's owners and to the rv industry in general. You have been there and done that and I truly appreciate your input. Jim
Since I couldn't have said it any better, I'll just agree with what zigzagguzzi said above. Thanks Andrew.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:48 PM   #293
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I'm a little late to this thread, but I will toss in my nickel's worth as a new owner of a 2012 FC. First off, our particular experience has been good, so I don't have a lot of personal complaints. We have been using ours like crazy since we got it 6 months ago. I've had one small electrical problem which I fixed myself. Even though we have had good fortune, I really sympathize with those who haven't. We absolutely love our AS, and I think I looked at enough trailers to appreciate the differences. My view going in was to recognize that buying a $60K RV is NOT anything like buying a $60K car. The only commodity I know of with lower tech than an RV is a house.

Cars and iPods are built in million unit quantities by essentially perfect robotics and computer aided design and manufacturing. We love the perfection in these elegant high tech wonders, but it is absolutely misguided to expect it in RVs. RVs are made by hand in garages, and they look like it. The range of quality goes from about poor to passable - assuming by quality you mean the kind of quality you'd get in a $25,000 Toyota. You have to know when you sink money into an RV that it is really an impractical and imprudent expense by most standards. Boats come to mind as similar money sinks. I have a 12 year old Honda that cost $11,000 new and has never needed a single repair of any kind. No RV maker is going to approach that kind of technical build quality - ever.

The RV business dynamics are downright miserable.
*Low technology design and manufacturing
*Low sales volumes
*Extreme price pressure
*Low cost of entry brings many fly-by-night brands
*Cyclical based on health of economy and price of gas

In that kind of environment there are two good business positions to take: Lowest price and high volume; high priced and highest quality. Both can be successuful businesses. I think it is unfortunate that AS is neither of those, but is in fact "in between." Small companies in large conglomerates have the worst position possible. Because no matter how dear the company wants to hold to their great reputation, their corporate bosses always insist on higher profits, which means cutting costs. You can see this easily in AS. The product has a superb mythical reputation and history. They could own the prestige end of the RV business lock, stock and barrel, if someone had the power to insist on building to that reputation. But company dynamics obviously don't allow it. They are hanging on to the mythical reputation while building a very mediocre quality product in order to deliver the profits demanded by Thor.

Any engineer can easily spot what needs to be fixed. It's not even close to brain surgery. Any good manufacturing guy could eliminate all the defective manufacturing processes easily. And yet it never gets fixed, it never gets changed! Why? There's no mystery to this at all, if viewed from the business dynamic that exists. It's not the workers, it's not the rural location, it's not the dealers, it's not the engineers, it's not the competitors, it's not for a lack of knowledge -- it's the business dynamic that is being forced on the brand.

The fans want to see the brand be exquisite and deliver on the mythology. But Mr. Thor don't give a rat's patoot about any of that. Mr. Thor wants profits. Your beloved brand isn't the mythical wonder of Wally Byam, it's just a machine for making money. The myth is strictly external. There is no "soul of Airstream" sweating over maintaining the myth, if there was, these complaints would be impossible. No, there's just a factory with some guys following orders to bang out some number of trailers.

So for now, we are loving our AS experience because it is the only game in town. In a sea of cheap white boxes with oak and brass and mirrored interiors with shag carpets and flousy wallpaper, our ship is clean and elegant and hugs the arse end of my Suburban like it's on rails. I laugh when coming up behind the tippy white box rocking back and forth like it's ready to come off it's wheels. We smile at all the people in every RV park who walk by with the look of envy, or who comment that they "always wanted an Airstream." We are enjoying what is left of the mythical reputation. If the company can't hack it and goes the way of Kodak, well, that's not my problem.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:38 PM   #294
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Redwood, it is hard to argue with your analysis of the business model. I want to think they can do better.

Gene
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