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Old 07-22-2012, 03:00 PM   #1
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Crain RV in Little Rock, AR

Hi All,

I was interested in an Airstream I saw at "Crain RV in Little Rock, AR."

Can anyone describe any knowledge or their experience in dealing with this dealership concerning their willingness to make a deal and making things right, communication skills, and service after the purchase.

Being this could be a very long distance purchase, everything must taken care before leaving the dealership and heading home. Of course, a couple of days would be spent there learn how to use the Airstream. It does help there is a warranty.

All info will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:53 PM   #2
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Crain is new in Arkansas. The dealership in Searcy apparently didn't renew or lost the AS franchise a couple of years back.

My guess is that their sales experience is somewhat limited with AS, and probably are trying to get the best dollars they can.

At least that was my experience with the Springfield, MO dealer (Reliable RV) tried to do with me, as they were a new franchise a year and a half ago. They did the same thing with my initial attempt at buying from them.

I finally shopped the internet to get a feel for pricing, and was able to do business with them subsequently.

Personally I would recommend Reliable and know for a fact they have a pretty sizable inventory.

Good luck!
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:40 PM   #3
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Crain has a mixed reputation with their car dealerships in Arkansas. I've had friends who worked for them in sales, and hated the experience, and customers who bought cars from me because they hated the way they were treated as service customers. I didn't like the experience I had as a potential customer on their Chevrolet lot in Little Rock, and chose to never return. I've driven by their RV lot a bunch of times, but I've never stopped.
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:18 PM   #4
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Crain RV was previously a family owned dealership. When the couple that ran it for many years retired, they sold it to Crain. Since taking over, the Crain people have expanded the offerings and updated the operation in general. As mentioned, becoming an Airstream dealership is recent.

They are the nearest RV dealership to me, so I usually go there for RV items. I can't speak to the experience of purchasing an RV from them or having service done. However, they have unfailingly been friendly and helpful even though they know I am not a potential new RV customer, at least until I win the lottery. They have gone out of their way to help with small items such as fittings to run a PEX line to a new toilet that I bought online.

Even though my purchases have always been small, they have been eager to help. I think this speaks well for them.
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:50 PM   #5
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I stopped in there on a trip home to pick their brains and feel the waters about some possible repairs on my '74, while nice enough to us with talking for an hour or so, the guy basically gave me the information for Inland RV. I smiled and thanked them (already have Inland RV bookmarked on every web browser I have) and thought of them of not really interested in tackling body panel or wing window replacements. I'm sure for some more generic rv supplies and such they're more than happy to help.

My impression was they're really nice and helpful, but not interested in what repairs I'd need.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:00 PM   #6
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Thanks to you all for your post. This is a great forum. It is good to know that you are not all alone. At least, there are signs not to totally avoid contact. I will talk to them and see how it goes. If there is not going to be decent attempt at making a serious deal, it all doesn't matter any way.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:20 AM   #7
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When I bought my Interstate, Crain RV was one of the dealerships I solicited a quote from; I actualy went to six dealers in all.

I had already test-driven a unit at Foley RV in Gulfport, MS, and knew exactly what features I wanted. When I contacted the other dealers, I asked them to quote on identical units.

Crain actually came in with the lowest initial quote. Crain's quote then became the benchmark for my continued negotiations with Foley.

I don't regret buying from Foley; they've treated me very well as a customer and I'd recommend them to anybody. But if it hadn't been for Crain RV, I likely would have paid more for my unit. Take that for what it's worth.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:33 AM   #8
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Protagonist,
Your input is much appreciated. I like your strategy and will definitely use it. We have decided that we will travel to wherever we get the best deal.

Did you physically go to each dealership or did you do some negotiations on the phone, and did they each give you a hard-copy of their quote?

Can I expect to get a written quote from a dealership so that I can hold them to what we discussed or agreed upon. If not, can you take them seriously.

Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Freedomrider View Post
Protagonist,
Your input is much appreciated. I like your strategy and will definitely use it. We have decided that we will travel to wherever we get the best deal.

Did you physically go to each dealership or did you do some negotiations on the phone, and did they each give you a hard-copy of their quote?

Can I expect to get a written quote from a dealership so that I can hold them to what we discussed or agreed upon. If not, can you take them seriously.

Thanks.
Requests from me to the dealers in detail regarding make, model, list of features, all by e-mail. Got their e-mail addresses off the Internet. Tell them that you're also contacting other dealers and will buy from the one with the best price. That way they know up front that it's a competition.

Once you've heard from them all (or from enough of them), make sure they all know what the low price is so far. Then ask once more, for what is called a "best and final" price, so the ones that were high before have a chance to beat the lowest price you've already received.

If it comes down to a tie, closer dealer should win, since it usually costs you less to travel there to finalize the deal.

You don't have to share best and final prices with the dealers who were unsuccessful, but a "thank you" e-mail would not be amiss, and do tell them who gave the best offer even though you don't have to tell them what that offer was.

When you solicit quotes, ask for replies by e-mail; that provides a record without slowing things down too much. Since they have a copy of what they sent, and you have a copy of what you received, if there's any question you can compare copies.

As for visiting them all, that's a lot of expense for not a lot of gain. Visit your local dealer first, and decide on exactly what you want before contacting the others. Then, after the e-mail offers come in, when you decide which dealer you want to buy from, visit the successful dealer and go over the unit in question carefully to make sure it's all in order, process the paperwork, and take your new acquisition home. You don't want your new unit's first road trip to be made by some anonymous delivery driver!
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:56 PM   #10
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Murreywalker, we drive right past Reliable every time we go down to Springfield, and I always look at those shiny Airstreams. They seem to want to sell every possible line of RV there is, but most of their sales people don't seem to know much about what they are selling. Before we bought our mpg we looked there a couple of times. We talked to two different people on two different occasions, and neither seemed to know anything other than what was written on their price list.

The exception to what we found at Reliable is Blair Prestin. Blair lives full-time in his Airstream, and really knows his stuff. Unfortunately, Reliable never seems to have any used Airstreams, so it is unlikely that we'll by anything from them, but when we look there we always talk to Blair, and should we decide to buy something it will be from Blair.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:11 PM   #11
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They seem to want to sell every possible line of RV there is, but most of their sales people don't seem to know much about what they are selling.
Ain't that the truth! When I was shopping around for an RV, before I settled on Airstream, I visited several dealers, and checked out several brands.

Being an engineer, naturally I asked a lot of technical questions. One dealer didn't even know how to open the hood on an RV he was trying to show me. Most of the salesmen I spoke with couldn't tell me a blessed thing other than what I could see for myself about the interior decor. Kind of makes you think that they approach RVs as if they're stick-and-brick houses. They were shocked an appalled that I actually laid down on the ground and looked underneath to see where the holding tanks were. You'd think no one ever did that before!

That was one of the things that sold me on my Airstream Interstate. The saleswoman at Foley RV answered every single question without hesitation, no matter how technical or obscure. Even things like, "How often do you have to add Diesel Exhaust Fluid?" (It's about every 5000 miles). In some cases she had to refer to a spiral-bound notebook full of handwritten notes from her factory tour at Jackson Center, but that's fine. Extra points in my book for her having taken the tour, and for having taken notes during the tour.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:15 PM   #12
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Murreywalker, we drive right past Reliable every time we go down to Springfield, and I always look at those shiny Airstreams. They seem to want to sell every possible line of RV there is, but most of their sales people don't seem to know much about what they are selling. Before we bought our mpg we looked there a couple of times. We talked to two different people on two different occasions, and neither seemed to know anything other than what was written on their price list.

The exception to what we found at Reliable is Blair Prestin. Blair lives full-time in his Airstream, and really knows his stuff. Unfortunately, Reliable never seems to have any used Airstreams, so it is unlikely that we'll by anything from them, but when we look there we always talk to Blair, and should we decide to buy something it will be from Blair.
You're spot on about Blair. I bought our AS from him. However, that said, they're not moving many AS units, and until they start doing that, I fear the pickins on a used rig are going to be slim.

The dealership which is part of a huge network has money to burn; even on AS, but IMO, they have a long way to go before they become competition to some of the major AS dealers.
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:10 PM   #13
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Crain RV

After the ice storm, Crain did a great job on our skin replacements. Not so much on replacing the shocks. They couldn't figure it out despite Ray explaining and sending them a video showing how to do it. They called and said they'd have to drop the axles to do it. We told them not to do that. We'll get an appointment in Jackson Center. Either something is wrong with how our shocks are on, or they don't know how to do the job. I don't know which it is. It might not be their fault.

Crain, in my opinion - will eventually have excellent service. They are just having growing pains.

Crain is very popular and is covered up most of the time to the point it is difficult to find a place to park to wait for service. They also seldom get done as promised. They blamed a two-week delay on starting our job on Airstream not getting the parts to them quickly - but we called the mothership and Airstream disputed that and said the parts were sent when the order was placed by Crain.

We were promised our trailer would be ready in 2 weeks and it took 4 weeks.

So, although we feel they're trying and mostly good, we're not entirely happy with them for these and a couple of other reasons. (Like standing at their counter over an hour waiting to pay for and retrieve our trailer).

Another small but troubling thing - when we went out to hook up they had put our trailer on a block so big that once we were hooked up, the jack wouldn't go up enough to get it off the block.

An employee casually told us to drive off it "real easy". I said, "bad idea-you will be responsible for any damage!"

He immediately said, "don't do it, I'll go get a jack." He jacked us up and removed the block. I should not have had to warn him. I know what would have been done if I wasn't standing there.

Still, they are friendly, and I think, trying. They need lots of support from Airstream and more AS training for techs.

So, we are trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. But the jury is still out on Crain as an Airstream dealer. We will continue to use them because they're close and have done basically good work on our trailer, including skins, replacing a window, bearing repacks, replacing a hub, fixing the furnace & addressing a recall on the refrigerator, etc.

It's important to note that the last time it was in they found and fixed a ground fault! So other than delays and a lack of due care by one employee, we're pretty happy.

We would buy from them if the price was right.

Hope this is helpful to someone.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:50 PM   #14
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We have bought two Airstreams from them and so far, service has been good. We did take our 28ft to the factory in May to have a leak test done and some cosmetic work done that I thought could best be done by factory techs. But, Crain did some good troubleshooting on the transfer relay that came with our previous 25 ft. Eddie Bauer when it failed and also corrected some factory defects on our bathroom wall of the new 28ft.
We would look at buying from them again, when we are ready for another one.

Rick
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